KDEB WASTE MANAGEMENT TACKLES SELANGOR’S WASTE AND ENERGY DILEMMA
The most industrialised and populated State in Malaysia, Selangor also generates the most waste in the country, accounting for 10,000 tonnes per day. At the same time, the State is also the single largest consumer of electricity in the country, making up around 20 percent of demand. As sustainable growth is a goal of the First Selangor Plan (RS-1) 2021 – 2025, this creates a dilemma on how to achieve sustainability targets, reduce waste and ensure continued economic development.
Selangor State-owned enterprise (SOE) KDEB Waste Management (KDEBWM) has just the solution. As a sign of its evolution from managing domestic waste collection and public cleansing activities throughout the State to providing the A to Z of waste management solutions, KDEBWM set to solve two problems at once through its waste-to-energy (WTE) plant.
Located in Rawang, Selangor, at the northern tip of the Klang Valley, KDEBWM’s upcoming WTE plant is part and parcel of the company’s commitment to a larger venture and marks the first phase of the Selangor Green Energy Ecopark Project (SGEEP).
Announced by Selangor Menteri Besar YAB Dato’ Seri Amiruddin Shari in the Selangor State Assembly in November 2022, the SGEEP aims to address several challenges faced by Selangor in waste management. For instance, the amount of solid waste produced in the State is increasing at an average rate of 3 percent a year. At the same time, the landfills where waste is usually disposed of are exceeding their limits.
The SGEEP therefore is an ambitious project that aims to create a centralised area to manage waste effectively, efficiently, and sustainably in Selangor. And KDEBWM has been entrusted to manage the entire project, which will sit on 245 acres of land, and cost approximately RM4.5 billion.
Being the entity entrusted with waste management services in Selangor, it is only apt that KDEBWM has been given the responsibility of handling the SGEEP. After all, it already has a commendable track record in providing domestic and bulk waste collection and public cleansing services in the State.
This is reflected in the fact that since KDEBWM took over these duties, the number of complaints about uncollected rubbish and illegal dump sites have gone down drastically. Incidentally, KDEBWM’s venture into solid waste management started with the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) in 2016 and culminated with the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) in 2019, and today it services all 12 municipalities in Selangor.
An Economic Driver
One of the biggest criticisms of burning solid waste in incinerators, as is the normal practice, is that it causes and exacerbates air pollution. With that in mind, what is the difference between doing that and burning waste to generate electricity in a WTE plant?
For one thing, conventional incinerators are not discriminatory. In other words, they are used to burn any type of waste, even hazardous and recyclable ones. A WTE plant however is more discerning in that hazardous waste would be first treated properly, while recyclable waste will be set aside and then recycled or reused.
In fact, WTE plants are known to produce less carbon emissions than coal-fired plants, as technologies are in place to ensure that the risk of air pollution is reduced significantly. It is as YAB Dato’ Seri Amiruddin mentioned at the Selangor State Assembly, “WTE technology does not require extensive land and does not impact the surrounding environment.”
And of course, it can produce much needed energy that will help drive the engine of Selangor’s economy. To illustrate, when completed the SGEEP is expected to process around 2,400 tonnes of waste per day – or almost a quarter of Selangor’s current waste output – and generate 132 MW of electricity. Not just that, the entire project is also expected to contribute to job creation in the State as it will provide at least 1,800 jobs during the development period and another 1,000 long-term jobs after completion.
According to estimates by the Selangor State government, the SGEEP is forecasted to reduce the amount in waste in landfills by 85 percent. And in doing so allow the State to make use of that land for purposes that are more beneficial to socio-economic growth.
Through its involvement in the WTE plant and the wider SGEEP project, KDEB Waste Management is taking another big step forward in securing its position as a leader in total waste management solutions. And just as how its Managing Director Dato’ Ramli Mohd Tahir often says, “Waste is not dirty. Waste is money”, soon he can add “Waste is power” to that mantra as well.