Friday, December 30, 2011


Rubbish is like an endemic disease with uncollected waste choking our rivers, and littering our highways and byways.  The vast proportion of the waste that does get collected ends up on a dumpsite where it contaminates the environment and causes public health concerns. For, in spite of the billions of Ringgit of public money that has been spent on the collection and disposal of our Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) over the years, there are still only 8 sanitary landfills servicing the whole nation.

As 2020 approaches it is obvious that in terms of public cleansing and waste management, we are still in the dark ages when compared to developed countries.
Back in 1999 the European Union issued the European Landfill Directive for its member states with the overall aim of preventing the negative effects of landfills on the environment.  
In these developed countries it is well understood that landfills result in pollution of surface water, groundwater, soil and air, and have a negative effect on the global environment in terms of contributing to the greenhouse effect, as well as presenting risks to public health. There is also the recognition that even sanitary landfills can become compromised after a period of time and offer no guarantee when it comes to keeping the toxic residues produced by MSW from entering the ecosystem.

This legislation forced the member nations to reassess how waste is handled and disposed of and by eliminating landfills the European countries have shifted the paradigm of how waste is regarded.

And herein lies the crux of the issue in Malaysia: Historically waste has always been regarded as an expensive problem, a natural bi-product of our consumer society.  This is however an erroneous perception, for in reality waste is a renewable national asset, a storehouse of resources that can be reused, recycled and recovered to the benefit of the environment and society in general.

Yet, in spite of lip-service to the notion of reclaiming, reusing and recycling, the government’s master plan for waste disposal is still totally dependent on landfills, and despite the huge amounts of public funds that have been diverted into waste management, we haven’t made any progress in solving our waste problem.

In contrast, the European model of recovering as much of the waste as possible has spawned a multi-million dollar industry.

The new Act
The 2007 Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act was finally enacted in September 2011. It transfers responsibility for solid waste management and public cleansing from the Local Authorities to the Federal Government. As a result, new federal institutions including the Department of National Solid Waste Management and the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation were established.
This Act claims to bring solid waste management (SWM) in line with global state-of-the-art practices at no additional cost to the public. It includes regulation and enforcement tools as well as imposing higher responsibilities on the stakeholders. The Act also enabled the privatization of SWM. 

This privatization was bulldozed through parliament in much the same way as the recent Peaceful Assembly Bill and the development of Kg. Baru were hastily passed through the house with little debate, despite a lack of support from the majority of the people who will be affected by it.

When we take a close look at the Malaysian government’s strategy for implementing the act we find that the master plan is almost totally committed to building sanitary landfills to cope with the situation. Of course sanitary landfills are better than dumpsites, but it is clear that the same old mindset is still at play; the one that regards waste as a costly problem and not as a constant supply of untapped and renewable resources. 
This shows at best how misguided the Malaysian government is in trying to provide a world-class service.  At worst it illustrates that the solid waste management strategy has been developed with the interest of the industrial players in mind rather than what is best for the environment and society in general.

Lack of transparency and accountability
There is strong evidence of mismanagement and a lack of transparency in our national waste management strategyTake, for example, the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill in the north of Selangor, which is managed by KUB-Berjaya Enviro Sdn. Bhd. This 1,700-acre site was reportedly chosen because of its isolation from important groundwater aquifers thus eliminating the risk of water pollution.  However sceptics claim that the choice of location was determined by the then minister of housing’s desire to help out a friend who had already acquired the land thinking that the new airport was going to be located nearby. Since KLIA was subsequently built in Sepang, the minister’s friend was left holding a pretty worthless piece of real estate.  Then, or so the story goes, the government announced the closures of the Taman Beringen and Air Hitam dumps, in Kepong and Puchong, and acquired the land from the minister’s friend to build the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill.  In addition to the cost of the land, the government reportedly handed out RM400 million to build the landfill.
On top of that, there’s the cost to DBKL for using Bukit Tagar to consider. At present the tipping fee at Bukit Tagar is RM28.80 per ton. By this time next year it will have risen by a staggering 58.7 percent to RM49 per ton. Then there’s the cost of transporting all that waste 50 kms north, and we mustn’t forget the cost of collecting the waste; the cost of transporting it to the Taman Beringen transfer station and the compacting fee.

