JITRA: The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) has identified 18 locations for the development of solid Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plants throughout the country as a new method of solid waste management to eradicate landfills.

Its minister Nga Kor Ming said the development of the plants, which is the country’s new direction in managing solid waste disposal, will use the latest and advanced technology that has been proven successful in several European countries besides China and Japan.

“The direction of the ministry in the future is that we are now working very hard to turn thrash-to-cash and also to turn rubbish-to-energy. This will be the direction of the government to ensure that not only are we environmentally friendly, the garbage that has already been thrown away can be turned into renewable energy.

“Malaysia will now adapt the most sophisticated technology, others have made some mistakes, so we can avoid all the trial and error and adopt the latest and most sophisticated technology for our country,” he said at the Green Initiative Project handover ceremony for Environmental Conservation for the Paya Kemunting Solid Waste Landfill near here today.

Also present were KPKT secretary-general Datuk Wira Noor Azman Taib and National Solid Waste Management Department (JPSPN) director-general Dr Mohd Azhar Abd Hamid.

Meanwhile, Nga said the Environmental Conservation Green Initiative Project aims to reduce the existence of unsanitary landfills in line with the gazettement of the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act 2007 (Act 672), which regulates separation at source into recyclables and non-recyclables.

He said the implementation of the initiative was carried out at the Paya Kemunting Solid Waste Landfill which was completed on Sept 1 last year with a total cost of RM13 million and was the 175th unsanitary landfill to cease operations and close nationwide.

”This landfill has been operating since 1974, this year marks 50 years, we finally managed to close it, so the people around feel comfortable, safe, there is no more unpleasant smell,” he said.

He added that the landfill, which covers an area of ​​5.26 hectares, had previously ceased operation and was closed on Jan 1, 2019.

In the meantime, Mohd Azhar said there are 154 conventional landfill sites that are still operating throughout the country and have now gone through a sanitary process to control the overflow of leachate, methane gas emissions and odours.

“These sanitary disposal sites are disposal sites that are controlled in terms of the hydrosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere, that is water, air and soil,” he said, adding that about 60 unsanitary disposal sites are in line to be closed.