Students highlight steps to reduce wastage in Brunei

National 2 minutes, 49 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

YOUTHS from ASEAN and the Plus Three dialogue partners of China, South Korea and Japan yesterday discussed the challenges faced and best practices adopted in their respective countries regarding environmental sustainability.

Presenting their country reports during the second day of the ASEAN Plus Three Youth Environment Forum (AYEF) 2013 at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, the participants discussed issues such as waste management, shortfalls in legislation and policy planning infrastructure and water and energy conservation measures.

Brunei, represented by students from school eco-clubs, was the first country to give a presentation.

The students drew attention to the fact that the Sultanate was the highest per capita generator of waste in ASEAN, producing some 189,000 tonnes a year.

The majority, 36 per cent, was food waste, while paper and plastic waste accounted for 18 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.

The students pointed out that among the initiatives launched to address the high amount of wastage was the “Love Food Hate Waste” project initiated by local bloggers, while members of the community have also participated in cleaning campaigns to reduce waste that is indiscriminately thrown away.

The Brunei delegation also talked about some school-based initiatives relating to waste, including the use of enzymes to break down rubbish, an awareness campaign on the dangers of sweet wrappers and inviting keynote speakers to speak in local schools.

On the regional front, the Brunei youths proposed inaugurating a video competition on biodiversity for young people to further raise awareness and interest about the matter. On the topic of waste, the country report from Lao PDR suggested that industries should promote the use of waste biomass and waste treatment facilities, along with planning to “revitalise” environmentally damaged areas.

They also stressed the importance of the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to curb the amount of rubbish reaching the landfills.

On challenges in their country, the Lao PDR team said there was no system in place for enforcement of the legal framework and strategic plans. There are also no environmental quality and pollution monitoring mechanisms.

High incidence of poverty was another issue for Lao PDR with the team saying that the country had a high dependence on natural resources and a large poor population that is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Meanwhile, the team from Malaysia proposed the concept of a “Go Green Campus”, to address issues of waste management, carbon emissions and energy and water conservation.

Apart from advocating the 3R concept and encouraging the use of public or energy-efficient transport in campus communities, they cited Universiti Tenaga Nasional, which installed pre-paid electricity meters in all its apartments in February 2011 to discourage energy wastage as a good example.

The three-day AYEF 2013 gathered some 80 young people from ASEAN and the Plus Three partners, under the theme, “Youth and Sustainability”.

The youths were also expected to come up with papers relating to the theme, where they would stress “the role played by youth in bridging the gap to address challenges of effective environmental management in achieving sustainable development”.

The papers will also include suggestions on mechanisms for the youth of the region to cooperate and realise the goal of sustainable development.

“The forum aims to build regional linkages and broaden the youth participatory process on environmental initiatives, in order to contribute to the vision of a clean and green ASEAN by the year 2015,” a press release on the forum said.

The Brunei Times