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Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Role of religious communities in enhancing transition experiments: A localised strategy for sustainable solid waste management in Malaysia

Zeeda Fatimah MOHAMAD a,c,e Noorshahzila IDRIS a,
a Department of Science & Technology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Malaya, Malaysia
b Centre for Waste Management, Universiti Malaya
E Sustainability Science Cluster, Universiti Malaya
*Corresponding author.
Tel: +6 0379677164; Fax: +6 0379674196
Address: Department of Science & Technology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
E-mail address: (Zeeda F. M.)


3.3.3. Islamic community of Surau al-Husna

Surau Al-Husna is a small mosque that has been established for the residential community of Section 20, Shah Alam in the state of Selangor. The surau has been built to provide a place for the Muslim community in the neighbourhood to conduct prayers and other religious rituals, share religious knowledge and to gather for religious activities. Surau Al-Husna started its recycling programme since July 2005, and this has become a permanent feature in the surau ever since. The recycling program was initially proposed by one of its committee member, Mazlan Idrus who has a professional background in environmental management. Mazlan also act as the coordinator of the recycling programme -- where he leads the coordination of related activities, from setting up of recycling facilities and collection schedules, to recruiting volunteers. The recycling programme also enjoys strong support from the imam and other members of the surau committee.
Activities of Surau Al-Husna recycling programme take place in the compound of the surau. The recycling bins were provided by the local municipality, while recycling operation are organised by the mosque committee members. Residents from the nearby areas, both adherents and nonadherents, are encouraged to donate their recyclable items by sending them to a recycling point within the surau compound. Accepted recyclable items include paper, plastic containers, metal items, books and electronic devices. Since the public are not asked to separate their recyclable items, the surau committee periodically organises a “gotong-royong” (collective social activity) with the community to segregate recyclables from the mixed waste and to sell them in bulk to a recycling company. Usually the gotong-royong is conducted on the fourth Sunday of every month. Flyers, banners and word of mouth are used as a way to promote participation in the recycling activities. This has proven to be effective as the recycling programme has received encouraging community support, even from nearby neighbourhoods. The mosque has also improved its recycling operations in many ways. For one, the recycling committee no longer has to send the recyclables to the recyclers. As their relationship with their recyclers strengthened, the recyclers themselves have agreed to collect recyclable items directly from the surau, saving time and money for its management. In addition, Surau Al-Husna has also increased the amount of collection by expanding its recycling operations to a nearby all-purpose community hall. A recycling company has been given permission by the surau to coordinate this extended portion of the recycling programme,20 with some portion of the proceeds to be donated to the surau. Other than this, with the help of the local municipality and a local politician, Surau Al-Husna has also diversified its recycling activities through the collection of used cooking oil. A special store room has been built for this purpose and the collected oil is then transported and converted into biodiesel by a private company. The proceeds from all of the recycling activities are used for the surau renovation and
repair work and also to fund various religious activities.

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