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Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawak Environment, Sarawakian

Sibu to set up Sarawak’s first e-waste centre

SARAWAK will soon have its first e-waste centre in Sibu.

Well done to the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) for pioneering this effort! According to the Department of Environment, e-waste is defined as waste from the assembly of electrical or electronic appliances that consist of components such as accumulators, mercury-switches, glass from cathode-ray tubes and other activated glass or polychlorinated biphenyl-capacitors, or contaminated with cadmium, mercury, lead, nickel, chromium, copper, lithium, silver, manganese or polychlorinated biphenyl.

E-waste is a global problem with estimates of 20 to 50 million tonnes being generated globally each year!

While that may not sound very relevant to us in Sarawak, think about this. Cathode-ray tubes can be found in your old televisions and computer monitors. If you’ve upgraded your computer, what did you do with the huge monitor that you’ve replace with a slim LCD monitor? How about the obsolete printer that is gathering dust in a corner somewhere? At some point you’ll need to get rid of it to make room in the house.

How many mobile phones have you gone through? Did you trade in all of the old phones or are they in your drawer somewhere or worse did you dump it in the trash? How about old mobile phone batteries?

Heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium from e-waste can leach into water, soils and the atmosphere, posing significant environmental and human health risks.

So if your e-waste is not disposed of properly, it could end up in our rivers — both our sources of water as well as your favourite fishing or prawning spots! It could end up leaching into the ground where you plant your favourite fruit trees and vegetables. Your children could end up breathing in air contaminated by these heavy metals. Proper disposal of e-waste is absolutely vital.

Oh by the way did you know that some e-waste contains gold and silver? This can actually be big business for you entrepreneurs out there! You could earn a great income and save the earth at the same time! Something to consider.

Last June, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, then Minister of Public Health and Environment (he’s now Minister of Local Government and Community Development) said the Department of Environment has issued licenses for seven e-waste processing facilities in Sarawak including two full e-waste recovery centres in Mambong and Sibuti.

It is good to know that the State is taking proactive steps to ensure that e-waste generated by our insatiable appetite for new technology does not destroy our environment and in the long run ourselves.

A report from The Borneo Post:

Sarawak to have first e-waste centre in Sibu

SIBU: The state first ever e-waste collection centre will be set up here as efforts are now underway to locate a suitable piece of land for the project.

Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King in confirming this yesterday, said the joint project between the council and Computer Sales and Association Sarawak (CSSA) Sibu branch is set to take off next year.

“CSSA has proposed several places for the proposed centre, and having studied them we will only consider the most suitable place. Rest assured that the project will become a reality soon,” Tiong, who is also Lanang MP, told reporters after officiating at the Sarawak ICT Expo 2011 at Sibu Trade and Exhibition Centre here.

He, however, declined to reveal the site for the proposed project as the feasibility study had just been completed.

Organising chairman of ‘E-waste Recycling Campaign 2011’, Wong Ing Ang interjected, saying that the proposed site must not be located far away from the town.

“A place too far will defeat the purpose as people will find it a hassle to dump their unwanted PCs, printers, and so on. On the other hand, building the centre too close to the town might give rise to the problem of storage due to limited land,” Wong explained.

He pointed out that the idea was to set up a centre that would facilitate the public in dropping of their unwanted computers and ICT-related products.

Asked on the estimated cost of the project, Wong declined to comment as they are working out the details with SMC.

He, however, said they would be raising funds for the building construction.

“When the centre is set up it will be jointly managed by SMC and CSSA,” he said.

To this, Tiong added: “All will be revealed when things have been finalised in time to come.”

Councillor Wong Hie Ping disclosed the issues of e-waste management were items of discussion in their monthly public health meeting.

“We discuss this in every of our monthly public health meeting. There are several factors to be considered as the management of e-waste differs from that of other waste,” she said.

The public have repeatedly called for the setting up of an e-waste collection centre here to facilitate disposal of unwanted computers, printers, television sets, and so on.

During the campaign, Wong expects to collect about 400 units of computer monitors.

“I believe we will be able to collect between two and three tonnes of e-waste from this campaign. Later, a licensed collector will collect them and ship them to a factory. The amount collected will be donated to charities,” she said.

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