The issue of garbage disposal in Brunei Darussalam is a crucial one that needs to be addressed, controlled and monitored jointly by all stakeholders – including the public, government agencies, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – to ensure the Sultanate is clean, safe and healthy.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Haji Maswadi bin Haji Mohsin said this at the press conference on the Minor Offences Act by the Brunei Darussalam Hygiene Issues Steering Committee at the An-Naura Hall of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex yesterday.
“The issue of regular disposal of waste is important, especially in recent times, as plastic waste has become a major issue. The issue of unorganised, unsystematic disposal of waste can have a detrimental effect on the environment and public health, if not addressed properly,” he said.
The environmental impacts include the pollution of air, water and soil, as well as the release of odour. This may bring about infectious diseases by way of mosquito larvae breeding in reservoirs of garbage containers, spreading vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue. It can also become breeding grounds for mice that can spread leptospirosis, and breed flies that can cause typhoid, cholera, dysentery or diarrhoea.
Haji Maswadi shared that in support of efforts to improve hygiene levels, concerted efforts by the Hygiene Issues Steering Committee, the MoH as the Chairman of the Stakeholders’ Awareness and Stewardship Action Group coordinated five main initiatives, including – cleaning campaigns in public places, public awareness campaigns, Every Day Without Plastic Bags and waste collection conceptual design competition.
“Despite being hit by the second COVID-19 wave, activities are still being carried out in the Sultanate,” Haji Maswadi said.
Among the activities are cleaning campaigns carried out by government, private companies, and NGOs; public awareness campaigns via briefings and roadshows; Every Day Without Plastic Bags as a continuous initiative which will be expanded to tuck shops and stalls; and the plastic bottle free initiative implemented since 2018 in conjunction with the World Environmental Day 2018.
“These programmes and activities will continue to be implemented throughout the year,” he said, adding that the Hygiene Issues Steering Committee has lined up more cleaning campaigns that will involve public and private places.
The cleaning of villages, public awareness campaigns through video competitions and reminders put out through the mass media are but some of the activities to be implemented this year.
The MoH welcomes public participation in all the campaigns, to help maintain the beauty and cleanliness of the Sultanate, he said.
“I also welcome private companies, NGOs and associations to jointly conduct and support hygiene campaigns in the surrounding areas of business centres and public and leisure places. This includes the disposal of damaged cars left in public places, rubbish in drains causing stagnant water, and piles of rubbish that can become nesting areas for rats and mosquitoes,” he added.
Haji Maswadi said that with the amendment to the Minor Offences Act (Chapter 30), the names and photographs of individuals or companies caught indiscriminately dumping will be displayed in the media.