Tourism Ministry looking into coastal garbage management

Liew (4th from left) receiving a memento from Kazuya.

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KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment is looking at the option of outsourcing for marine and coastal garbage collection and disposal services on a contractual basis.

Its Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the proposed move is necessary in view of the vast expanse of rubbish washed ashore during high tide and the presence of unhealthy dumpsites created by irresponsible quarters.

“These sights are an eyesore to visitors and tourists. It is an embarrassment. We are impelled to seek a possible solution to the perennial problem of trash-infested marine and coastal areas. We want to ensure a pollution-free environment at sea and on the sandy beaches, particularly in Kota Kinabalu, Semporna and other districts.”

“It will be a three-pronged strategy, namely collection, disposal and public education. As a preventive measure, we will continue to educate the public, especially people living in the coastal areas, on the
importance of environmental cleanliness and protection. However, if our soft approach is less effective, we will not hesitate to penalise litterbugs which is an ongoing punitive action taken by the relevant authorities,” she said after a briefing on a proposed garbage
collection and disposal system for Kota Kinabalu and Semporna by a Japanese waste management company from Sapporo.

Liew, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, made it clear that the waste management proposal will not involve the operation of the company.

“As far as we are concerned, we will study the fee charges based on waste tonnage volume and the frequency of collection and
disposal.”

The Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Kazuya Itokawa said the company will be responsible for providing the infrastructure (factory building and incinerator), machinery for rubbish collection and transportation to the factory for the waste sorting process. The waste will be separated into different categories : burnable waste, non-burnable waste, plastic containers, bottles and cans, miscellaneous paper, batteries and bulky refuse.

“We will invest in securing the infrastructure and the required cleaning equipment such as a tractor towing-type beach cleaner.  At the plant, we will separate the trash accordingly as there are bound to be recyclable items. Part of the waste may be converted into fertilisers,” he said.

Sharing Japan’s sophisticated technology, Kazuya through local interpreter Leong Wai Fung, assured that the process of incineration is smokeless and odour-less without any carbon emission that can
destroy the ozone layer.

The Minister has requested the Company to submit a formal proposal for the trash collection and disposal services for the Government’s consideration. While in Sabah, Kazuya and his team have also visited Semporna and other places for their survey.

In the meantime, Liew will discuss the matter with the Federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, State Minister of Local Government and Housing, and Mayor of Kota Kinabalu.

Referring to a Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) report, Deputy Director of Environment Protection Department, Vitalis Moduyiing, who was present, said the 111-acre landfill at Kayu Madang, KKIP area, is almost full.

“It is reaching its life span soon,” he added.

Also present was the Ministry’s Principal Assistant Secretary Mary Malangking.-pr/BNN