An inside look: Managing the city’s waste
YOUTH GREEN X-CHANGE: YOUTH IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The job of keeping a city clean is the responsibility shared by all who live in it. The community, city administrators and appointed service providers each play a distinct but important role in creating a clean living space for the benefit of all.
In Kuching City, waste collection service is carried out by the Logistics and Services Division of Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn. Bhd.
A typical day at Trienekens’ Head Office and Depot at Sg. Tapang, Kuching generally starts as early as 2am as the collection services or compactor teams arrive to clock-in before they proceed with their collection rounds.
Others may start at a different time as the Division has three different work shifts for its compactor teams. In total, it has about 160 drivers and loaders who are grouped into several teams, assigned to certain areas with planned schedules and routes. Led by the driver, the team carries out the routine procedure of inspecting their truck before they leave the depot.
“The main objective of the day is to complete the collection rounds as timely and efficiently as possible,” explained Trienekens’ Senior Manager for Logistics and Services, Sarius Lee. “To do so, the truck must in be in good condition and all its equipment in working order. If the team encounters any problem with their truck or system, a report is sent out to the maintenance team for immediate remedial actions.”
The company currently services three main areas under the jurisdiction of the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU), Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) based on a two-times per week collection frequency for households. The frequency for commercial areas particularly wet markets and highly populated business addresses is higher as the volume of waste generated is more; ranging from twice a week to daily collection.
“Our teams do encounter some challenges while carrying out their work,” said Lee. “Common problems include traffic obstruction or limited accessibility. If a road is blocked by irresponsible parking of other vehicles, our truck will not be able to access and service the area on time. Other than that, problems such as improper use or lost bins, indiscriminate disposal, spillage or residents forgetting to wheel out their bins come up occasionally but we are able to resolve them through discussions with the councils or residents,” he elaborated.
Lee added that the most challenging periods are during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year or Hari Raya. A normal day records an average of about 400-500 tonnes of municipal waste a day but during festive periods, the figure can increase up to 50 percent. Prior to such major events, Lee and his team of supervisors optimise a pre-festive planning and strategy jointly with the councils to ensure that all areas are serviced effectively which includes extending the collection time and providing extra bins at “hot spot” areas for the convenience of the public.
Upon completion of their daily collection rounds, all trucks must be washed before the teams return to the depot. This is done after the wastes are unloaded at the sanitary landfill at the Kuching Integrated Waste Management Park (KIWMP), Mambong.
Every year, the company recognises the teams’ hard work and commitment by presenting the deserving staff with work and safety excellence awards and incentives.
“I’m proud to say that our compactor teams comprise of some of the best, hardworking and dedicated staff. Rain or shine, they do their level best to keep the city clean despite the challenges, or shortcomings and negative perceptions associated with this line of work,” said Lee.
“With cooperation from the public, we strive to be a proactive member of the community ensuring our city remains clean and healthy,” Lee concluded.
The Youth Green X-Change is a programme by Natural Resources and Environment Board Sarawak, Angkatan Zaman Mansang Sarawak, World Wide Fund for Nature (Malaysia), Department of Environment Sarawak, Teacher’s Education Institute- Batu Lintang Campus, Trienekens ( Sarawak) Sdn. Bhd.