NEA to license general waste-disposal facilities

Bags of unsorted rubbish are placed in a machine, which rips the bags open and drops the items within onto moving conveyor belts, at SembWaste’s Materials Recovery Facility in Tuas.
Bags of unsorted rubbish are placed in a machine, which rips the bags open and drops the items within onto moving conveyor belts, at SembWaste’s Materials Recovery Facility in Tuas. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - From next month (Aug 1), the National Environment Agency (NEA) will begin licensing general waste-disposal facilities.

This comes as the number of such facilities has steadily increased over the years, due to a rise in the volume of waste.

There are now more than 300 general waste-disposal facilities here. Such facilities receive, store, process or treat general waste.

In a statement on Tuesday (July 11), NEA said the licensing framework will "enhance the agency's existing regulatory regime to further safeguard public health and the environment".

Under this framework, facilities will be licensed to receive certain types of waste and will be required to show that they have the right equipment to process the waste.

They will also be required to have proper storage systems and comply with approved storage limits. These measures will help mitigate dust, vector and odour nuisance as well as any potential fire risks, NEA said.

NEA may inspect licensed facilities and require licensees to take corrective actions if operations at their facilities might affect public health or cause environmental problems. 

Licensees that contravene the licence conditions can be fined up to $10,000 under the Environmental Public Health (General Waste Disposal Facilities) Regulations.

These facilities are required to obtain planning approval from NEA before construction can begin, to ensure compatibility in land use and compliance with pollution control standards. Non-compliance with pollution control standards may result in action being taken under the Environmental Protection and Management Act.

NEA will accept applications for the licence from Aug 1. Owners and operators will have until July 31 next year to obtain their licence or submit a declaration if their facility falls within the exemption scope. 

Those who establish or operate a disposal facility without the necessary licence or exemption declaration approval can be fined up to $50,000 under the Environmental Public Health Act or jailed up to 12 months, or both.

More information on the licensing scheme can be found here http://www.nea.gov.sg/energy-waste/waste-management/general-waste-disposal-facility.

A list of licensed general waste-disposal facilities will be made available on the webpage later this year.