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  Solid Waste in Malaysia

Solid waste is one of a major environmental problem in Malaysia and is significantly reducing our environment capacity to sustain life. Currently, over 17,000 tonnes of waste produced each day in Malaysia. The amount of waste generated continues to increase due to the increasing population and development, and less than 5% of the waste is being recycled. Despite the massive amount and complexity of waste produced, the standards of waste management in Malaysia are still poor. These include outdated and poor documentation of waste generation rates and its composition, inefficient storage and collection systems, disposal of municipal wastes with toxic and hazardous waste, indiscriminate disposal or dumping of wastes and inefficient utilization of disposal site space. Improper solid waste management (SWM) also contributes to climate change – decomposing waste produces methane and production of new products to meet demand emits greenhouse gases and utilizes natural resources.

The domestic and industrial water demand in Malaysia is expected to triple over the next 50 years and based on estimated doubling of the per capita water consumption by 2020 it is predicted that water shortages will occur within the next 5 years. Average water usage in Malaysia is 280 litres a day, which is higher than Singapore's 155 litres, the Philippines' 175 litres and Indonesia's 130 litres. Malaysian are using additional of 115 litres of water a day exceeding United Nations' recommended water usage of 165 litres per day. According to Ahmad Zahdi Jamit, President of Malaysian Water Association, current production capacity in Selangor is 4,431 million litres a day (mld) and water demand is expected to surge to 4,907mld in 2014. The public determines the success or failure of water management in Malaysia. This can be done by paying attention on how to use water wisely and carefully, i.e. never waste water but “make every drop count”! All efforts by the government and water companies to supply adequate water would fail if the consumers (the public and industry) refuse to manage their water demands.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak agreed to reduce Malaysia's carbon footprint by 40% by 2020, two years ago at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. To-date according to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Unggah Embas, we have reduced intensity by 29.7 million metric tonnes and we need to reduce by 40 million metric tonnes to meet the 40% target. To meet our target to reduce the energy usage and wastage, we need to come up with energy saving steps. To implement this we have to educate and create awareness among all group of people to get their support and co-operation. Energy-efficient lighting, air-conditioning, refrigeration and mode of transportation represented the majority of the energy saving methods which most Malaysian can adopt. Energy saving can also be carried out in small scales and in our everyday daily routine.

Overall, lacks awareness and knowledge among Malaysian community about solid waste as well as being ignorant about the effect that improper resource management has to them has worsen the problem. Many people are also unaware of the individual actions they can take to help curb the problem.