Integrate Municipal Services with Smart Technologies

The increasing solid waste generated by society, commerce, and industry poses a global environmental challenge, impacting health and daily life. In Penang, rapid economic development and population growth have led to rising waste volumes. Despite a significant portion of this waste being recyclable with proper separation, the current waste management system faces significant hurdles. Penang is divided into two regions: Seberang Perai on the mainland, managed by the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP), and the more densely populated Penang Island, overseen by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP). One of Penang’s major challenges is the management of solid waste.

In response, the Penang State Government has launched the “Cleaner Greener Penang” initiative to promote sustainable solid waste management. This initiative aims to restore the living environment, transform Penang into a clean and green city, and enhance the quality of life for its residents.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow emphasised enhancing solid waste management through digitalisation. Solid waste management practice is one of the crucial components in developing a sustainable city. Reflecting on his time as the state Local Government executive councillor, he highlighted the challenges in waste disposal. Chow believes advancing digital technology can significantly improve the system and benefit the community.

The concept of a circular economy offers a transformative approach to waste management, one that not only mitigates environmental impact but also unlocks economic opportunities. The state needs a reliable waste collection service with appropriate and sufficient vehicles to handle the growing waste volumes. Additionally, greater public involvement in policy development and waste management programs, including decisions on landfill sites, is crucial. Public participation is essential for the success and sustainability of new waste management strategies and services.

To realise the Penang 2030 vision of a Family-Focused, Green, and Smart State that inspires the nation, the Penang Green Agenda also recommends the Waste Industry Policy. This policy pushes for upstream waste reduction and downstream waste management for different types of waste, including plastics. Transitioning to a circular economy allows long-term resilience, generates economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.

By advancing digital technology and fostering public participation, Penang can enhance its waste management system, aligning with its vision for 2030. This strategic approach not only addresses current waste management challenges but also paves the way for a sustainable and economically vibrant future.

 1. _______. (2024). Going digital can help solve solid waste issue. May 1-15. Bulletin Mutiara.
2. See Footnote 1.