Ongoing efforts to tackle the growing waste problem

Izah Azahari

The management of waste and waste sent to the Sungai Paku landfill is to end by 2030. Thus, efforts are being made to use the latest and innovative methods, especially for the Brunei River.

This was stated by the Permanent Secretary (Planning, Land Use and Environment) of the Ministry of Development (MoD), Dr Nor Imtihan binti Haji Abdul Razak, during a press conference on the Offenses Act miners by the Brunei Darussalam Hygiene Steering Committee at the An-Naura Hall at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex yesterday.

However, she added, the government faces the ongoing challenge of indiscriminate dumping by irresponsible individuals.

As a result, roads, open and hidden sites, coastal areas and watersheds have become dumping grounds.

Dr Nor Imtihan said the Sultanate generated 285,771.35 metric tons of solid waste in 2021, an increase of 6,891.63 metric tons from the previous year, with most ending up in landfills across the country. country.

According to ASEAN statistics in 2017, Brunei Darussalam was the second country in terms of solid waste generation, with 1.4 kilograms per capita per day. As such, the Brunei Darussalam Hygiene Issues Steering Committee aims to provide policy direction and strategy for the implementation of actions for the cleanliness of public spaces, including commercial premises, business areas and agricultural areas; private residences such as residential areas; and environments surrounded by rivers.

Permanent Secretary (Planning, Land Use and Environment) at the Ministry of Development (MoD) Dr Nor Imtihan binti Haji Abdul Razak. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

She also shared the achievements of the committee as a whole, under the Stakeholder Awareness and Stewardship Action Group, the Cleanliness Facilities and Services Improvement Action Group, and the Action on Laws and Law Enforcement.

“Ways to address these challenges include implementing strategic planning in the use of allocations, continuing the activities of the Steering Committee on Hygiene Issues (JIIK), increasing environmental awareness activities and to monitor activities as well as public cooperation,” she said.

Dr. Nor Imtihan shared some of the challenges facing the committee, such as the postponement of cleaning campaigns following the COVID-19 outbreak, lack of public awareness of the importance of cleanliness and the insufficient staff and human resources to monitor waste disposal activities in non-landfill locations.

“To support the government’s efforts to keep the country clean, the JIIK and the Ministry of Defence, as chair of the Action Group on Improving Cleanliness Facilities and Services, have implemented initiatives to improve and modernize cleaning facilities and services,” said Dr Nor Imtihan.

An annual expenditure of BND 8.4 million is used to address sanitation issues, especially for upgrading of facilities and cleaning and maintenance services such as garbage cleaning works in housing estate areas carried out by the Department of Housing Development under a fixed term contract; garbage cleaning works in urban areas under the control of district offices carried out in-house and under fixed-term contracts; rubbish cleaning works on the roads; the CCTV monitoring of illegal dumps put in place by the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe); garbage clean-up works in parks and the Brunei River as well as solid waste management, including landfill management in Sungai Paku under JASTRe; monitoring the hygiene of public toilets and upgrading tourist places in terms of hygiene under the supervision of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT); and garbage cleaning works on drains and sewers under the Department of Drainage and Sanitation, Department of Public Works.

The government has allocated a budget to provide cleaning services and hygiene-related facilities, with 80% of the expenditure going towards waste disposal management in Sungai Paku and cleaning works in the parks; 10 per cent reserved for drainage and sewer cleaning works; and 10% reserved for the cleaning of roads, markets, she specified.

“Among the guidelines of the Steering Committee’s action group on hygiene issues for the improvement of cleaning facilities and services is the improvement of cleaning facilities and services through the use of the latest technologies”, said Dr. Nor Imtihan. “This includes turning waste into energy as an alternative to solid waste landfills; skimmer boats, retrieval boats, work boats and collection barges with conveyor belts for the collection of two to four metric tons of waste; and floating debris booms to clean up drainages.

To further strengthen law enforcement against indiscriminate dumping, the government is carrying out surveillance using hidden CCTV cameras spread across the four districts.

“The public is encouraged to assist the government with sanitation issues, such as waste disposal and collection, to report spilled litter as well as to report unsatisfactory public facilities.”

“Maintaining cleanliness is the public’s responsibility,” Dr Imtihan said.

“Their cooperation is much needed and appreciated to reduce the cost of government spending on cleaning services. The public is advised to always maintain cleanliness and dispose of trash in designated areas. »