According to KUB-Berjaya Enviro’s statistics, the Bukit Tagar landfill receives about 3,000 tons of waste per day.  However, if this amount of waste was sent to a Waste to Energy plant and processed to extract its latent energy, it could supply up to 25MW of energy - enough to power around 50,000 modern 3 bedroom homes using 2 air conditioners, a fridge and a television. Because Waste to Energy management strategy is sustainable it’s bankable and can be funded by private venture capital. In addition, the different revenue streams that are created, which make it sustainable, ensure that tipping fees can be kept at an affordable level.  

Immediately after the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management bill was accepted by the cabinet, the Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung announced the award of contracts to three companies: Alam Flora, Southern Waste Management and E-Idaman. Besides payment from the local authorities, Chor said the companies had not been doing a good job because of a lack of funds and so they were also awarded between RM500mil and RM600mil a year from the Federal Government.This decision was made public just one day after the legislation came into force and, to the best of my knowledge, without any open tender exercise having taken place.  

The Act also raises issues of accountability, for under it, the minister’s decision is final and cannot be challenged in court. Furthermore, the legislation places all decision making in the hands of the Director General of the Waste Department, with no checks and balances to ensure that abuse of power does not occur.

The ‘red tape’ associated with the Act creates a barrier to local innovators and new players trying to enter the industry. For example, the National Waste Committee, headed by the deputy prime minister, is supposed to meet quarterly to look out for new ideas, and technology that would enhance and innovate the waste industry. All potential players wanting to enter the industry or suggestions on new technology must go before the committee for consideration.  However, I am reliably informed, that the National Waste Committee hasn’t met for the past year. Therefore, nothing gets done.  This is a classic ‘Catch 22’ situation, and hardly an incentive to develop local technologies. 

On the other hand, One German company who has been given approval to build biological composting plants are using a technology that, as far as I know, has not been proven with our waste profile.  I’m not implying by any means that they are not doing a good job, but I’m sure there are Malaysian companies that could do an equally good job if they had been given the opportunity.

In effect Malaysia’s solid waste management system operates like a cartel, with only a few, select industry players getting contracts.  Private companies and individuals offering green technology solutions are constantly being sidelined.

Financial mismanagement
The privatisation of solid waste management comes with an additional cost of about RM250 million just to cover administrative costs. Waste disposal is already an expensive business with billions of Ringgit of the public’s money being spent to: develop new landfills, operate and maintain existing landfills, and to close old ones, therefore these new administrative charges will place an additional financial burden on the public.

With all the decision-making and purchasing power residing with the Director General, How can we be sure that the people are getting the best deal?  The short answer is we cannot!  And in the light of the government’s gross overspending highlighted in the recent Auditor General’s report, the public can be forgiven for being suspicious that financial manipulation is in play.

Bin buying is one area where financial mismanagement seems to have taken place. Following privatisation, the government ordered 70,000 waste bins to be dispersed to householders and the price of each bin was tagged at around RM260. This would mean additional public expenditure of RM18.2 million. However, when bought in bulk, these bins can be procured for as little as RM88 each, even my local hardware store sells them for RM150  - a lot less than the government is paying.

Wasting money in the waste industry is not a new phenomenon. Over the years, successive governments have bought expensive technology that has proven not to work with local waste parameters.  Our spending on incinerators is a case in point.  Let’s take the fiasco of the Labuan incinerator as an example of what I mean.

In the 1990s, George Kent (Malaysia) Berhad, were given a multi-million Ringgit contract to build waste incinerators for the islands of Pangkor, Langkawi, Tioman and Labuan. The Labuan incinerator alone cost RM40 million and was written-off without running for even one day. In fact, all of the incinerators were scrapped due to faulty design, high maintenance costs and operating expenditure.  In plain language this means that the technology was unsuitable for Malaysian waste. 

