Waste Management Challenges in Sustainable Development of Islands. Agamuthu Pariatamby and Nagendran Periaiah CONTACT Agamuthu P. Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: 603 7967 6756 Fax: 603 79674178 e-mail: [email protected]
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY As urbanization continues to take place, waste management is becoming the major environmental problem around the world. One of the most vulnerable eco-systems that need attention in this respect is the island. The rapid increase in the density of human population in previously virgin lands for the purpose of leisure and tourism is making the collection, treatment and disposal of waste an insurmountable problem. Present day environmental concerns demand more: along with being safe, waste management must also follow the principles of sustainable development. This paper presents and discusses the current waste management practices and challenges in four tourist islands in Malaysia, namely Redang, Tioman, Pangkor and Langkawi. The study consists of public survey, discussions with local authority staff involved in waste management, discussions with Government officials, review of documents and actual field research. Islands in Malaysia are generating approximately 400 metric tons of solid waste per day. Approximately 60% of the waste are collected and disposed off in non-sanitary landfills. The remaining 35 % were illegally burned/ dumped while 5 % were dumped into ocean. Increasing trends in waste generation were observed in the Islands. Different socio-economic development and the degree of urbanization influenced waste generation rates in the islands. Langkawi (urban island) has the highest waste generation and better waste management in place. Meanwhile, Redang (rural island) generates less waste and showed poor waste management practices. Approximately 100% of landfills in Malaysian islands operate as mere open-dumps that lack proper lining system and without leachate treatment facilities. The landfills will be filled by 2015 if current trends of waste generation and handling continue. Alternative landfill sites are not available. Therefore there is limitation on landfill disposal in islands. As an alternative, incinerators have been used as disposal method. Island waste has equally 42.5 % compostable and 42.5 % recyclables in the waste stream, composting can be incorporated at all the landfills together with an integrated system of recycling. Studies indicate that if MSW is separated at source and treated in an integrated approach, almost 85 % of the waste can be diverted from the landfill. Other treatment options such as recovery, recycling, reuse (3Rs) have been successfully practiced in some urban islands. However the effort for 3Rs is driven by government incentives or regulations. Overall waste management in Malaysian Islands is still in an infant stage and challenges encountered were aesthetically displeasing sites, inefficient waste collection/ transportation, improper waste disposal method, marine pollution and lack of public awareness. An integrated approach to solid waste management can deliver both environmental and economic sustainability to these islands.
INTRODUCTION Waste generation is a global issue where waste is generated by daily human activities in all economic sectors and it is generally an un-avoidable by-product. Solid waste generation in Malaysia has increased more than 91% over the past 10 years, due, in particular, to the rapid development of urban areas (Agamuthu and Fauziah, 2006). Currently Malaysia produced approximately 30,000 metric tons of waste everyday or 1.3 kg/person/day (Agamuthu et al. 2009). The waste consists of domestic and industrial refuse. Waste management resulting out of rapid urbanization has become a serious concern for government departments, pollution control agencies, regulatory bodies and also public. Proper waste management is very crucial to prevent further environmental destruction and to promote sustainable development. Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. The 3.6 % annual increase in solid waste generation required appropriate facilities and technologies which are unfortunately not available to match the requirement for sustainable waste management (Agamuthu and Fauziah, 2007). Sanitary landfills are only 3% of the total existing disposal sites in the country while the remaining are non-sanitary landfills (Fauziah, 2009). This makes the management of waste in Malaysia a more delicate matter to tackle and constrain to establish a sustainable waste management system. One of the susceptible communities that need urgent attention in sustainable development is the small tourist island. Very small settlements have historically required little or no waste management. When small islands become hub for tourist activities the entire scenario change. The human activities start producing more waste as the economy generators try to constantly meet the demands of the tourists so as to attract them in larger numbers. This change often comes about so gradually that it is hardly noticed until the numbers of tourists have grown past the carrying capacity of the natural resources on the island.
