April 16, 2016

Subang Jaya City Council wins global Green Award

Subang Jaya City Council wins global Green Award

Council president Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan with two international eco-awards his administration has won. Photo Credit: SJ Echo

Last year the Subang Jaya Municipal Council, in Selangor, embarked on an ambitious project: it set out to turn organic waste into compost and energy at its recently opened integrated biomass centre in Bukit Puchong. By doing so, the council set a fine example for communal sustainability in Malaysia.

This year the council has set another example for the country: it has won the Green Era Award at the Green Economy Forum in Berlin, Germany, for its innovative green initiatives. The Green Era Award has been set up to recognize global exemplars of sustainability among government institutions, city councils, environmental agencies and companies. Subang Jaya’s council owes its win to its Biomass Integrated Centre, its recycling drive in the community, and its sustainable garden project called the Edible Green Community initiative.

Receiving “the award was a surprise to all of us,” acknowledged the council’s president Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan. “We are the first local authority from Malaysia to be recognised at this international forum.” He added: “It encourages us to continue to show our continuous efforts and determination to be a Green City by 2030 in line with our Strategic Plan.”

Senior assistant director Mohd Hafiz Sharif (center) demonstrates the food separation at the council's composting center. Photo Credit: The Star Online

Senior assistant director Mohd Hafiz Sharif (center) demonstrates the food separation at the council’s composting center. Photo Credit: The Star Online

The city council’s biomass project includes organic-waste composting, vermin-composting, food waste separation and the recycling of cooking oil. “We turn organic waste to compost and even sell them to the public,” said Mohd Hafiz Sharif, who is senior assistant director at the council’s environment department. “While organic composting usually takes 90 days to complete, we are using a method called vermin-composting, where we use African worms, and it only takes between 45 to 60 days to produce good quality compost for gardening.”

The biomass centre’s machine, he explained, needs 500 kilogram of food waste every day to generate 5 kilowatt of electricity, which can power two houses per day. This means that currently the composting machine can generate enough electricity to power only the centre itself, but many great initiatives start small and grow from there. Importantly, the council is not only leading by example when it comes to sustainability but also encouraging locals to recycle more through financial incentives.

“The council offers RM1 for every kilogram of waste brought in by residents and in the first month (of our operations), we received close to 3,000kg of waste,” the senior assistant director noted. “The initiative aims to encourage people to recycle and expose the benefits of separating their organic waste while providing them with aside income.”

The council also wants to ensure that less organic waste ends up in landfills. “We notice that 60 per cent of household waste in the municipality are organic in nature and we believe we can benefit from this untapped potential,” Mohd Hafiz said. “[W]e intend to become a model green city for other local authorities” across Malaysia.

More power to them!

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