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PROMOTING A CLEAN AND BEAUTIFUL ENVIRONMENT IN SIBU 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 nd 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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