SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN PRACTICE
About Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. It address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030.
Malaysia is one of the countries that have committed to this goal and has taken the step to embrace SDG strategies through the introduction of the Green Technology Master Plan Malaysia (GTMP) in year 2017. GTMP plays a vital role towards achieving the extensive goals and indicators of SDGs namely Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation), Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy), Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities), Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production) and Goal 13 (climate action).
As the national sewerage company, Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) takes stride in the implementation of the GTMP that captures the aspirations of the SDG framework with the main focus on Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. According to the executive summary of Sustainable Development Goal 6 – Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation, wastewater is an undervalued source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable by-products. Recycling, reusing and recovering what is normally seen as waste can alleviate water stress and provide many social, economic and environmental benefits. The goals are clearly defined for us and together as partakers in this environment, the journey requires all our effort and collaboration.
Green Technology Masterplan Malaysia (GTMP)
GTMP is fundamentally an outcome of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) with the goal to strengthen the role of the green economy and green technology as a catalyst to drive Malaysia’s aspiration for sustainable growth. GTMP outlines the targets of respective six (6) key focus areas of green technology applications i.e. namely Energy, Manufacturing, Transportation, Building, Waste and Water which can potentially generate the most observable socioeconomic and environmental impact.
Under GTMP, Indah Water Konsortium Sdn. Bhd. (IWK) services and operational falls under Water Sector in which the set target by 2030, 100% sludge (biosolids) and 33% treated effluent to be recycled. IWK produced green by-products (i.e., biosolids, bioeffluent and biogas) by adopting the waste-to-wealth approach without compromised the environment while reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emission.
To meet with 100% sludge (biosolids) reused target, IWK promoted and supplied biosolids for land application for non-food crop to the Local Authorities (LA) and relevant industries in Malaysia. Apart from nutrient recovery, biosolids also can be converted to building material, clay, cement and etc. This initiative will not only reduce waste disposal in landfills but also reducing GHG emissions from company’s activities.
Through research, development and collaborations with other organizations, we also identified and promoted the treated wastewater (bioeffluent) reuse which discharged from our sewage treatment plants (STPs). Ultimately, it can be said that bioeffluent reuse can reduce stress or demand on raw water resources. With concerned efforts to promote green applications, it is anticipated the recycling rate will increase further.
We began utilizing the biogas produced from our sewage treatment plant (STP) as a source of renewable energy that generates electricity. Some of the STPs were equipped with solar panel to generate clean energy while incorporating green technology.
Apart from the primary targets to achieve on sludge (biosolids) and treated effluent recycle, IWK are also aiming in achieving the secondary targets which falls under energy, transportation, building, manufacturing and waste sector. IWK has responded to the national’s commitments towards green technology and has successfully established IWK’s Green Masterplan (IWK’s GMP) in year 2018.
The implementation of green practices in procurement processes, office and administration demonstrates IWK’s alignment of the Sustainable Development Goals into day-to-day operations, project development and decision-making. As for our customer, we encourage them to go paperless and register with IWK’s e-bill service and online payment. Apart from this, we create awareness and educate the public on the importance of taking care of our environment through the Friends of Rivers (FoR) programme. We work with local communities, universities students, local authorities and other organizations by organizing river cleaning and tree planting activities.
As for our main concern, we will always ensure that the wastewater being released into the river/drain is clean and complied with the stipulated standard by the Department of Environment (DOE). As a result, public can enjoy cleaner environment.
Going forward, we will further integrate the SDGs in our organizational operations. We are also looking for ways to increase positive impact via our operation and services. By focusing on our waste-to-wealth initiatives, we can reduce wastage of resources as renewed outcomes such as by-products, water reclamation plants and biodiesel can be used for various applications.
These resources can be reused as alternative sources for the nation’s water use and renewable energy. With higher adoption rates among the communities and through public-private partnerships, we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to green economy for the nation’s growth.