Getting The Masses On The Recycling Bandwagon From Young

By Sakini Mohd Said

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The sight of excited children carrying or dragging plastic bags each morning accompanied by their parents from Block B of the multi-storey dwelling in Desa Pandan will make many wonder what is going on.

While outsiders will be pondering what is inside these bags, those with children going to the Community Development Department (Kemas) kindergartens in Desa Pandan I and II are well aware of its contents, recyclable items.

The children here are learning early on recycling and they are certainly excited to be part of a programme that inculcates the recycling culture from young.

"It is heavy, I am really excited and want to do it again. I'm taking the plastic bottles today," said the five year old ecstatic Aelia Nur Zara Ridzuan to Bernama.

"These bottles are no longer in use. I'm taking them to be recycled...have to be recycled if not the house will be filled with bottles," she said.

RECYCLE BANK

Aelia Nur Zara, is not alone. Her kindergarten contemporaries too are active in the recycling programme known as Recycling Bank (Bank Kitar Semula).

Started since April 2016, many activities have been rolled out in inculcating the recycling culture right from young.

"There are four Kemas kindergarten in Desa Pandan with 81 children, all between four and six years of age.

"Together with Mohd Arif Mohd Hefeni, chairman of the Desa Pandan Kemas kindergarten, we use the creative approach like the videos and pictures so that it is easy for them to understand.

The children are obviously excited as they arrive at the kindergarten each morning with their parents and the recyclables," said the teacher Nurul Husna Ali.

The recyclables brought in by the children daily are marked and those who bring in the most number of recyclables will be awarded with a souvenir to motivate them into making recycling as part of their daily life.

"We also keep in touch with the parents through WhatsApp, to indirectly rope them in the campaign.

"The parents play an important role as they are the ones who help their children collect these items and take them to the kindergarten to be recycled," he said.

GOOD RESPONSE

The Recycling Bank Programme is among the initiative taken by the Ministry of Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government through Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp Malaysia) in inculcating the culture of recycling waste.

So far, it has been implemented in several kindergartens and schools to educate children from young in segregating and recycling the waste based on the respective categories.

This community approach follows the implementation of the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act, 2007(Act 672) in seven states - Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah - whereby the waste has to be separated right from the source, premises and homes, to enable recycling.

Recycling is seen one of the ways to reduce the amount of trash ending up at landfills and the cost in disposing them.

A FAR SIGHTED PROGRAMME

"The same programme is not limited to kindergarten and schools but also extended to the community. The response so far has been good.

"For example, up to June 2016, a total of 1719 kindergartens were involved in 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) programmes with 51,000 pupils," said Deputy CEO (Technical) of SWCorp Dr Mohd Pauze Mohamad Taha.

The recycling bank is rewarding as the money collected from recycling by the students goes into their bank account.

"It depends on the schools. Some school administrators will disburse the money into the students' bank account while others will use the money to conduct events and activities for students," he explained.

Rewards aside, the awareness inculcated early helps to mature the minds of the young faster and that they will be more sensitive on cleanliness and the economic value of the many things discarded daily.

Nonetheless, the awareness is not restricted to the recycling bank alone.

There have been many other activities held in helping the public grasp better of Act 672.

So when the pre-school children know how to segregate and recycle waste, why not the adults too do the same?

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SIDE BAR MALAYSIANS MORE AWARE ON RECYCLING NOW

The awareness process and the campaign to change the mentality of the hardcore litterbugs in the society will continue from time to time.

It is hoped that in the end there will emerge a Malaysian society that will manage waste in a sustainable manner and live in a clean environment.

"After the Act 672 was implemented, the awareness in the society on waste management showed improvement. The testament to this is that only 82 notices were issued on errant parties.

"In so far this year the recycling rate is 17.5 percent. With education on waste recycling starting right from kindergarten and the enforcement of compounds, I'm confident the recycling rates will keep improving.

"In fact the 22 percent recycling target set at 2020 could be achieved much earlier," he said.

Under Act 672, a maximum compound fine up to RM1,000 can be imposed based on the type of premises if the occupant refuses to separate the solid waste.

First time offenders will be fined RM50, for the subsequent offences they will be fined RM100 and RM500. If the fines remain unpaid, the offender can be charged in court with a maximum fine of RM1,000. BERNAMA