The rapid industrial development in Malaysia has created significant
industrial waste pollution problems which need immediate remedy. Industrial
waste pollution has created a lot of effluent.
Much of this effluent
contains toxic and hazardous waste. Management of industrial waste is a
growing concern in Malaysia. The waste if improperly segregated or disposed
off can cause dangerous results. This means that the proper management of
such toxic and hazardous waste requires discipline, vigilance and at times
just common sense.
The co-disposal of toxic industrial waste together with household waste
in landfill disposal sites can cause potential release of toxic material
into the environment through leaching. Therefore, the best approach to waste
management is not to produce waste, but to produce less waste or to produce
waste of reduced hazard. This goal can be promoted in several ways, such as
to apply proper waste management, to select a process that inherently
produces less waste, to recycle and reuse generated waste and to select
non-hazardous and less toxic material.
In Malaysia, the control of hazardous waste is governed by the
Environmental Quality Act passed in 1974. A hazardous waste is a solid,
liquid or gas that could pose dangers to human health or the environment.
Under the 1989 Environmental Quality Regulations, scheduled waste is
required to be handled properly. It can be industrial, hospital and
household waste. Currently, there are 107 categories of scheduled wastes,
listed under these regulations. These categories of waste shall be disposed
off at prescribed premises only and be treated at prescribed premises or
treatment facilities only. They have to be treated through some
microbial-based on-site processes to remove or detoxify the waste material.
Generally, the project implemented, namely 'Leachate Treatment System
Using Microbial Process' will attempt to develop new microbial processes for
waste treatment. This project will look into bioremediation of solid waste
in landfill sites and the effects on groundwater and the environment.
The aims of the project are to achieve cost-effective industrial
wastewater management through new approaches, the development of appropriate
microbial treatment and detoxification technologies and identification of
resident microbes. The benefits are comprehensive characterization and
evaluation of leachate generated from local landfill sites and
identification of microbes.
The Leachate Treatment System Using Microbial Process' project was one of
the most comprehensive studies to be conducted on local landfill leachate,
which is a significant source of aquatic pollution yet to be properly
managed. The findings are expected to provide the scientific and technical
basis for the design and operation of proper landfill leachate management
systems in the future.
Meanwhile, new guidelines passed on waste disposal have proved effective.
They include recommendations and procedures for handling and disposal of
chemical waste from laboratories in such manner that will not constitute a
risk to human health, safety or the environment. The guidelines outline the
type of chemical waste generated in laboratories, approaches in the
minimization of chemical waste, safety procedures in handling such waste,
laboratory safety procedures and the chemical waste disposal procedures.
To paint a brighter picture, much progress has been made in waste
disposal in the country. However, a lot more still needs to be done for us
to claim that the waste disposal situation is safe for the people and the