DAP calls on the government to review
incineration measures for waste management
by John Chung
government should review its pursuit of incineration measures for waste
management and give consideration to other alternatives that are more viable
following the expert advice by a New York university professor Dr. Paul
Cornett during the meeting of the Global Alliance for Incinerator
Alternatives (GAIA) in Penang yesterday.
Dr. Cornett's view that incineration is not a key solution to sustainable
waste management due to its costly effect on the economy and the environment
has confirmed the belief of many Malaysians and NGOs who are not in favour
of the construction of incinerators, particularly large scale ones, of the
potentially harmful consequences of incineration.
GAIA, an international NGO alliance with over 320 members in more than 60
countries, has warned that incinerators are major sources of dioxin, mercury
and a host of other toxic pollutants. Dioxins are extremely toxic and
persistent compounds that accumulate in the global environment,
concentrating in meat, dairy and ultimately humans. Dioxins are linked to a
variety of health impacts, ranging from developmental and reproductive
disorders to cancer.
GAIA's vision and mission statement which is available at http://no-burn.org/about/vision.html
"GAIA is a worldwide alliance of non-profit
organizations and individuals who recognize that our planet's finite
resources, fragile biosphere and the health of people and other living
beings are endangered by polluting and inefficient production practices and
health-threatening disposal methods.
"We oppose incinerators, landfills, and other end-of-pipe interventions.
"Our ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. Our
goal is the implementation of clean production, and the creation of a
closed-loop, materials-efficient economy where all products are reused,
repaired or recycled back into the marketplace or nature."
This is what the DAP has been
trying to say for the past half year that the government should heed the
many reasonable objections to incineration and consider other means of
effective waste management.
Besides greater emphasis on recycling and composting in line with the call
made by the Local Government and Housing Ministry, we have been trying to
propose the use of proven, sustainable and more environmentally benign waste
disposal technologies such as Material Recovering Facilities (MRF) and
Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).
The MRF process segregates different recyclable materials such as PVC,
glass, aluminium, iron, plastic, paper and other reusable materials before
turning all other non-recyclable garbage into solid pellets that can be used
as building materials whereas the RDF converts the combustible matter in
solid waste into fuel pellets that can be used as a source of energy.
The DAP therefore urges the government to give serious consideration to
adopting MRF and RDF and other waste disposal alternatives that are more
economically and environmentally viable. The huge amount of money that has
to be spent on the construction and maintenance of huge incinerator plants
can be better utilised for other alternative measures that can ensure
sustainable waste management.
John Chung, DAP National Publicity Bureau