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                           MR. SU TECK MIEW, SIBU, MALAYSIA

(Summary from proceedings)
The Sibu Municipal Council has a vision to improve the quality of life in the community with
excellence, municipal services, infrastructure and support. Additionally, the Council also has a
vision to transform Sibu into a “garden city” by the year 2005. This vision has been developed in
the last 2 years due to the initiative of the new mayor of Sibu Municipal Council, who is also the
Chairman, Member of Parliament.

Sibu, with a population of 200,000, is located in the state of Sarawak, in East Malaysia in the Island
of Borneo. Ethnic groups residing in this area consist of Iban, Chinese, Malay and Orang Ulus.
There is not much pollution in the area since Sibu is mainly occupied with agriculture-based
industries, as well as timber, logging, ship-building, oil palm, rubber and pepper industries. The
area of municipal jurisdiction is 129.5 sq. km. Landed properties amount to 24,538 units.

One of the key elements in keeping our town clean is the waste disposal framework. Sibu has a
waste volume of 180 tonnes/day (household/commercial, industrial) and generation rate of 0.7
kg/capita/day. Waste was deposited at an open dumpsite 4 km away from the township and 1 1/2
km to the nearest housing estates. The smell was a nuisance at the open dumpsite and leachate
pollution was seen in the nearby stream. A coxsackie outbreak occurred in June 1997 and the
suspected source was from the open dump. One of the greatest achievements in solid waste
management is the construction and completion of a sanitary landfill, which is in operation just last
month. Sibu has spent roughly RM 8.4 million on the Kemunyang sanitary landfill, which has an
area of 10 hectares. It is 27 km from Sibu township and is receiving 130 tonnes of domestic waste
daily. The open dump was improved with bund and capped with soil. Vent pipes for methane gas
were built.

Waste collection trucks were changed to compacting types with universal lifting mechanisms (13-16
cu yd).   Wheel-bins were distributed to house-owners to store waste.          Collection routes and
frequency has been improved and storage bins are kept inside house compounds other than for times
of collection. Street sweeping coverage and supervision has also been upgraded.

A recycling program was launched in 1993 and failed. It was reorganized in 1998 against the
backdrop of “Charity and Caring” for the needy. Sibu is now in line with the National Recycling
program launched in December 2000 (1st phase) and November 2001 (2nd phase). Sixty collection
centers were set-up in schools, churches, government agencies, petrol kiosks, supermarkets, karaoke
centers, and hotels. Each year, RM 40,000 was raised from the sale of recyclable items and
donated to charity organizations. Recycling bins “3 in one” were distributed to schools and NGOs
promoting significance of recycling. The private sector participated in recycling by collecting
scraps, car batteries, aluminum, copper, bottles, and ONP/paper/carton boxes.

The objective of the Street Garden Concept in Sibu is to beautify all the roads into a “street garden”,
enhance the living environment to promote the quality of life, and promote a sense of caring,
cooperation and belonging. Without the support of the community, everything will fail. Sibu has
designated areas of about 500 to 1,000 houses. Each designated area has a committee for every
road, forming a “Street Garden Committee”.         Each committee has leaders who must identify
members, work voluntarily either in the sense of education, information dissemination, and
organizing forums for the residents. Also identified is the responsibilities of the local council,
including leveling all undulating road verges for uniqueness; removing unsightly objects along road
verges; trimming all ornamental trees and flowers; preventing illegal dumping on roadsides; and
planting trees on road verges. The responsibilities of the community include keeping waste storage
bins inside; keeping dogs inside; not rearing poultry inside house compounds; ensuring that there are
no breeding grounds for mosquitoes inside house compounds; and ensuring the cleanliness of
surrounding areas.

Sibu plans to plant six thousand trees on roadsides and boost town beautification and greenery on the
roads. Eighty-eight percent of waste bins are kept inside house compounds and 3,000 dogs were
impounded (2000-2001). Additional completed, continuing and future activities include banning
poultry rearing in municipality unless approved, increase the frequency of drain cleaning (once
monthly) and grass trimming (twice monthly), upgrading cemetery beautification, formation of
community centers for environmental friendly activities, and installation of 350 hanging/standing
bins installed in public places/parks.

Public education and awareness activities are another key element.           Some programs include
cleaning campaign activities on 2 Saturday of every month in municipal areas; educational talks in
schools once a week on environmental subjects; council at the work “RTM Program”; local media
press news; distribution of educational pamphlets, leaflets, and notices to the public; courtesy
campaign to promote a better Sibu for tomorrow; dialogue session with NGOs, community leaders;
organization of environmentally friendly activities (essay writing, drawing competition); and
organization of cleanliness and beautification competitions.
In carrying out projects, there will always be challenges. Because of rapid urbanization attracting
rural inhabitants to cities, waste deposition and littering increased in slums (15-20%). There is also
an increase in waste volume and generation without a proper recycling system, as well as long-term
measures for community participation and public education/awareness verses vandalism/civic
consciousness.    Financial constraints and lack of technical know-how on the development of
sanitary landfills and facilities and lack of research studies on existing landfill designs and operation
best adopted by local authorities are also other challenges being faced.

Future outlooks include minimization of waste generation volume by 40% (2002-2005); sorting of
recyclable values at source and provision of composting facilities; promoting recycling and reuse of
organic waste through composting facilities; transforming Sibu into a “Garden City” by 2005;
implementation of Local Agenda 21 by 2002; development of a public education system and
community participation.

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