BY CHAN LI LEEN
PHOTOS BY RONNIE CHIN
IPOH was once known as the cleanest city in the country.Unfortunately, the city’s cleanliness level has not only deteriorated. It has literally gone to the dumps that people find it impossible to tolerate.
Construction worker Jumaimah Maon, who was waiting at the bus stop on Jalan Dato Lau Pak Khuan in Ipoh Garden, said it was disgusting having to wait there with so much rubbish around her.
Next to the 43-year-old was a concrete rubbish bin filled to the brim with bags of household waste, which some Ipoh folks had unscrupulously discarded. There were several other bags of trash on the ground nearby.
In the shallow drain behind her was a mount of used polystyrene containers and buntings.
Jumaimah, who is from Penang, said she noticed a serious lack of rubbish bins in public places in Ipoh.
Jumaimah’s observation is not entirely wrong as a check by The Star found that rubbish bins are almost non-existent in Ipoh.
Except for a few public parks and recreational areas, the Ipoh City Council has neglected to provide garbage bins at both housing and commercial areas.
The new rhythmic fountain in front of the Ipoh Railway Station has about a dozen rubbish bins whereas the D.R. Seenivasagam Park has about triple the number and even has recycling bins.
Although having fewer rubbish bins, the Ipoh Padang was a pristine sight with its carpet of freshly cut grass, free from litter.
At the other extreme, there was not a single council rubbish bin along the pedestrian walks in the city centre.
This included Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, and also Ipoh old town, which makes up the Ipoh Heritage Trail, a walking trail that the state government is trying to promote among tourists.
Questioning why there were so many rubbish bins at the fountain in front of the railway station but none in other parts of the city, housewife Bibi Abdullah, 63, said the council was indirectly encouraging people to litter.
“How else are people supposed to throw their rubbish if there aren’t any bins around?” she asked.
Shop assistant Selamat Abu, 45, said while the council should be providing more garbage bins, the public should also improve their attitude and mentality when it comes to cleanliness.
“Some people choose to throw litter on the ground even when there is a garbage bin or a plastic bag to throw their rubbish,” he said.
Concurring with him, stationery shopowner Sally Ng said young people should be taught not to litter.
“Their parents should remind them that their actions will one day affect them but, I constantly see parents doing nothing when their children throw trash out of their cars,” she said.
“Compared to 21 years ago when I first set up my business here, children of this generation are rude and arrogant but I still scold them when I see them littering.
“I think parents are not bringing up their children well. There was once a student who said that there will be no work for the council worker if he did not throw rubbish on the road.
“I have even put out a plastic bag in front of my shop for them to throw their rubbish but they choose to throw garbage around it or into the drain,” she said.
Ng also criticised council workers for doing a shoddy job.
“We had one worker who would only sweep the road and refused to clean up the rubbish on the drain covers.
“There was another who refused to clean up the rubbish strewn along the backlane after people scavenging for empty cans and plastic bottles had ripped open the plastic bags.
“The worker insisted that it was not her job to pick up waste not contained in plastic bags.
“The present worker assigned here comes only twice a week. I am not sure if that is his schedule or that he just conveniently disappears for the rest of the days,” she added.
Datuk Bandar Datuk Roshidi Hashim had previously revealed that many of the council’s rubbish bins had either been stolen or vandalised.