GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) today urged the state government to continue with its policy against using incinerators to get rid of rubbish, saying pollution from incinerating waste remains a concern.
CAP acting president Mohideen Abdul Kader said pollutants from incinerators would enter the air, soil and water, affecting the food supply as well.
In a statement, he said incineration also produces toxic ash, and that developed countries had stopped using such technology.
“Using incinerators would also mean the waste of valuable resources which could otherwise have been recovered for use, especially since these discards are highly amenable to source segregation, composting and recycling,” he added.
Last week, the Penang government said it would consider having an incinerator to get rid of municipal waste as landfills in the state are nearly full.
State executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo said while Penang was previously against using incinerators, such technology is now believed to be safe for use.
The move would also be in line with the federal government’s requirement for each state to have an incinerator, he added.
But Mohideen said Penang should increase its efforts to promote recycling instead of buying an incinerator.
“The state recorded a recycling rate of 43% last year, achieving 33% on the island and 47% in Seberang Perai. This is a good indication of diverting waste from being disposed of, thus the state should have a higher diversion target and aspire to achieve the target faster.
“This can be done through composting of organic waste that makes up at least 50% of the total waste generated,” he said.
He added that incineration and other end-of-pipe waste technologies were not logical solutions to getting rid of garbage.
“The world is waking up and realising the failures of incineration. Developed countries that previously relied on incineration are now shifting away from it and peddling their technology to developing countries.
“Many countries are now embracing zero waste and investing in long-term waste management strategies, including shutting down their incinerators,” he said.