The incinerators that were chosen were designed to run without the need for auxiliary fuel but this wasn’t viable because of the high moisture content of the waste (60-70%).  This bumped-up the operating expenditure enormously as an auxiliary fuel such as gas or diesel would be needed to actually burn the waste instead of the waste itself being the only fuel required. This is a classic case of not doing enough research before buying technology.
However, instead of learning from this costly mistake, the government went ahead and commissioned 5 new incinerators designed by XCN Technology, for Langkawi (100 tons a day), Labuan (50 tons), Cameron Highlands (40 tons), Pangkor (20 tons) and Tioman (10 tons). The costs range from RM20.3mil to RM68.4mil. Only the Langkawi plant will be a waste-to-energy facility, capable of generating 1MW of electricity.

Despite reassurances from Datuk Dr. Nadzri Yahaya, who is Director General of the Department of National Solid Waste Management, that these new incinerators have been custom designed to cope with the high moisture content and to run with much lower operating expenditure, it is unlikely that the tipping fee alone will be sufficient to operate these new incinerators. That means higher assessment charges or a yet another subsidy, which ultimately will come from the pockets of householders and taxpayers.

By 2020 we will be spending at least RM20 billion of the public’s money on this industry with little or no accountability.

Obsession with landfills
The decision to continue with landfills as the main avenue of waste disposal also makes a mockery out of the river cleaning programme as even sanitary landfills cannot guarantee that leachate will not eventually enter the water table.  This was highlighted during Hari Raya 2010 when leachate from the Sg. Kembong dumpsite entered the river and caused the closure of the Semenyih water treatment plant leaving 300,000 households (1.2 million people) without water during the festive season.

Landfill advocates are always quick to explain the virtues of sanitary landfills. It is true that some companies are now collecting landfill methane and are generating electricity.  However what they do not mention is that locally developed Resource Recovery/Waste to Energy technology generates 5 times the amount of electricity and comes with the added bonus of keeping the land clear of waste, as the waste itself is processed and the energy inside it recovered for public use.

Other landfill companies are covering old landfills with expensive solar panels in order to generate electricity for the nation. However, if these old landfills were mined instead, the energy recovered from the waste would supply the national grid with renewable energy and restore the land to be used for other, more positive, purposes.

Just to give you some idea of the hidden cost of closing old landfills: the government has already given Cypark Resources Berhad more than RM400 million to close 17 landfills.  Closure entails covering these old sites with soil.

Time to come clean
It is now time to question the motives that drive decision-making in the waste management industry and not just in terms of federal accountability.

Even though the Penang State government didn’t sign the privatisation agreement they still need money from the Federal Government in order to implement their waste management programme.  In Penang’s case they have decided to buy an untried solution using overseas technology. In order to pay for this scheme the state government needed Northern Corridor money and in so doing needed to get approval from the EPU and Pemandu. On further investigation it would appear that their mechanism of decision making also involved issuing contracts to friends and close associates in much the same way that the non opposition states have been operating all this time.

It’s time the government and the local authorities started explaining themselves and answering some very pertinent questions:

Why doesn’t the government have a KPI to reduce landfills when we know that landfills are not the best solution and our continued use of them will act as a barrier to achieving fully developed status?

Why has the MACC not investigated, what appear to be many examples of gross mismanagement and overspending within the industry?

Why have the decision-makers decided to ignore international trends and refuse to seriously consider Waste to Energy options, which are cheaper to build and operate and are fully sustainable?

Why does the National Solid Waste Department continue to undermine local industry rather than supporting it by approving the appointment of foreign consultants who bring in their own technologies at the expense of local companies using homegrown technology?
Why are contracts still awarded without passing through a transparent tender process?

Why hasn’t the government implemented Agenda 21, which calls on governments to adopt national strategies for sustainable development? It specifically states that these strategies should be developed as a result of working partnerships with international organizations, business, regional, state, provincial and local governments, non-governmental organisations and citizens’ groups.