Figure 1: Location of Langkawi, Redang, Tioman and Pangkor Islands
This paper presents and discuss current waste management practices and challenges in four tourist islands in Malaysia, namely Redang, Tioman, Pangkor and Langkawi. Pangkor and Langkawi Islands located at west coast of peninsular Malaysia. Both islands have high population, very well developed, and have better solid waste management system in place. While Redang and Tioman Islands located at east coast of peninsular Malaysia. Compared to Pangkor and Langkawi, Islands in east coast has less population and low development. Locations of these Islands in Malaysia are shown in Figure 1. The findings are aimed to provide vital information on waste management to local decision makers (planners and administrators) in small tourist islands. It would help them in determining appropriate practices that could be employed to alleviate the problem of waste management and so as to promote sustainable development of islands. MATERIALS AND METHODS Waste quantities estimation Waste quantities generated at each residential area in the selected islands and all the operating resorts were estimated by manual weighing and by information provided by local authority and resort operators. Sample collection and segregation Total 63 samples (as discarded) were collected randomly and segregated everyday for seven continuous days (Monday – Sunday) at all the selected islands. Each sample weighed a minimum of 200 kg. Sampling of solid waste at site conducted by employing the mixing, coning and quartering method described in the ASTM D 5231 (1992). This test method describes procedures for measuring the composition of unprocessed solid waste by employing manual sorting. The samples were then sorted into 12 categories (food, wood, paper, yard, plastic, glass, diapers, metal, textile, batteries/hazards, rubber/leather and others). Survey and interviews Government authorities, waste management contractors and resident representive were interviewed in one-to-one basis. Waste collection procedure, current recycling practices, disposal methods, and potential environmental impact were observed and monitored. Total 250 questionnaires with 50 questions each were distributed to obtain residents feedback on Island waste management (i.e. waste collection efficiency, recycling practices, public opinion, attitude towards waste problems and awareness). The structured questionnaire was developed interactively over time. The final changes to the questionnaire were made on the basis of observations and results of pre-testing the final draft questionnaire. The questionnaire was prepared based on Likert Scale to obtain simplified feedback from the respondent. The Likert Scale involves the use of intensity questions/ statements to measure the strength of the respondent’s opinion on a topic or issue. Generally, respondents were provided with several statement options (e.g. strongly disagree, disagree, agree and strongly agree) which they may choose from in order to rate their responses. The responses were analysed by using frequency analysis and severity index. The answers to questions were displayed on a 0 to 4 point scale. The severity index (SI) was calculated based on the Eq. (1) (Hasnain et al., 2005). (1)
Where ai is the index of a class; constant expressing the weight given to the class; xi is the frequency of response; i = 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and described as below: x0, x1 , x2 , x3 , x4 are
the frequencies of response corresponding to a0 = 0, a1 = 1, a2 = 2, a3 = 3, a4 = 4, respectively. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Solid Waste Generation Increasing trends in waste generation were observed in all islands. Islands in Malaysia are generating approximately 400 metric tons of solid waste per day. Table 1 summarized population and solid waste generation data in Redang, Pangkor, Tioman and Langkawi. The waste generation rate in these islands was found to be in the range of 0.5 – 1.1 kg/person/day. This is within the Malaysian common waste generation rate from 0.5 - 1.5 kg/person/day. Kuala Lumpur has the highest generation rate of 1.5 kg/person/day (Agamuthu et al., 2009). Langkawi (urban island) recorded highest per capita generation rate of 1.1 kg/person/day and followed by Tioman and Redang with 0.87 kg/person/day and 0.86 kg/person/day respectively. Results shows that Tioman and Redang having similar waste generation data. Both islands are located at east coast of peninsular Malaysia and both are less developed islands in a rural area. For a close comparison with an urban island community, the per capita generation rate of Penang Island is estimated at 1.3 kg/person/day (UNDP, 2008) and for Singapore (urban and developed island) is 3.4 kg/person/day (Renbi and Mardina, 2002). As for the rural island such Sri Lanka, it has waste generation rate of 0.34 kg/person/day (UNEP, 2001). Result shows that islands with different socio-economic development and the degree of urbanization influence waste generation rates. The finding is also similar to a study conducted by Troschinetz and Mihelcic (2009) Table 1: Population and waste generation rate in the four islands Redang Tioman Pangkor 2 Size (km ) 10.87 131 8 Population 1,400 3,400 26,000 Waste generated 2.7 6.95 13 (metric ton/ day) Waste generation rate 0.86 0.87 0.48 (kg per person per day)
