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Sarawak reviewing policies towards environmentally-responsible waste management

KUCHING (Dec 13): Sarawak has commissioned a study to review the current policies,  legislation and regulations governing waste generation and disposal management in adopting and advocating the principle of reduce, reuse and recycle (R3).

Chief Minister  said that in advanced countries like Canada, waste management goes beyond R3, the three essential components of environmentally-responsible consumer behaviour.

"Wherever possible, waste reduction is the preferable option. If waste is produced, every effort should be made to reuse it if practicable," he said at the 8th Sarawak Chief Minister's Environmental Awards (CMEA) awards night here last night.

Abang Johari said recycling is the third option in the waste management hierarchy, and that although recycling does help to conserve resources and reduce waste, it is important to remember that there are economic and environmental costs associated with waste collection and recycling.

For this reason, he said, recycling should only be considered for waste which cannot be reduced or reused, and it may be possible to recover materials or energy from waste which cannot be reduced, reused or recycled.

Abang Johari also said that Sarawak is embarking on green technology in the development and application of products, equipment and systems for the protection of the natural environment and conservation of resources, which minimise and reduce the negative impact of human activities.

He said Sarawak has a blueprint of the development plan, as outlined in the document entitled ‘SCORE’ - Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy, where several growth nodes were identified and the main component related to sustainable development is the generation of power through the development of hydroelectric power projects.

The state has taken a firm and strategic approach in promoting environmental protection and conservation of its natural resources, he said, adding that today all development initiatives and programmes implemented in the state subscribe to a high degree of environmental protection.

He said credit must be given to the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) and other relevant government agencies as well as non-governmental organisations for their continuous efforts to successfully create environmental awareness among all levels of stakeholders and the continuous efforts to encourage greater participation of the private sector in environmentalism by advocating corporate environmental responsibility (CER).

Abang Johari said this will ensure that Sarawak’s agenda of becoming a developed state by 2030 will become a reality.

"Our mission is to develop Sarawak where the next generation can enjoy a better life than the one that went before it. That means protecting and enhancing our natural environment for the next generation so they have a healthy and beautiful country in which to build their lives," he said.

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