Lastly, Why is waste management still under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government when it would appear to be more appropriate to move it to the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

A big thank you to my friend Joanna Yoong for facebooking this to me.

It is not my intention to offend any person of any religion by posting this, nor am I making a statement about Buddhism. 
Substitute 'Buddha' and 'Disciple' with any other names or relationships - father/daughter, teacher/pupil, it's the message that's the thing.
When money finally drops out of the equation, the ability to see 'waste' as a resource will be essential
Here it is:

A disciple of Buddha, said, “Oh Master! I have a request to make.”
Buddha: “What is it; tell me?”
Disciple: “My robe is worn out. It is no longer decent enough to wear. Please, may I have a new one?”
Buddha looked at the disciple’s attire and found that the garment was absolutely in tatters and really needed replacement. So he asked the store-keeper to give a new robe to this disciple. The disciple offered obeisance to the great master and left the room.
Buddha kept thinking about the incident and felt that He had perhaps missed an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson to the disciple. So he went to the disciple’s quarters to talk to him.
Buddha: Are you comfortable in your new robe? Do you need anything else?
Disciple: Thank you Master. I am very comfortable and do not need anything else.

Buddha: Now that you have a new one, what have you done with the old one?
Disciple: I have used it to replace my worn out bedspread.

Buddha: What did you do with the old bedspread?
Disciple: Master, I am using it as a curtain on my window.

Buddha: Did you discard your old window curtain?
Disciple: Master, I tore it into four pieces and am using them as napkins to handle the hot pots and pans in the kitchen.

Buddha: What about the old kitchen napkins?
Disciple: We are using them as mops to wash and wipe the floor.

Buddha: Where is the old mop?
Disciple: Lord, the old mop was so tattered that the best we could do was to take all the threads apart and make wicks for your oil lamp. One of them is presently lit in your room.”
Buddha was content. He was happy that His disciples realized that nothing is useless.

We can find a use for everything, if only we want to! Nothing should be wasted; not even time!

If all of us were to practice the habit of thrift, we can preserve the non renewable resources for our children, our grandchildren and our great grand children as our forefathers so thoughtfully did for us. Let us vow together to leave at least one monument for our children - the Earth!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome To Kampong Radioaktif

Check out their other videos on YouTube 
Rare earth meets rare talent as director Liew Seng Tat unleashes his fertile imagination on the Lynas controversy and fantasizes about our post-apocalyptic Malaysian village. After the radioactive dust has settled, we find that the village's leaders and entrepreneurs have all gone to a better place (and we don't mean heaven). Left behind are the innocent victims who couldn't afford to flee their ancestral homes, their lives turned upside down -- for some, quite literally. Liew Seng Tat's vision is unique and funny and guaranteed to crack you up. Yet, in the aftermath of the laughs, there lingers a poignant aftertaste. Is it thorium? Maybe, maybe not. But don't worry, they tell us it's not dangerous.

Thursday, November 24, 2011



Send a clear message to their shareholders that Lynas 
is not welcome in Malaysia by visiting:



Sydney-based Lynas Corporation is constructing a huge rare earth refinery near the city of Kuantan in Malaysia. It is scheduled to bring rare earth ore from its WA mine in Mt Weld to the refinery in Kuantan, Malaysia.
Every year it will dump 230,000 tonnes of solid waste containing radioactive thorium and a rang of heavy metals and toxic substances. Every hour, 500 tonnes of waste water will be discharged into a natural river which flows into the sea. Every hour, 90,000 cubic meter of gaseous participles are released into the atmosphere. The refinery is within 2 km of densely populated coastal fishing villages and tourism hot spots. No detail of the waste management plan is made available to the public to date. Local people have been protesting to stop the refinery since March, to little avail. The corrupt Government instead sent in paid thugs to rough up the peaceful protestors consisting to grand parents, fathers and mothers with children. They are pleading for help for caring Australians to stop this company from proceeding with the refinery project.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Madam Lai Kwan worked at the Mitsubishi rare earth refinery in Bukit Merah, Malaysia in 1982 when she was pregnant. Her son, Cheah Kok Leong was born with severe abnormalities in 1983. 