Langkawi 478.5 79,000 85 1.08
Waste Composition The average waste composition results for Malaysian Islands indicates that food waste as the main waste component with 32 %, followed by paper and plastic with composition of 21 % and 14 % respectively (Figure 2). The standard deviation calculated among 63 samples segregated shows only a minor deviation in food/ organic waste. This shows that food composition in the island waste stream is quite similar and it is also comparable with other islands such as Singapore (Renbi and Mardina, 2002) and Green Island, Taiwan (EPA Taiwan, 2002). The waste composition results indicate that combustible contents are the main waste component with around 87 % in all islands, followed by compostable and recyclables with almost equal composition around 42.5 %. High amount of recyclables in the island waste are due to the effect of tourism at the island during weekends. Tourists tend to use and generate high amount of packaging waste like styrofoam food containers, mineral bottles, magazines, carton boxes and shopping bags. Most of these items are recyclables. Waste composition data indicate that if both compostable and recyclable fraction were successfully separated at source and treated in integrated approach, almost 85 % of the waste can be diverted from the landfill.
Metal Hazards 0% Others 2% 1%
Food/Organic 31% Food/Organic Paper
Rubber/ Leather 3%
Metal Hazards Others
Figure 2: Waste composition in Malaysian Islands Collection and Transportation Islands generally have at least two trips of waste collection per day, except at Redang Island where the wastes are collected only once daily at alternate locations. The waste collection in Islands has been contracted out to a private firm. Collection area covered almost 80% of the population and about 20 – 60 % of waste is not collected. Pangkor, Tioman and Langkawi Islands have better infrastructure and most of the residential areas and resorts can be accessed via normal road. Therefore, waste collection/ transportation were carried out by using compactors and lorries. As for Redang and few locations in Tioman Island, due to rocky hills and limited access roads, waste collections were carried using boats.
Figure 3: Overfilled garbage transportation boat
All the waste transferred from Redang to the mainland is disrupted from November till January annually as it is the monsoon season and the sea is rough during the season. During peak season, due to dramatic increases in waste generation, the boat used to transport waste is overfilled with garbage bags and it is quite common for a few bags to drop into the ocean (Figure 3). Survey showed that the public is quite neutral with the present waste collection service and they agree that current waste collection frequency is satisfactory with severity index of 48.3 % and 61.0 %. Redang shows the lowest percentage of 45.0 %, which is due to its complicated waste collection system (e.g. by boat). Besides that, public are demanding for more waste bins to be provided in Redang (SI = 30 %). Landfill As for disposal methods, majority of the islands depending on landfill located in the island except for Redang, the waste being transported and disposed in mainland. Survey shows that every year almost 40,000 metric tons of wastes are disposed at landfill in the Islands. Overall, approximately 60% of the waste are collected and disposed off in non-sanitary landfills. The remaining 35 % were illegally burned/ dumped while 5 % were dumped into ocean. Current waste management practice in Malaysian Islands is presented in Table 2. Approximately 100% of landfills in Malaysian islands operate as mere open-dumps that lack proper lining system and without leachate treatment facilities. There is only a layer of natural lining, clay as prevention of leakage of leachate to the water table beneath the landfill and no cell system is currently being practiced at the site. No proper treatment or drainage is allocated to the leachate and the trench often swells during the monsoon season. All the landfill in the