Waste management problems ‘not easy to handle’

National 2 minutes, 32 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE development minister yesterday acknowledged waste management issues in Brunei, saying that they are “not easy to handle”.

Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Bahrin Abdullah said his ministry is in the early stages of studying ways to handle plastic, metal and electronic wastes efficiently.

The recycling process is currently not done in Brunei but plastic and metal wastes are being collected and exported as “valuable waste”, he said.

The minister was responding to several Legislative Council (LegCo) members’ concerns over poor waste management and the absence of a designated dumping ground facility to dispose of solid waste in Brunei.

During the LegCo sitting yesterday, YB Hj Jumat Akim said garbage dumping remains a national issue, suggesting the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) allocate more waste containers at dumping sites in villages to prevent illegal dumping of trash.

He said members of the public often complain about the delay of garbage collection at allocated dumping sites, resulting in some residents littering.

The LegCo member said not all residents can afford the waste collection services even though it is JASTRe’s policy to encourage residents at national housing schemes to register for the services.

He suggested the Ministry of Development provide waste containers at Kg Sengkurong, Kg Jerudong, Mukim Pengkalan Batu, Mukim Kilanas and other places that do not have a proper dumpsite.

The minister said providing skips or waste containers is already being planned at JASTRe.

“It is is not the best way to dispose of rubbish due to the environmental problems it can cause.

“What is being prepared right now with the waste containers is just a temporary solution while we replace with a more long-term solution and work with commercial companies to come up with rubbish disposal units,” he said, adding that having skips is just a temporary measure.

YB Hj Jumat Akim also enquired about the use of plastic bags, and whether there has been a reduction in people using plastic bags in Brunei.

The minister said the ban of plastic bags during the weekends is ongoing, adding that it has been extended to one more day.

Alhamdulillah, the (public) reception is good and who knows, we will ban the use of plastic bags. But at this stage, the reception is quite good,” he said.

According to a previous report, the Ministry of Development inked deals with 18 stores to cut the use of plastic bags through the No Plastic Bag Weekend campaign in March 2011.

The following year in February, Fridays were included in the initiative, and 26 new retailers had pledged their commitment to the initiative, taking the number of participating retailers to 44.

YB Hj Jumat Akim also proposed waste reduction and recycling education awareness campaigns to be held in the community, in schools as well as villages, which was welcomed by the minister.

Meanwhile, YB Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad also voiced his concerns on the lack of garbage disposal containers.

The LegCo member asked if the government has any plans to implement a plastic and metal waste disposal system.

The Brunei Times