Implementation of “Zero Waste” towards a Greener Brunei
By Hisyaam Haris
It’s the year 2021 and we are still in the midst of a global pandemic which has essentially put a lot of peoples' lives to a halt, although however, this did not stop the earth from experiencing the ongoing effects from decades of climate change and global warming with around 416 natural disaster events taking place last year in 2020, as well as it being the second hottest year ever on record. This is in part, mostly due to our actions collectively as a species with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stating that “there is no longer any doubt that humans are warming the oceans, land and sea".
Climate Change & Global Warming in Brunei
Brunei is responsible for around 0.025 of greenhouse gas emissions, which at first glance may not seem like much, however, we have one of the highest per capita carbon footprints in our region with most of it coming from our power generation/ consumption.
Within Brunei, the continuing effects of climate change and global warming have caused us to experience a rise of 0.25°C in temperature and a 100mm increase in rainfall every decade which could potentially cause an increase in natural disasters such as more frequent flash flooding, fires, strong winds and landslides that in turn paired with the current degradation of our forests could cause a devastating impact to our wildlife biodiversity, increasing our exposure to various diseases in addition to potentially posing a threat to our national food security.
Climate Change & Global Warming Initiatives in Brunei
Although the previous statements may seem discouraging, there is still a silver lining to all of this. On a national scale there are ongoing initiatives to help tackle these problems such as the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which includes tackling topics such as climate change in addition to our Governments climate action pledge under the Paris Agreement which aims to reduce our carbon emissions by 20% in the next 10 years. There are also organizations such as “Green Brunei” whose aims are to promote environmental sustainability, as well as many larger restaurant/cafe and supermarket chains promoting against the use of single-use plastic products such as plastic bags and utensils.
Implementation of Zero Waste on Individual Scale
One way in which we all can partake in helping our environment is through adopting what is known as “Zero Waste”.
Zero Waste is the conservation of all resources which includes the production, consumption, reuse and recovery of products, packaging, and materials, without burning, and without discharges to land, water or air that can harm the environment and or human health. Zero Waste helps encourage the change of resource life cycles so that all products are reused rather than disposed of in landfills, incinerators or in oceans.
On an individual scale, the rise of the “Zero Waste Lifestyle” movement encourages people to reduce the amount in which they consume and consequently throw away, adopting this lifestyle is one of the most sustainable ways of living as it helps the environment in multiple ways such as reducing the amount of waste in landfills and to help reduce overall pollution.
Some examples to follow include:
●Buying locally produced products.
●Reducing what we buy/ consume such as food, in order to reduce the amount of food waste created.
●Using a product till the end of its life cycle, rather than throwing it away once it is no longer in use.
●Use of reusable utensils and products.
●Upcycling of products after their end of use, only recycling once all options are explored.
Waste Disposal in Brunei/ Implementation of Zero Waste on a Local Scale
Within Brunei, and many other countries around this region, one of the main problems which I believe pose a large threat to our environment is the improper disposal of waste. This problem is seen throughout Brunei with trash being littered usually on beaches or in our rivers causing pollution and potentially harming our wildlife and our overall health. Another very prominent example of the improper disposal of waste is through open burning, although not allowed, it is seen as an everyday routine for many in the community due to it being cemented in people's lifestyles. The improper/ wasteful disposal of products within many F&B businesses are also seen as a threat to the environment, an example of this can be seen in many of our local markets which rely mostly on single-use plastics due to their cheap prices as well as restaurants/ cafes which dispose of perfectly good food and/ or dispose of food incorrectly.