PETALING JAYA, 27 March – In conjunction with World Water Day 2017, GAB Foundation in collaboration with Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) and Global Environment Centre (GEC) launched the Waste Segregation & Oil and Grease Trap initiative at the SS2 Food Court to promote sustainable practices amongst small businesses to safe guard the quality of rivers and the environment as a whole. This initiative is an extension of the W.A.T.E.R Project by GAB Foundation, in partnership with Global Environment Centre (GEC), which is a pioneer initiative to educate the public about the importance of water and why and how we should conserve and protect its source: our rivers.
70 food court stall owners were provided with waste segregation bins. Out of which, 10 stalls were supplemented with oil and grease traps to further enhance their recycling practices. This initiative will help educate them on waste best management practices and benefit them as the waste can be turned into wealth by selling the reusable waste to recyclers.
Commenting on GAB Foundation’s role in the initiative, Shagivarnam Ratnam, Head of Corporate Affairs, GAB Foundation, said, “The theme for this year’s World Water Day 2017 is “Why Waste Water”, which is focused on reducing and reusing wastewater. It aspires to reduce the global statistic of 80% of wastewater generated by society flowing back into the ecosystem without treatment or recycling. Unmanaged and improperly disposed waste are a major contributor to river pollution. Today’s initiative aims to stem this growing problem by integrating recycling and waste segregation practices at a grassroots level.”
The W.A.T.E.R (Working Actively Through Education and Rehabilitation) Project, was introduced in 2007. With an overall investment of over RM6.8 million since its inception, the project has educated and engaged over 30,000 people in preserving key water sources around the country.
In 2012, W.A.T.E.R Project had donated 20 grease traps in a pilot project at Kinta, Perak with 10 units installed at schools and another 10 provided to food operators in the area. These installations have mitigated the pollution of water sources and its success has led to the expansion of the programme with the launch of today’s initiative.
Speaking about the initiative at the SS2 Food Court, Lee Lih Shyian, Director of the Solid Waste Management and Public Sanitary Department, MBPJ, said, “In recent years, Malaysia has elevated its commitment to incorporating sustainable practices in line with the global green agenda. MBPJ is firmly in support of this vision and has undertaken numerous strategic programmes to develop Petaling Jaya in to a world class green community.”
“Today’s initiative is yet another step in that direction. This is a long-term initiative with substantial preparatory work conducted and firm moving forward plans. Solid waste management is a cornerstone of ensuring a safe, clean and healthy environment and community. We are proud to be collaborating with the GAB Foundation and GEC to contribute back to the SS2 community,” he added.
Preparation for the initiative at the SS2 food court began in June 2015 with an initial waste audit of 18 food operators. This was then followed by a Training of Trainers (ToT) programme by W.A.T.E.R Project in November 2015 to educate operators on waste segregation, organic composting and correct usage of oil and grease traps. Subsequently, a comprehensive waste audit involving 68 stall owners was conducted in August 2016 in the lead up to the initiative’s official launch.
Elaborating on the impact of the programme, Wong Kok Wai, a food operator in the SS2 food court said, “Even at this early stage, I have already gained so much from the programme. The audit has opened my eyes to the immense amount that we were wasting and through the ToT programme I now know how to better manage this waste. Thanks to the organisers we now have the appropriate equipment to put these methods to practice and reduce our impact on the environment.”
The one-week comprehensive audit found that over two tonnes of waste was generated including over 1.2 tonnes of raw food waste. The introduction of the waste management initiative and grease traps are aimed at both reducing this amount and establishing a systematic method for managing the waste output. These efforts will soon be complemented by the introduction of composting machines by MBPJ that will help convert the large quantities of raw food waste into materials that can be reused.