Championing sustainability and positively impactful waste management

Fasiliti Inovasi Kitar Semula, Putrajaya

Fasiliti Inovasi Kitar Semula, Putrajaya

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PETALING JAVA: The latest report made in the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) stated that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and to around 9.7 billion by 2050. With such huge number of global population be expected in the near future, one key question arises. The possibility of irresponsible consumption of the natural resources that continues to have destructive impacts on the planet!

With such alarming catastrophic end-result, it is imperative for all citizens of the planet Earth to play a role in ensuring this does not occur and especially so to the corporations and companies all over the world including Malaysia. It calls for a more responsible consumption and production. It is high time for companies to have transition to green business infrastructures and practices. In fact, 93% of the world's 250 largest companies are now reporting on sustainability.

Realising this impending scenario which will endanger the very systems on which the future depends, Alam Flora Environmental Solutions (AFES), a subsidiary of Alam Flora Sdn Bhd {AFSB), is more focused and determined than ever, in pursuing the agenda of sustainability while also propagating a more environment friendly centralised waste management system and application for the benefit of the Rakyat and the country as a whole.

Known previously as DRB-HICOM Environmental Services {DHES), AFES has been around for almost eight years now (since 2013), and the company offers forward-thinking environmental solutions through its core business activities of Asset and Facilities Management {AFM), Infrastructure Cleansing and Waste Solutions (ICWS) and Waste Management Facility (WMF), all through sustainable development which are based on technological development and advancements that support the global goals introduced by the United Nations: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

When met here recently, AFES Chief Operating Officer (COO) Nazar Abdul Raof stressed that as a company, they are determined to provide better, wholesome solutions not just for corporate entities, businesses, and communities, but also for town councils, local government, even real estate and housing developers. From the recent circularity Gap Report 2021 by Circle Economy, from 100 billion tonnes of materials entering the global economy, only 8.6% is cycled back into the economy. In order to keep our world liveable and thriving we need to double up the global circularity from 8.6% to 17%. There is where AFES comes in to do our part towards global circular economy.

AFES Chief Operating Officer (COO) Nazar Abdul Raof

"First and foremost, we need to let everyone know who we are and what are the invaluable services that we have to offer, and we intend to do this via education. And to do this, for a start, we will anchor it through our ground breaking facilities known as Fasiliti lnovasi Kitar Semula (FIKS) and the Integrated Recycling Facility {IRF) in Precinct 5, Putrajaya.

"Such facilities, which cost more than RM12 million, incorporate the latest technological advancements and developments for handling and managing waste in line with our target of providing better value added services for everyone, and can be used to educate the public, especially children and young adults, the future generation, on the importance and need for sustainable practices for a better future with a healthier and cleaner environment.

"Right now the entire country is battling against the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, and with the enforcement of the Movement Control Order {MCO), there are restrictions on movement, gatherings and group visitations, along with Standard Operating Procedures to adhere to, which means the public cannot physically visit the FIKS and IRF facilities to learn about what we do and offer. To overcome this, we are now welcoming members of the public to engage in virtual, online visitations and learning tours, so this is our way of adapting and finding a solution," he shared.

Since FIKS was launch in July 2020, more than 900 visitors came to FIKS to learn more about waste recovery and repurpose. These visitors include members of the public, corporate companies, ministries, government agencies, schools and NGOs.

He also revealed that where such facilities are concerned, centralised waste management and careful sorting and thereafter disposal takes place at the back, while education and awareness is propagated in front to get the message across especially to the younger generation on the importance and need for sustainable practices for a better future with a healthier and cleaner environment.

AFES operates Pulau Pangkor Incinerator

He pointed out as an example that the FIKS and IRF facilities collect more than 100 tonnes of rubbish from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Putrajaya daily, and these facilities sort out dry waste, such as paper, cardboards, plastics and glass which is then processed and prepared for recycling and repurposing which differs from other waste disposal concessionaires who send dry and wet waste straight to the landfill.

Recyclables recovered in the year 2018 are 2,860 tonne and 3,744 tonne in 2019 which shows an increasing percentage of up to 31%. Meanwhile, in 2020, the total tonnage recyclables recovered is 4,127 tonne, an increase of 11%. The increase is due to continuous education that AFES initiated at FIKS.

"The current practice of waste management sees concessionaires moving all the waste and rubbish collected to landfills, but do bear in mind that as the country grows and the economy flourishes, we cannot keep depending on landfills as a means to dispose of waste, as the availability of land is dwindling and the cost is getting higher, and let's not forget that landfills have a long-term detrimental effect on the environment.

"This is why AFES came up with solutions in the form of facilities such as FIKS and IRF, as well as the incinerator plants on Pangkor Island and in Cameron Highlands which came online last year after we took over and turned it around as welcome, cleaner waste management alternatives to landfills in such areas where landfills are no longer an option," stressed Nazar, who reiterated that AFES will go further than other waste concessionaires when it comes to providing solutions. Now, AFES is be able to burn a maximum level of 20 metric tonnes of solid waste per day at incinerator plant on Pangkor Island and 40 metric tonnes on Cameron Highlands.

He highlighted the fact that AFES were duly recognised for their initiatives and efforts as they won the Best Environmental Impact Award for 2019 for their incinerator projects on Pangkor Island and in Cameron Highlands. The award was presented at the Europa Awards for Sustainability, organised by EUMCCI - EU and Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Nazar was quick to point out that such technological advancements and initiatives were mostly developed in-house anchoring on mostly local expertise and personnel to address the country's waste management needs one step at a time, while gradually reducing the negative effect and impact towards the surrounding environment through the use of modern furnaces as another means for integrated and improved waste management and disposal.

Another notable aspect of AFES business model is entrepreneurial development involving members of society especially in surrounding areas.

"We also give back to society in more ways than one by providing jobs, employing those from surrounding areas and communities for the centres and plants, as well as promoting entrepreneurial development by engaging with local entrepreneurs for logistics, composting, and buying back gas and used oils and lubricants for recycling just to name a few examples.

"We are promoting such a business model here and now as during such tough and trying times, as our country, our fellow Malaysians need such opportunities and avenues to continue to be useful and contribute positively while being able to sustain themselves and grow at the same time.

"Sustainability and a better, more environment-friendly integrated waste management system is vital for the country and Rakyat's future, as over time it will be able to address issues such as waste disposal and also lead to a better, healthier life while greatly reducing the amount of damage and pollution to the environment in the future.

"Sustainability. It is indeed a serious business," concluded En. Nazar.