@Green March/April 2022 | Page 16


@ green | March-April , 2022

A gathering of sustainability experts

WMSF 2022 serves as a platform to discuss sustainability and strategic waste management
Arina Kok
Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar
Dato ' Dr Nadzri Yahaya Nazar Abdul Raof Ramli Mohd Tahir Vignesh Nathan

MALAYSIA already produces tonnes of waste daily . Its growing population and unpredictable weather will only add more figures to the existing waste amount . These situations have made sustainable waste management to become more imperative than ever .

To discuss the various issues regarding the country ’ s waste management , CT Event Asia organised its 2nd annual Waste Management Sustainability Forum ( WMSF ) on Feb 22 , 2022 . The conference featured key participants from KDEB Waste Management ( KDEBWM ), Alam Flora Environmental Solutions ( AFES ), and Wilo Group .
@ Green spoke to some WSMF 2022 speakers and moderators to gain more insights on the event and their thoughts on sustainability .
Arina Kok , Partner , Climate Change and Sustainability Services ( CCaSS ), Ernst & Young Consulting Sdn Bhd ( EY ), said WSMF 2022 was encouraging as it brought together professional experts from waste and circular management , society , businesses , leaders and policymakers to come and discuss critical solutions and help drive advancements .
“ We definitely will see progress in terms of the outcomes when it comes to sustainability . So , for measuring emissions , resource consumption , and waste management , we hope that all these would advance to be enabled by digitalisation .
“ As well as what we ’ re seeing , Malaysia will now be a centre of excellence to drive solutions in this region ,” she said .
Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar , Chairman and Group CEO of the Petra Group , emphasised the importance of following up on the discussions made at the conference .
He said : “ Whatever we ’ ve learned here , whatever has been discussed here , there should be follow-through . Otherwise , it just becomes an event where people just talk and then it ’ s forgotten .”
Education as an essential tool in sustainability
Vignesh Nathan , Managing Director & Region Group Director SEA of Wilo Group , said WSMF 2022 was a good event that brought the industry , manufacturers and government agencies together to understand some of the challenges that the market is facing .
“ The issues are how do we manage waste , whether it ’ s solid or related to water , and how do we support the consumerbased market more effectively ,” he elaborated .
Wilo is a pump and pumping system manufacturer that has been in the industry for 150 years . It is committed to delivering high-efficient pumps which help reduce energy consumption in water treatment facilities .
When asked how companies could manage water more sustainably , Vignesh said : “ It ’ s essential that we all play an important role . Education is an important factor , and it must start from the ground level itself .
“ Our children need to understand contamination and pollution in the rivers , which is an important source of where we get our water supply .
“ At the same time , governments and agencies need to be clear in terms of policies . There shouldn ’ t be redundancies in the system .
“ Industries and manufacturers should also play an important role in making sure that the discussion of the products is taken in a much more sustainable manner so that it doesn ’ t end up in the waterways , affecting the environment and ecological issues that could come up later , down the line .”
Closing the gap in sustainability
Nazar Abdul Raof , AFES Chief Operating Officer , said the gap in Malaysia ’ s sustainability was huge . People need to close the gap by consistently doing small , good things in sustainability . He said these small actions could be consolidated and become bigger things one day .
“ We need to work together to convert this landfill business to a more sustainable landfill and bring more technologies into the business , like waste treatment ; food to gas , food to energy , plastic to fuel , or plastic to other by-products . We can create economies of scale ; we call it Waste 2 Wealth ( W2W ). We can create more entrepreneurs in this business .”
Ramli Mohd Tahir , KDEB Managing Director , believed that change was imminent , and there ’ s no way people would be stuck with the way they ’ ve lived for the past five to 10 years .
“ That ’ s why , gaining experience , looking at new technologies and what has been done by other developed countries , there would probably be big significant changes in the whole industry for the next five to 10 years .”
He said all critical components in the industry , including policymakers , local councils and taxpayers , must be in tune to ensure that all of them understand that there should be some changes in the industry . He said it was meaningless if the government had a good sustainability plan , but the stakeholders are not subscribing to it .
New issues in waste management
Dato ’ Dr Nadzri Yahaya , Chairman of the Association of Environmental Consultants and Companies ( AECCOM ), shared that the pandemic had created confusion amongst the public regarding plastic waste management for products such as masks and sanitisers . The conference served as a platform for these stakeholders to address this emerging issue .
“ During this pandemic era , some of the plastics cannot be recycled because it confuses people , whether it ’ s regular solid waste or biomedical waste . Last time it was easy , but now it ’ s mixed . So , it has to have some thoughts on new areas or approaches to handling it .”
When asked about Malaysia ’ s sustainability plan , Nadzri said : “ People think we address environmental issues per se , but we are addressing sustainable development , which involves the three pillars : environmental protection , social wellbeing and economic goods . In five years , we are on the right track if we ’ re looking at the 12th Malaysia Plan .”
He added that the only issue was how fast Malaysia could achieve its target as sustainability requires the people to change their mindset and work together with the government . — @ Green