09 Aug 2019
Courtesy visit to the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp)
Dr Kok Siew Ng (University of Oxford), Dr Eleni Iacovidou (Brunel University London) and Prof Denny KS Ng (Heriot-Watt University Malaysia) paid a courtesy visit to the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp) under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHLG) or Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan (KPKT). Dr Mohd Pauze bin Mohamad Taha, the Deputy CEO (Technical) of SWCorp together with his team hosted a meeting and provided invaluable insights into various issues and challenges relevant to solid waste management in Malaysia.
Several issues have been clarified during the meeting including the responsibilities of SWCorp; getting a detailed overview of the data collected on solid waste management in Malaysia including the waste generation rates and composition. A number of other hot topics were discussed such as the illegal dumping of waste and illegal imports of plastic waste specifically, the conditions occurring at landfill sites and efforts in closing the dumpsites and associated costs. SWCorp presented their plans to promote initiatives for increasing awareness of waste segregation at source; the introduction of deposit return schemes and implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility; and several other research and development plans such as the development of an industrial symbiosis park composed of different solid waste management facilities.
After the meeting, the team was given a tour to the newly established Control Centre - C4i (Command, Control, Communication and Computer Integration) where waste management operations are controlled via digitalisation. The team was also introduced to the newly developed Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) for recyclables collection. These machines aim to incentivise people to recycle and could be a successful way of boosting recyclables collection especially in small communities and commercial premises.
The team anticipates to collaborate with SWCorp in the near future in view of promoting circular economy and tackling the challenges relevant to solid waste management in Malaysia.
The SYNERGORS Project
The SYNERGORS project (“A systems approach to synergistic utilisation of secondary organic streams”), funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is led by Dr Kok Siew Ng from the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. This project aims to develop new systems approaches and decision-making tools for promoting resource recovery from secondary organic waste streams including fossil- (e.g. used plastics) and biomass-derived waste (e.g. food waste, residual biomass).
SYNERGORS will provide significant insights into various options for organic waste reduction and utilisation, and propose viable business models to attract stakeholders in the commercial sectors to invest in these areas. Furthermore, the research will address various socio-environmental challenges faced by human and living communities, the rising global demands in energy and commodities, and lessening burdens on the landfill, water and atmosphere.
It is envisaged that the outcomes from this project (e.g. decision-making tool and roadmap) can be adopted in the UK and other developing countries in improving the policies and practices in relation to organic waste management. The objectives of the project are well aligned with the UK Industrial Strategy in enhancing resource efficiency while achieving a sustainable industrial growth and a more resilient economy. The project has received support from a number of UK and international organisations (academia, industry and government), providing multidisciplinary expertise to address the global challenges in waste management.
Dr Ng would like to express his gratitude to the NERC (now part of UKRI) for their invaluable support for this initiative. The British Council is also acknowledged as initial collaboration between the UK and Malaysia was first established through Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop. The current fellowship project funded by NERC has enabled further collaboration to be sustained for the next few years.
Dr Ng would also like to thank Professor Ir. Dr. Denny KS Ng (Associate Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia), Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Wan Azlina bt. Wan Abdul Karim Ghani (Director of Sustainable Process Engineering Research Centre - SPERC, UPM) and Mr Tze Howe Ooi (President of Higher Education Youth Association - HEYA) for arranging the meetings and visits in Malaysia.
Please contact Dr Kok Siew Ng (email@example.com) if you are interested in learning more about the project.