Items of Consideration in the Design of a Malaysian Landfill

Items of Consideration in the Design of a Malaysian Landfill

Mohamad Razip Selamat (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia) and Hamidi Abdul Aziz (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9610-5.ch004
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Abstract

The rate of waste generation in Malaysia continues to rise and this trend has created a pressure on landfills to perform in terms of capacity and quality. This scenario is not unique to the country alone but probably shared by many in the developing world. On one hand newly designed projects are initiated while on the other the old ones are still operating as open dumps. As in most cases with municipalities, a new site is not readily available for the new initiative, thus the existing facility has to accommodate both the newly designed landfill and the existing dump. In most cases also, due to lack of space and economical reasons, the two facilities have to eventually connect with each other and form a single facility. Thus this chapter is not only about designing a new provision but also about amalgamating the new one with the old one. In the design, the new one would require items such as leachate collection and treatment facilities while the old one would necessitate proper cover and drainage.
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Introduction

Solid Waste in Malaysia

Municipal solid waste (MSW) has been defined as to include garbage, refuse, and any unwanted solid material arising from human activities. Disposal of MSW continues to be a major environmental challenge in developing countries including Malaysia.

The rate of waste generation in this country continues to rise each year mainly because of the general and domestic development. The increase has been in line with population and economic growth. In 1998, the yearly waste generated was 6 million tons (0.5-0.8 kg per capita per day). In 2005 however, it has increased to 7.43 million tons (Agamuthu, 2006). By the year 2020, the quantity of solid waste generation per year is expected to top 30 million tons (Manaf et al., 2009). Such a tremendous increase is primarily due to the rapid urbanization, increase in population, improvement of per capita income, and changes in consumption patterns (Umar 2009).

Food waste, categorized as organic waste is an important constituent of the solid waste for its unique degradation properties. It represents 32% of the waste composition in Malaysia (Ridhuan, 1995). Typically, an MSW sent to landfill is comprised of food, garden refuse, paper products, plastics, rubber, textiles, woods, and ashes.

Use of Landfills

A landfill allows disposal of large quantities of MSW at an economical cost. Thus MSW disposal by land-filling continues to be the most commonly used method worldwide. In Malaysia, MSW has been disposed off in landfills though some of these facilities have not been properly presented and were simply of open dump category.

The continued used of landfill disposal method is commonly due to convenience. For as long as the adverse environmental effects is tolerated, or mitigated, the use of landfills will eventually transform all waste into relatively inert and stabilized materials (Robinson & Maris, 1983; Williams, 2005). Basically, there are no combinations of waste management practices that do not require landfills. Even in incineration process, there will be waste eventually to be disposed off in a landfill.

The foremost challenge in running a landfill is in ensuring that all operating facilities are designed properly and are monitored not only during operation but also after closure.

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