By Sonia K
Bandar Seri Begawan - To develop a sustainable and integrated waste management system that will serve to enhance Brunei's social wellbeing, the national image, as well as the environmental and financial sustainability, several waste management projects will be implemented over the next five-year period.
Minister of Development, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, delivered a keynote address during an Environmental Forum entitled "Waste Management and Climate Change Mitigation: Challenges and Opportunities", yesterday at the Jerudong Polo Club.
Brunei enforce the closure and rehabilitation of uncontrolled waste disposal sites that pose public health and environmental pollution problems; and the construction of a centralised engineered landfill site, which provides a waste disposal solution that is more environmentally acceptable than an uncontrolled waste disposal site. This system will adopt control waste placement, compaction, use of cover material and management of leachate and gas.
Besides, the project will also include turning of biodegradable waste into compost (solid enhancer media) to divert a portion of the waste stream from the disposal site, as well as promote waste minimisation through waste reduction and recycling, the minister said.
The Pehin also called on the business community, organisations and individuals to recognise that the environmental protection and conservation is neither an obstacle nor a burden for pursuing development but it offers opportunities for sustainable development — development that promotes the quality of life of people, economic prosperity and environmental protection.
Earlier, the minister provided statistics published in the United Nations Development Programme Annual Human Development Report for 2007/2008.
During the years 1990-2004, he said the level of carbon dioxide emission in Brunei increased from 5.8 to 8.8 tonnes (an increase of 3.7 per cent per year). "We are ranked the third lowest emitter among the Asean countries," he said.
"However, Brunei has very high CO2 emission level per capita. Based on the United Nations statistics on the list of countries by Carbon Dioxide Emission per capita for 2004, Brunei with per capita CO2 emission of 24.1 metric tonnes is ranked sixth in the world.
"To a large extent this can be associated with Brunei's considerably very high per capita consumption of energy. We consume 8,842 kilowatt-hours of electricity per person. Developed countries like Japan (8,459 KW-hr), Germany (7,442 KW-hr), France (8,231 KW-hr) and Republic of Korea (7,710 KW-hr) consume much less electricity than Brunei," the minister pointed out.
He also said that cognizant of the reality of global warming and its serious consequences on human well-being and the environment, "we as responsible citizens of the planet called Earth must put our act together and act now. We - government, businesses and corporate community, organisations and individuals - must each contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," he added.
In the context of waste management, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should emphasise on decreasing the mass of waste disposal.
"Brunei's per capita solid waste generation is very high. We generate about 1.4 kilogrammes of waste per person per day. Most Asean countries generate about one kilogramme or less of waste per person per day," the Pehin said.
The major challenge here is "to change the way the people consume and use resources" by promoting waste minimisation through the 3Rs practices — reduce, reuse and recycle, the Development Minister added.
He felt that some of the environmentally friendly practices that need to be promoted are to avoid and reduce the use of excessive plastic packaging and promote the use of reusable canvas bags instead; plastic bags, containers and bottles should be reused as much as possible and; to send recyclable waste like tin cans, paper and plastic bottles to recycling companies.
The current recycling system in Brunei is at its infancy and very much limited to recovery of metals for overseas recycling, he said and added that the recovery of plastic and paper wastes for recycling are constrained by small volume (lack of economy of scales), lack of awareness on recycling and lack of recycle collection services and facilities.
"With the growing interest of private companies engaged in recovery of recyclable wastes, implementation of recycling projects in schools, banks and private companies and attractive financial incentives provided by collectors, recycling activity has vast potential and opportunities to expand," he said.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
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