UiTM Research Collaboration To Offer Ecological-Low-Cost Solution To Treat Organic Waste In Landfills

SHAH ALAM, 14 JULY 2022 – Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) have collaborated with industry research partners to develop a solution to treat organic waste in landfills. This environmentally-friendly and low-cost solution uses insects like the Black Soldier Fly to recycle organic waste in landfills, reuse old landfills and also treat wastewater.

The collaboration was revealed at the exchange of Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between UiTM and Berjaya Enviropark Sdn Bhd as well as Entomo Agroindustrial from Spain. UiTM was represented by its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Datuk Ts. Dr Hajah Roziah Mohd Janor, while Berjaya EnviroParks Sdn Bhd was represented by Senior Managing Director, Peter Wong and Entomo Agroindustrial was represented by its Director of Science, Juan Cortés. The event was held at UiTM Canseleri Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin today.

Lead researcher, Assoc. Prof. Dr Heo Chong Chin, and Research Fellow, Dr. Tania Ivorra  from UiTM Faculty of Medicine, secured a research grant under the Malaysia-Spain Innovation Program (MySIP) 2020 for their 2-year project entitled ‘Innovative, Ecological, and Low Cost Solutions for Organic Waste and Wastewater Treatment’. MySIP is an international matching grant for research projects by Malaysian public universities, funded by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and Center for Industrial Technology Development, Spain (CTDI).

This collaborative research uses black soldier flies (Hermetia Illucens) to recycle organic waste in landfills, and subsequently use the extracted chitosan from black soldier flies in sewage treatment plants. This research project is designed to achieve various goals in K-economy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Expected to commence in August 2022, through this project UiTM will conduct data analysis on organic waste segregation component undertaken by Berjaya EnviroPark. Entomo Agroindustrial (Spain) will design an automated cargo container suited to tropical conditions in the treatment of organic waste using black soldier flies. This device will be shipped all the way from Spain and placed at the Bukit Tagar Sanitary Landfill.

Solid waste generated in Malaysia is estimated to be 38,427 metric tonnes per day in 2021 with more than 80% ending up in landfills. This is expected to reach 14 million metric tonnes in 2022, equivalent to be filling the PETRONAS Twin Towers 52 times. Furthermore 50% of the solid waste generated are of organic origin which could be converted into better usage. A novel solution is urgently needed to recycle these organic wastes and one such bioconversion agent is insects.

Prof. Datuk Roziah expressed her hope that this innovative industry-academic project can improve current waste management operations of facilities to be more sustainable and ecologically friendly, as well as to improve waste management regulations in the country.