Not in my backyard


I thought I will spend a bit of time on the rubbish dump problem that everyone is talking about nowadays. Sungai Akar Dump is interesting - not rubbish dump interesting but it makes a classic administrative failure case study.

The history of rubbish dumps in Brunei has always been where the municipal waste goes to. Once Brunei starts urbanising, that is when rubbish starts being created. Most of us who lived in the non city centre in the earlier days learnt how to deal with our rubbish earlier on which is mostly burning them. But in the municipal area, there are trucks and rubbish collectors who do the rubbish throwing for the residents. In the very early days, rubbish was dumped at Pusar Ulak being the first rubbish dump in Brunei. As Bandar grows bigger and encroached to Pusar Ulak, it was Batu 2 at Jalan Tutong where the second rubbish dump was created.

But even Batu 2 gets encroached by the enlarging Brunei Town, the third dump site was near where the City Hall is at the moment at Kumbang Pasang. Even that was found unsuitable before rubbish was dumped at Jalan Menteri Besar, next to where Ministry of Health is. Yup, that huge forest next to MOH was a former rubbish dump site. The forest has been thinned up now and there is a park built by the Environment Department on it. For a time before government agencies started to be built in the area, Jalan Menteri Besar was for a time known as Jalan Sampah. By the early 80s, that started to be too full and search went on for the fifth dump site.

And that's when Sungai Akar started. Sungai Akar was supposed to have closed down by the end of the 1990s and something to replace it. Sungai Akar was essentially a municipal dump site but by then, rubbish collectors sensing a business opportunity offered their services not just to rubbish inside the municipal area but also to the growing number of households outside it. More and more rubbish was collected and more and more are dumped into Sungai Akar. Everyone expects BSB Municipal Department to find a solution. But it is not their fault too. Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department does not have the ability and by 2004, the newly created Environment, Parks and Recreation Department under the Ministry of Development was asked to take over.

It was only then studies are conducted and by this year under the new five year Development Plan, was the money available to do something about Sungai Akar. Finding a new dump site is not easy - it suffers from the NIMBY effect. Not in my backyard. Alternatives - incinerators etc. But ashes from incinerators need to be kept properly too and not to mention the gases it produces. There are other bio alternatives too. These also suffered from NIMBY effects and other side effects too. What is also important is to get everyone to save and to push the idea of recycling and reusing so that there will be less sampah by every citizen of this country.

Comments

Mohammad said…
Great personal move on your part, BRo, to look at the stinking waste management problem from all angles.

NIMBY effect or not, through your blog you have brought this foul issue to the fore. It now needs to be solved head-on and dusted away in one clean sweep! The ripple effect would be unimaginable, I tell you, that even the Brunei River would be gotten rid of its floating rubbish dump, too. I must also add that to teach old dogs to learn new tricks (in a manner of speaking) can be an uphill task...

The implementation of 3R's (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle) environmental plan concept will not be as easy as ABC. The Kampong Ayer mentality has been ingrained in our people for centuries since earlier days. Hence, rubbish throwing out of house or car windows are common old habits, die hard kind of behaviour amongst most Bruneians.:( The younger generation, though, are much more appreciative of it!
Shenun said…
agreed. tho 3Rs are emphasized/implemented in education.. people even still cannot get into the culture. they are not able to see the global impact anyway so its like *who cares* hhmm.. susah yah... feed them with knowledge is one thing, not teaching them is also another thing.. *yikes* hopeless
ARB said…
As a product of a Kampong Ayer family (though I grew up on dry land), I find the kampong ayer mentality generalization a little offensive. This idea of kampong ayer people being rubbish throwing, unhygienic breed of people that it has been deeply embedded in the people is a notion to which I beg to differ. The problem is multi faceted. My intellectual capacity is quite challenged and limited but we have people like BR who is no novice to public policy analysis and studies. We can read from his writings and as you yourself pointed out there is a need for the government to intervene in ways such as in the placing of a 3R policy. Long long overdue.
Mohammad said…
magMy most sincere apologies, young brother arb, for my labeling of the "Kampong Aying" mentality thingy! You see, bro, admittedly I am one of those culprits (having spent my early childhood years growing up in the water village - no pun intended, I had even experienced answering calls of nature underwater then - terribly sorry again for my offensive general description of Kampong Ayer lifestyle of old days gone by:). Personally, I am most ashamed of 'happy-go-lucky garbage dumping' into the Brunei River during those good old days but like you, arb, I am damn proud of my Kampong Ayer roots...

I am a disgusting commenter in BRo's highly respectable blog, I know. But If I may add one last point: To copy-cat the Japanese mentality when it comes to a much more environmental-friendly and systematic segregation of rubbish bins for different products or wastage according to their bio-degradable reducibility; reusability and re-cyclability e.g plastics to be separated from paper-waste, etc. would most definitely be a great start to a more civilised culture of dumping.
Shenun said…
hehe.. calm down people.. me myself grew up in Kg Ayer til i was 10 yrs old.. tho i rooted at Kg Wasan/Pengkalan Batu area.. its not really about Kg Ayer..its all about PEOPLE IN GENERAL i guess.. who ever it is in Kg Ayer.. even me [sometimes when i visited my grandmother] i myself cannot resist throwing as little as ONE sampah on it.. hhmmm like WHEREELSE *though i am always guilty for my misconduct* hmmm
Mohammad said…
Aha, GOTCHA!(heheheh:) shenun, shenun... if you had been in the FINE City of Singapore (where our disciplined Tuan arb now is doing some strategic policy management post-graduate studies maybe), you would have to pay very, very dearly for your misconduct, you know;)

Which leads us to another issue in relation to waste disposal costs that His Majesty's Government has to bear. In order for the waste management companies contracted by the few agencies like the District Office; the Municipal boards or the JASTRE (short for Environmental Department) to be paid handsomely, should the Brunei population or consumers be taxed for disposals of their rubbish? (I hope not!) That brings us to another question, should fines be imposed for not practising the 3Rs approach to proper disposal of their waste? (Enforcement could be a tricky thing to impose!) Or should we just simply go back to basics i.e. it is the full responsibility of the Brunei government to solely shoulder all costs of garbage dumping matters including rubbish collection from all homes?

Logically, it should be the responsibility of each and everyone of us, I know.
Shenun said…
hahaha "i know".... but skali skala sja *wink-wink* YES ORANG BRUNEI TAU SANANG SJA *soory for the labelling but its true* anything new on procedures ka, imposed this and that.. sudah tia sebrunei KOMPLEN! cmana th kn MAJU.. PEOPLE DONT WANT TO ACCEPT CHANGE [are they not-well educated to see the consequences?] any things happen/done aimed for changes and of course changes meant for GOOD. its all ABOUT THE FUTURE CONSEQUENCES WE R TALKING ABOUT N TO SAVE THEM. just like how people dont see n understand Global Warming. "Think Out Of The Box" and see 'broader view'.
ARB said…
Sorry that I sounded defensive or abrasive in my comment about kg aying mentality. I hope no big damage caused. Things are not much better here, mentality-wise, especially if you go deeper into their heartlands or if you encounter them Singaporeans traveling abroad. I have their misbehaviors listed as a draft in my blog but I don't dare posting just yet. As they say here, 'you could get arrested for anything you do under the sun' and besides, they are also my regular readers. One big advantage here is that people are creative in forming their policies. For us, we think a 'master key' approach is the best, where one tool(e.g subsidies and grants) is the mother of all solutions. call me skeptic...

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