island had waste-related aesthetic problem, leachate contamination and landfill gas/ odor problems. There is apparent evidence that, in the island, waste collection is not effective and disposal method such as landfill are not done in the appropriate way which subsequently gives negative effects to the environment. The landfills will be filled by 2015 if current trends of waste generation and handling continue. Alternative landfill sites are not available. Therefore there is limitation on landfill disposal in islands. As an alternative, incinerators have been used as disposal method. Table 2: Waste management practice in Malaysian Islands (metric tons/ month) Waste Management Langkawi Pangkor Tioman Redang Composting 10 1 2 1 Recycling 120 31 15 2 Open burning/ dumping 816 50 79 35 Landfill/ Incinerator 1604 308 112 45 Total Waste 2550 390 209 83 Incineration Even tough incineration technology has been implemented in year 1998 at certain tourist islands namely Langkawi, Pangkor and Tioman, where 6 mini-incinerators with a capacity of 3 to 20 ton/day with an overall cost of RM 17 million (US 4.6 million) (Latifah et al., 2009). Only one unit of 3 ton capacity incinerator is currently being utilized in Tioman Island. Another 10 ton capacity incinerator is used occasionally to burn some government classified documents in Langkawi. The remaining four units of incinerator are no longer functioning. This is due to the design of the incinerator, which is not suitable for Malaysian waste; high moisture content. The only incinerator working in Tioman Island also needs a lot of diesel to sustain the combustion, which is proven not economically feasible. However literature showed that, almost 214 000 metric tones of waste/ month was generated Singapore and 90% of waste are successfully incinerated (Renbi and Mardina, 2002). The moisture content and calorific value of Malaysian and Singapore waste are almost similar.
Therefore the failures of incinerator in Malaysian Islands are mainly due to wrong design and non-availability of pre-treatment of waste prior to incineration. Pre-treatment of waste are crucial especially if the waste has lower calorific value and high moisture content (Niessen, 1995). Composting and Recycling Composting and recycling has been practiced in major resorts in Redang, Tioman, Pangkor and Langkawi Island. Tioman recorded high composting rate which is about 1.1 % from total waste generated. In term of volume of compost generated, Langkawi lead the list with approximately 10 tons/ month. As for the recycling, the highest recycling rate of 7.9 % was recorded in Pangkor Island. High amount of recyclables contributed by tourism industry found to be the driven force for recycling activities. Some resorts separate the waste into several categories namely plastic, cardboards and papers, aluminium cans and food waste. The recyclables are collected and sold at mainland. It is estimated about 1 - 2 metric tons of waste (1.2 – 2.4 %) are being recycled by resort operators every month. Overall, the recycling and composting rate is still far behind compared to Malaysian Government’s target of 22 % and 8% respectively by 2020 (Agamuthu et al., 2009). In order to achieve the target, a significant waste-stream diversion, a material volume reduction through “large-scale”, integrated and well-executed programs for recycling and composting are required.” A diversion of 42 % and 54% has been observed in Pacific Island – Guam (Green Island Alliance, 2005) and Singapore (D. Zhang et al., 2010) respectively. Availability of Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) and scavengers plays significant role in waste recycling activities. Composting has been practiced in major resorts in Redang, Tioman, Pangkor and Langkawi Island. Survey showed that respondents agreed that they need more recycling facilities and recycling programme or campaign with severity index of 69.7 % and 75.5 respectively. Among the islands surveyed, Pangkor resident’s shows higher recycling practice with severity index of 66.0 % followed by Langkawi and Tioman with 40 % and 34 % respectively (Figure 4). Redang recorded the lowest with 31.5 %. This survey feedback finding is further supported by waste management data indicating Pangkor has the highest waste recycling rate of 7.9 %. Further investigations revealed that Pangkor has a lot of material recovery facilities compared to other islands. Therefore, it is evident that material recovery facilities will boost recycling rates in the Island. Other treatment options such as recovery, recycling, reuse (3Rs) have been successfully practiced in some urban islands. However the effort for 3Rs is driven by government incentives or regulations.
