Fikirlah:Lets Make Recycle And Reuse Our Way Of Life

By Fadzli Ramli

MELAKA (Bernama) -- Led by my wife, my whole family actively separates the recyclable household waste from the rest.

When we have collected sufficient amount of the recyclables, I will take them to the recycling centre in Krubong and return with RM40 to RM50 from the recyclable items.

The money is sufficient enough for a simple family dinner at a roadside restaurant.

However, it is not the money that motivates us to recycle. We feel that we have an obligation towards nature, society and even the state that we live in.

We are fully aware that for a small state like Melaka, recycling is vital because the state lacks land to create landfills where the waste could be disposed.

Hence, we will make use of any opportunity to reduce the waste that gets to the landfills.

I firmly believe that all of us have to work hand in hand to reduce the waste that ends up in landfills.

It was reported in August 2016 that Melaka's only landfill in Sungai Udang could only last for about 12 month and the solid waste concessionaire SWM Environment Melaka Sdn Bhd has been doing its level best to extend the landfill's lifespan.

The 12.1 hectare landfill receives 1,000 to 1,200 tonnes of waste daily with an initial lifespan of around five years. However, within two years of operations, it is already nearing its capacity.

Yes, we have lots of systems and technologies for example incinerators to manage and extend the landfill's lifespan but building an incinerator at Sungai Udang landfill would cost around RM500 million.

This means the government has to channel the money that could be used for healthcare, education or development for this unproductive purpose.

Hence, me and my family believe in playing our part by minimising the waste we produce daily, and recycle and reuse where it is possible.

However, above everything else, for effective recycling and reuse to happen there has to be a change in the mentality of the community.

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron had said over and again that the people's mentality has to change first before the state could adapt the green policy effectively.

Melaka is a perfect example where the state government had done a lot to change the people's mentality on recycling, with campaigns like 'Don't Mess With Melaka' and 'Go Green' policy.

"It is a daunting task to change the people's mentality but we must do it for our children's sake," Idris had said.

While Selangor went no polystyrene from 2017, Melaka first adapted the no plastic bag and polystyrene policy on Saturdays back in 2011.

Only minimal number of biodegradable bags are permitted. Though the biodegradable bag decomposes faster in the landfill, it still does not serve the purpose because the point now is to reduce the waste produced. Hence, using reusable bags over and over again is the best solution.

If only all of us start managing with the household waste and practice reusing and recycling, then we can certainly make a difference in keeping our environment clean and green.

(This commentary is the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect on BERNAMA's stand on what is said by the writer)