Friday, July 16, 2010

Malaysia's Daily Express Says

INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Proper way to manage e-waste needed: Masidi
Published on: Friday, July 16, 2010
Kota Kinabalu: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun proposed a brainstorming meeting between all the local authorities in Sabah to find ways to properly manage electronic waste (e-waste) in their respective areas.

"Maybe the Local Government and Housing Ministry could have a meeting with all the Municipal Councils or District Councils (among others) to plan a proper way to manage e-waste," he said when opening the Seminar on E-Waste here on Thursday.

To take efforts on handling such wastes in Sabah a notch further, he reiterated the idea of a scheme to buy back equipment no longer used, a roundtable discussion with telecommunication companies on how to manage e-waste and also a law overseeing e-waste management.

Although acknowledging that managing e-waste has yet to get off the ground in the State, he pointed out that it was better to start now than later.

"We're still in the initial stage but it's good we start early because the implications on the environment and health are serious," Masidi said, adding they are trying to learn from Perak, which has legislation on e-waste management and also an understanding with telcos on e-waste, among others.

"What we're trying to do has already been done in Perak where the State and telcos work together to manage and dispose e-wastes because they are the best people to do this as they have the expertise and know-how.

"The buyback scheme would also be good (to complement the effort) where those wanting to buy new mobile phones (for instance) must handover the old ones instead of discarding them and at the same time the government can introduce tax exemptions as incentives.

"For instance, there were 41,776 mobile phones recorded in Sabah in 1999 and the number had grown to almost 20 times at 752, 000 at the end of 2008 including discarded phones, he added.

"And if there is a need we will see to it to have a law for e-waste but the approach is not towards penalising but rather awareness because like any other law, if the people don't understand the law will not be effective," he said.

Towards this end, Perak Executive Council member, Datuk Hamidah Osman said that is why this seminar was vital to inform the pubilc especially stakeholders of the dangers of ignoring the issue of e-waste.

"Many problems will occur if the problem is not handled smartly É there are many problems (associated with ignoring e-waste) but it has never been really exposed, so what the Sabah government is doing is very good.

"Firstly to create public awareness É it is not enough if only the Government or enforcement is in the picture because the public are actually the ones (directly) dealing with the matter," she said.

She had earlier presented a paper called "Efforts to Implement E-Waste Management in Perak".

Meanwhile, Masidi welcomed other companies to transport e-waste from Sabah to disposal sites.

"If there are others, we are more than happy É we will also consider if there are companies willing to do everything (from collection to disposal)," he said, adding, however, there are not many companies able to do so.

Department of Environment Sabah Director, Hj Razak Abdul Manap said Petrojadi Sdn Bhd is the only company licensed by the department to handle e-waste because they are the only one with the capability to do so.

He said the company would temporarily place the e-waste in a container, due to difficulties finding a location for an off-site storage, before shipping the wastes to the final disposal site at Syarikat Kualiti Alam Sdn Bhd in Negeri Sembilan.

"We welcome other transporter companies if they have such facilities (off-site storage)."

Participants at the seminar comprised environmental officers (administrators and engineers) involved in solid waste management from the public sector, non-governmental organisations, institutions of higher learning and representatives from the private sector.

It is jointly organised by the Environmental Action Centre, Environment Protection Department, Department of Environment, Telecoms Malaysia, Computer Services Department and City Hall.