This is poignant film is just one more reason why the Lynas rare earth refinery planned to operate in Gebeng, Malaysia must be stopped.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Converting Plastic Into Oil

An interesting invention from the Blest Corporation in Japan that converts plastic waste back to it's original form - oil.
Check out the video demonstration of the machine at work.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Malaysia ethnic tribes 'forced to convert'

Good to see this issue being kept alive by Gerald Tan from Al Jazeera.  I have had close contact with the Temuan of Ulu Selangor over the last 20 years and can attest that this isn't restricted to just Pahang. It's a national push to get all the Orang Asli to convert to Islam.

In my area, the JHEOA (Orang Asli Department) not only try to force the Temuan to become Muslims, but also to vote for BN at every opportunity.

I believe that there are only about 300,000 Orang Asli left in Peninsular Malaysia and these are scattered around the country in a total of 18 tribes.  Even if all the tribes combined together to demand the right to live the way they prefer and still partake of development, they would hardly pose a national threat.

Just another example of how insane the Malaysian government has become and how intolerant they are of anybody different.
If you're interested in learning more about the Orang Asli I suggest you visit the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beastly Beauty

At first glance these pictures are quite beautiful, but in fact they reveal something far more ugly.

J Henry Fair's spectacular aerial images show the devastation man has wreaked on America.

Pollution is exposed on a massive scale, creating striking vivid colours that highlight the scars of spillages, open cast mining, chemical and oil leaks, industrial decay and deforestation

Agent orange: This picture is clearly of the sea but the dramatic lines and swirls are oil from BP's Deepwater Horizon spills at the Gulf Macondo well as it floats on the Gulf of Mexico

A river bleached white with the waste of aluminium production snakes through the parched Louisiana landscape before emerging into a muddy red lake in Darrow where the colours swirl together. 

                                                                See more HERE 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I just came across this brilliant community film that offers a positive step forward in the sticky issue of native customary rights versus political interests.

Towards Sustainable Forests/Ke Arah Hutan Lestari
Centre for Orang Asli Concerns

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bolivia: Stop the Amazon Highway

On Sunday, September 25 2011, Bolivian police used tear gas and truncheons to crack down on indigenous men, women and children who are marching against an illegal mega-highway that will slice through the protected Amazon rainforest.

72 hours later, the country is in crisis -- two key Ministers have resigned, Bolivians are erupting in street protests across the country, and President Evo Morales has been forced to temporarily suspend the highway construction. But powerful multinationals are already divvying up this important nature preserve. Now, only if the world stands with these brave indigenous people can we ensure the highway is rerouted and the forest is protected.

Avaaz just delivered a 115,000 strong Bolivian and Latin American emergency petition to two senior government Ministers -- they are worried about massive public pressure and are on the back foot. Now after this brutal violence let's ramp up the pressure and raise a global alarm to end the crackdown and stop the highway. SIGN THE URGENT PETITION -- it will be delivered spectacularly to President Evo Morales when we reach 500,000.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Here In My Home

Hard to believe that Malaysian authorities have instructed broadcasters not to air
this video as it contains anti-establishment undertones.
Isn't that another way of saying the establishment is racist and divisive?

You decide...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

World to Dilma: Save the Amazon


To President Dilma Rousseff : We call on you to take immediate action to save Brazil's precious forests by vetoing the changes to the forest law. We also urge you to prevent further murders of environmental activists and workers by increasing law enforcement against illegal loggers and ramping up protection for people at risk from violence or death. The world needs Brazil to be an international leader on the environment. Your strong action now will safeguard the planet for future generations.  


Friday, August 12, 2011

Post Carbon World Economy

Click on the link below for a thought provoking and very timely essay
from the Post Carbon Institute.  It's worth reading the whole PDF file.
Toward a Sustainable World Economy

Monday, August 8, 2011


This report from ChinaForbiddenNews contains many reasons why we shouldn't allow Lynas to process their rare earth in Gebeng, Pahang.