11.8 4.0 5.5 8.0
Langkawi Pangkor Tioman
34.0 31.5 0.0
Severity Index, %
Figure 4: Respondents feedback on waste practice and source separation Open Burning and Ocean Dumping As for the waste disposal practices, waste generated by villagers are quite often dumped/ burned at backyard with severity factor between 60 - 84 %. Open dumping is the prevalent method of final waste disposal, creating considerable environmental and health hazards. Although there is authority directive to not dump any waste into the ocean, illegal dumping into ocean is still being practiced by some villagers as 3.5 - 10.5 % of respondents agreed that sometimes they dump waste into the ocean. It is estimated about 2 metric tons of waste are being dumped into ocean every month. The highest severity factor recorded for Redang Island, as waste management in Redang always disrupted by monsoon, open burning/ ocean dumping is the only left choice for them. Waste Management Challenges Analysis on present waste management at Malaysian Island shows that there are few issues and challenges that need urgent attention (Table 3). Table 3: Waste Management Challenges in Malaysian Islands Issues & Challenges • Dumps poorly located at the island • High transportation cost (via boat) • Uncontrolled scavenging • Inadequate budget • Lack of rubbish bin/ container • In efficient waste collection and transportation • Inadequate management and maintenance of equipments • Low public education and awareness of SWM issues • Low waste separation at source • Low reduce, reuse, and recycle waste (3R) • No alternative treatment strategy • Improper disposal method - Illegal burning, dumping & Ocean dumping • Environmental pollution & Safety non compliance • Aesthetic problem
CONCLUSIONS Current waste management practices, issues and challenges were identified and documented for Redang, Tioman, Pangkor and Langkawi Islands. The waste generation rate for typical tourist islands found to be in the range of 0.5 – 1.1 kg/person/day. The waste composition results indicate that food waste as the main waste component with 32 %, followed by paper (21 %) and plastic (14%). Islands solid waste contained equally about 42.5 % of compostable and 42.5 of recyclables materials. Therefore composting can be incorporated in all the landfills together with an integrated system of recycling. If both compostable and recyclable fraction were successfully separated at source and treated in an integrated approach, almost 85 % of the waste can be diverted from the landfill. Island community also welcome more recycling facilities and require more recycling programmes or campaign. Material recovery facilities (MRF) are required to boost recycling rates in the islands. Waste minimization including waste segregation and recycling has been regarded as an appropriate management option for local decision makers (planners and administrators) in small islands. Waste management is a crucial, ongoing and significant public service system that needs to be efficiently delivered to the community to maintain aesthetic and public health standards. Local authorities must plan and operate the system in keeping with potential to demonstrate sustainable development through an integrated waste management approach. A systematic effort is necessary to improve increasing urbanization and population growth. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author would like to thank the management and staff of Manjung Municipality, Tioman Development Authority, Kuala Terengganu Municipality and Langkawi Development Authority for providing the data used to undertake the research outlined in this article. REFERENCES Agamuthu, P., Fauziah, S. H. (2006). MSW disposal in Malaysia: landfill management. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Expert Meeting on Solid Waste Management in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Kitakyushu, pp. 3-3-1-1 to 3-3-1-10, 23–24 November 2006. Agamuthu, P. and Fauziah, S. H. (2007). Recent Issues in Solid Waste Management in Malaysia: the Solid Waste Bill. 2007. In Proceedings of the 3rd Expert meeting on Solid Waste Management in Asia Pacific Islands – Networking of Experts for Environmentally – Sound Solid Waste Management and the 3Rs. Okayama, Japan, 7-9 November 2007. pp. S1-3-1 to S1-3-6. Agamuthu, P., Fauziah, S. H., Kahlil, K. (2009). Evolution of solid waste management in Malaysia: impacts and implications of the Solid Waste Bill. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management 11, pp. 96–103. ASTM D 5231 (1992). Standard Test Method for Determination of the Composition of Unprocessed Municipal Solid Waste. American Society for Testing and Materials, Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Dongqing Zhang, Tan Soon Keat and Richard M. Gersberg (2010). A comparison of municipal solid waste management in Berlin and Singapore. Waste Management 30, pp. 921–933. EPA Taiwan (2002). Solid waste; Year book of environmental protection statistics, Taiwan area, Environmental Protection Agency, Taiwan, 126–150. Fauziah, S. H. (2009). Municipal Solid Waste Management: A Comprehensive Study in Selangor. Ph.D. thesis, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, pp. 5 – 27.
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