Displaying items by tag: sustainable development
The circular economy is an environmentally friendly economic approach aimed at reducing waste of resources, maximising use of materials and allowing regeneration of the natural ecosystem.
This can prevent buildup of waste in landfills and put existing waste through a recovery process that turns it into usable heat, electricity or fuel. It also forms a closed-loop cycle that extends the lifetime of products, enables the recovery of waste and promotes more efficient and sustainable manufacturing of new products.
An efficient waste management system is part of this economic model. A centralised management facility must be fully functioning every day to receive waste at any time and should be made available in each municipal district under the supervision of a state government, always adhering to the same standard of operation controlled by the federal administration.
This can be achieved by building new integrated infrastructure in each municipality or using existing landfill management facilities. The challenge will be in the feasibility, budget and support from the government as well as locals.
Not all waste is meant to be disposed of, buried or incinerated. Some can be recycled and should be channelled to a recycling facility so that new products can be made.
To make it a reality, an efficient facility covering the collection, segregation and sorting of waste is needed. This facility must be capable of making full use of the waste. Otherweise, it should provide other ways to recover it.
First, collection can be done by introducing a department to receive waste. Contributors can be anyone, including the landfill management that wants its waste to be processed properly.
To increase the collection of waste, this facility can deploy its own logistics or invite third-party companies, including non-governmental organisations, to bring waste from other sources.
A common challenge in waste collection is the mixing of waste that can lead to pollution. This is why instead of letting everything get mixed up, waste must be immediately separated based on condition, whether for composting, reuse, refurbishing, recycling or recovery.
Wet waste, for instance, consists of organic substances that can be composted. The compost can go to the agricultural sector. However, wet plastic cannot be mixed with wet waste and must be dried first before it can be processed with other plastics.
Plastic from different products, like plastic bottles and plastic packaging, cannot be mixed as they are made with different types of polymers and must be separated before they are turned into new products.
At this stage, a sorting system is necessary to separate waste before it is recycled. Waste sorting can easily be made faster with machine learning algorithms that can differentiate material type, purity, shape, weight and colour.
But this technology is available only in developed nations. It's time to consider adopting new technologies in waste sorting to protect the environment. Separating waste from the beginning is important and this should first be done by consumers before technology can take over the sorting process, especially for existing and already mixed waste.
In future, the function of waste facilities can be diversified beyond saving the environment or for economic activities, such as providing basic needs to the needy or people affected by disasters. Some waste and items sent to these facilities are still in good condition, clean and well-functioning.
Some items are highly sought- after and can be sold in the secondhand market to generate income. Used items can be a source of aid for people, especially those affected by the recent floods. The disaster created more waste which required more work to clean up.
An efficient waste collection centre is needed to address this and support the recovery process, not only in the post-pandemic era, but also for post-disaster work.
The writer is a Research Fellow at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia
Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 27 Jan 2022
Asia and the Pacific’s phenomenal development has been a story of rapid urbanisation. As centres of innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunity, cities have drawn talent from across our region and driven economic growth which has transformed our societies.
In Southeast Asia alone, cities generate 65 per cent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP). Yet the ongoing scale of urbanisation is a considerable challenge, one which puts huge pressure on essential public services, housing availability and the environment.
How we respond to this pressure, how we manage our urban centres and plan for their future expansion in Asia and the Pacific, is likely to decide whether recent development gains can be made sustainable. It is of fundamental importance to Malaysia as its economy powers towards high income status.
In Asean countries, 90 million more persons are expected to move to cities by 2030. Accommodating this influx sustainably will determine whether the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be achieved, and the climate targets of the Paris Climate Agreement can be met.
An effective response calls for integrated planning across all levels of government. Greater consideration needs to be given to demographic and land use trends to anticipate their impacts and minimise environmental damage. These trends should inform our investments in infrastructure but also in water, energy and transport services.
Closing the infrastructure gap in the region will alone require an additional US$200 billion of investment a year until 2030. We know local government revenues are mostly insufficient and fiscal decentralisation inadequate to respond to this need. Intelligent fiscal reforms to improve local revenues are likely to be necessary and we will need to consider how we can capture land value and use Public-Private Partnerships.
In the most disaster-prone region in the world, it is incumbent on us to reduce the risk of natural disasters to which millions of urban dwellers are exposed. By 2030, vulnerable populations living in extreme risk areas — along river banks, canals and slopes - are expected to have grown by 50 per cent since 2015 in many of region’s major cities.
Some cities, including Melaka, are participating in initiatives such as the 100 Resilient Cities, focused on community-based disaster risk reduction. Yet this effort needs to be given even greater scale if we are to achieve risk resilient cities in our region. Accelerating our multilateral cooperation and best practice sharing could make a valuable contribution to doing so.
New technologies hold great promise for more effective urban solutions. From smart grids and district energy solutions, or real-time traffic management, to waste management and water systems, smart technologies will enable our future cities to operate more effectively.
They could also make them more inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities. We have an opportunity to incorporate universal design standards and systems such as automated access to audio-based communications to improve accessibility to cities for persons with disabilities. We must encourage smart city developers to use standards which would give persons with diverse disabilities full access to the physical infrastructure and information others enjoy.
As we look to overcome all these challenges, the Asean Smart Cities Network designed to mobilise smart solutions throughout Southeast Asia, is a welcome development on which we must build. The implementation of this network is something the organisation I represent, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, has worked to support. Combined with the Asean’s broader Sustainable Urbanization Strategy, it is helping provide much needed resource in the region to manage urbanisation better. Twenty-six cities, including Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru are developing visions for their cities to apply technologies for smart and sustainable urban development.
The expertise being acquired is invaluable to the broader region’s effort. Malaysia has a leading role to play. At the 9th World Urban Forum Malaysia hosted last year, experts came from the world over to focus on cities for all and the New Urban Agenda. In October, the 7th Asia Pacific Urban Forum will be held in Penang. My hope is that this can focus minds and galvanize support for best practice to be shared and sustainable urban development to be prioritised in Asia and the Pacific.
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Published in: The New Straits Times, Friday 15 March 2019
APRIL 22 marked an important day for science. We, at the Academy of Sciences Malay-sia, had our annual general meeting (AGN) that day. For scientists in Malaysia, especially fellows of the academy, the AGM is always an important occasion for the year. This is the time when we, which now number more than 300, elect the office bearers for the academy from the position of vice-president down to the ordinary council members......................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
WORLD leaders will once again congregate in New York from Sept 25 to 27 this year. They will adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda, aiming to change the world in 17 steps with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In Seoul last month, the Korean Association for International Development and Cooperation (KAIDEC) had convened a meeting of development experts to discuss Asian perspectives on the new set of goals, targets and indicators that will replace the Millennium Development Goals. At a glance, it makes little sense to advance the proposition that there is such a thing as an Asian identity................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)