Hats off to the Malaysians who grilled these so-called experts.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shouting in the dark

Bravo Al Jazeera!
This is a must watch documentary but I'm warning you that it's quite a harrowing experience.

I was shocked by the pure evil of the regime and also horrified to realise that all the brutality and sadism that's going on in Bahrain is also going on right now here in Malaysia, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Detention without trial, total manipulation of the main-stream media, deaths in police custody, heavy-handed reaction to peaceful demonstrations, police shoot to kill policy, the list goes on...


Thursday, July 7, 2011


It's obvious that our PM Najib has lost whatever reason he had and has turned into a full-blown FASCIST

Benefits of Laughter Yoga with John Cleese

Wednesday, July 6, 2011



Dedicated to all peace-loving people who will be painting K.L. yellow on Saturday 9th July.

First of all, if you are arrested say only that you do not recognise the police's authority to arrest you as you have a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to PEACEFULLY PROTEST and that you will only answer their questions in the presence of a lawyer, approved by you.

But how to combat all those bad vibes and feelings of anger and frustration?

It's been scientifically proved that laughing:
  • lowers stress levels and increases well-being.
  • tones-up your immune system.
  • is a good workout for torso and face muscles, especially when in a confined space!
  • gives a sense of physical and emotional release.
  • takes the focus off the negative and makes you feel more cheerful and positive.
AND like canned laughter, it's CONTAGIOUS so as well as increasing your sense of well-being and the morale of all detainees, it might also humanise your jailers.

Monday, July 4, 2011

all we need is L O V E

Photo: Arwinda Hurup

I was feeling pretty het up about the current state of affairs in
Bersihland this evening but at the same time realised that getting hot under the collar wasn't the solution, I needed a different perspective.
So, for everyone who's feeling like I was, I recommend clicking HERE.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Here's an old song from 1980 that sums up what living in Malaysia is like these days.

Why must you record my phone calls?

Are you planning a bootleg L.P?

Said you've been threatened by gangsters

Now it's you that's threatening me.

Can't fight corruption with con tricks

They use the law to commit crime?

I dread, dread to think what the future will bring

When we're living in gangster times.

"Don't call me Scarface!"

Don't interrupt while I'm talking

Or they'll confiscate all your guitars.

A catch - 22 says if I sing the truth

They won't make me an overnight star.

Don't offer us legal protection

They use the law to commit crime.

I dread to think what the future will bring

When we're living in real gangster times.

Big Yellow Taxi

I just love the way the yellows outnumber the others

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

mellow yellow

For all those who can't (for whatever reason) make it to the BERSIH 2.0 rally on Saturday July 9th,
but STRONGLY SUPPORT the demands of the movement, my message is:


Decorate your home and compound - like you do for the big festivals - but use yellow ribbons, paper streamers etc. Tie a yellow ribbon to your car antenna, wear yellow clothes, put a yellow flower in your hair. Think YELLOW

The mainstream media is slavishly spinning the rally as an opposition tactic to try and overthrow the government. This is NONSENSE.

Bersih 2.0 is a CIVIL SOCIETY movement - that means you and me. The people are calling on the Election Commission to clean up the electoral process. That's all!
I'm sure that none of the people who have pledged to walk with Bersih would really want to be spending their Saturday in this way, but, and it's a big BUT, they have been left with no alternative.

The unfettered corruption during the recent Sarawak elections clearly shows that the Election Commission HAVE NOT, and ARE NOT willing to take onboard the people's complaints and demands.

Please make sure that the people you interact with, who rely on the mainstream media for their information, are made aware of the real reason why hundreds of thousands of peace-loving Malaysians from around the world will be giving up their Saturday.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yellow is the New Black






Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Power to Malaysia

Indian engineer honored for ‘waste-to-energy’ technology

By J.V. Lakshmana Rao from

Centre right: K.S. Sivaprasad who invented the waste to wealth technology. Centre left: Kamarul Zaman Abdul Kadir - the Malaysian entrepreneur who saw its potential.

Chicago: Planned, designed and executed on the patented technology developed by an Indian engineer, K.S. Sivaprasad, a “waste-to-energy” plant of Malaysia has won an international award given for top renewable energy plants in the world.

K.S. Sivaprasad was in Chicago and received the award during the annual conference of the power industry of America, “Electric Power,” at Rosemont Convention Center on May 9.

Speaking to India Tribune, Sivaprasad, who has done India proud, said that his plant was one of the six top renewable energy plants in the world selected for the award by Power, the leading magazine in the US, in the power sector. The other five plants were — a geothermal plant, a solar energy plant and a biomass plant in the US, and a wind energy plant and a biomass energy plant in Europe. “Ours is the only plant outside the developed Western world and also the only plant dealing with municipal waste,” he said.

He said his “waste-to-energy” plant, the technology of which was patented in India but erected in Malaysia was environmentally safe and met all the anti-pollution standards. The special feature of the plant was that it had built-in pollution abatement mechanism that would effectively control the pollution and stood in conformity with stringent international emission standards.

He said that the technology for the “waste-to-energy” plant was based on the usage of the municipal waste which was converted into clean burning fuel known as refuse derived fuel (RDF) for use in boilers for steam and power generation. It was developed by him and patented in India.

The construction of RDF power plant, he said, was taken up in Malaysia by a joint venture company — Core Competencies Sdn Bhd — with a capacity to handle 700 tons of municipal waste a day and generate 8 MW power. After meeting its consumption of 3 MW, the balance 5 MW was being supplied to the national grid. He now held the dual positions of director and technical advisor of Core Competencies Sdn Bhd.

He said commissioned in 2009, the Kajang waste-to-energy plant, which was located 13 miles from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, was perhaps the first of its kind to use municipal solid waste (MSW). It served the twin objectives of environmentally friendly disposal of municipal solid waste and generation of renewable power.

He said: “Everyday the municipal waste is processed and energy is generated without accumulation of the polluting waste, which is a source of public health hazard. The plant also helps freeing the urban land from being used as landfills.”

Explaining how the plant was being operated, he said: “The pre-processing of the municipal waste enables recovery of recyclable materials like metals, plastics, fiber materials, and separation of wet organic matter enabling the further digestion process to release methane-rich biogas for firing the boiler to enhance power generation, thus maximizing the extraction of energy from the waste.”

Claiming that the operating area of the plant was free from causing any kind of pollution, he said the municipal waste was brought by trucks, weighed, and placed in a pit. The pit was designed to hold more than day’s stock and the whole area was covered and sprayed with an enzyme to deodorize the air. The air around the pit was constantly evacuated allowing fresh air to come in. Mechanical cranes were being used to mix wastes coming from different areas to get a measure of uniform composition, and bulky materials were removed before feeding the waste to the plant. The wet organic materials separated from the wastes were also used for power generation, he added.

Sivaprasad said: “When the first oil crisis struck the world in the early seventies, the search for alternative sources of energy began all over the world. Municipal waste was identified as a source of energy by the US government and efforts began to convert waste into a clean burning fuel. I started working on this concept to translate it into a working energy producing unit by setting up a pilot-scale plant in Bangalore. On successful performance of this unit, I obtained patent for this technology.”

Asked why this technology was not used and taken advantage of in India where heaps of municipal wastes were being dumped everywhere in rural and urban areas, he said that he made an attempt. But official apathy, red-tape and other constraints came in the way of his effort to set up a plant. Meanwhile Malaysia showed interest and the plant had attracted the eye of the world.

He said that he was happy that global recognition for his Indian “waste-to-energy” technology came through Malaysia. The award was presented in a glittering ceremony held in E. Donaldson Convention Center in Rosemont. Shivaprasad, who is the director and technical adviser and Kamarul Zaman, president of the company, received the award.

Still very active and agile at the age of 80 years, Shivaprasad, is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Guindy Engineering College of Chennai. He worked as chief engineer of DCM group of companies and set up industrial units, including captive power plants in India, before he moved to Malaysia. He hails from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.