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Published: Saturday January 18, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday January 18, 2014 MYT 11:45:04 AM

Positive changes at Thaipusam festival

A volunteer from the Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation carrying a bag of recyclable items during the 2014 Thaipusam celebrations in Batu Caves.

A volunteer from the Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation carrying a bag of recyclable items during the 2014 Thaipusam celebrations in Batu Caves.

A TASK force was hard at work during this year’s Thaipusam to ensure the celebration was cleaner and greener, as promised.

Thaipusam Task Force coordinator G. Gunaraj said more than 110 non-governmental organisations as well as the Sri Mahamariamman Temple committee members were involved in the effort.

About 300 volunteers went on their rounds to ensure cleanliness was maintained and use of plastic and polystyrene foam packaging was minimised.

“Some of our volunteers are like walking billboards, promoting our cause and raising awareness among visitors.

“I truly believe that cleanliness is a form of godliness,” he said when met yesterday.

Gunaraj also commended the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) for its quick action in seizing the sale of vuvuzela, air horns as well as masks, which breach the guidelines stipulated for this year’s Thaipusam.

The situation seemed to have improved as a random survey showed only a handful of traders used polystyrene foam containers.

“We have identified these traders and will recommend they be blacklisted from taking part in future Thaipusam celebrations,” said Gunaraj.

Rubbish bins were a rare sight more so, a bin that was not overflowing such as the one above.
Rubbish bins not overflowing with waste such as this one, is a rare sight.

About 200 volunteers from the Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation were also spotted collecting rubbish for recycling.

P. Jeyaletchumi, 57, was also seen collecting tin cans and plastic bottles.

She has been doing this for 22 years and can make about RM50 a day.

“I collect up to eight bags and sell them for between RM6 and RM9 each at a recycling centre close to my house in Selayang,’’ she said.

The Batu Caves temple committee also allowed a private contractor to collect the estimated 40,000 broken coconut shells, used during prayers, for recycling.

“We also allocated RM30,000 to hire contractors to help collect rubbish on the temple grounds.

“The company has placed more than 200 rubbish bins at various locations,” said information chief B. Vivekanada.

It was a similar sight as heaps of rubbish were seen overflowing most rubbish bins placed all around the Batu Caves temple grounds.
Rubbish overflowing from one of the bins  placed all round the temple grounds.

However, most of the bins had not been emptied and were overflowing with rubbish.

Jaya Chandar, 43, a civil engineer who had been visiting the temple for over a decade, said there was no difference in cleanliness this year.

“I still feel it is as dirty as in previous years,’’ he said.

Tags / Keywords: Environment, Religion, Community, Central Region, Northern Region, Southern & Eastern Region, East Malaysia, Events, Government, Leadership, batu caves, rubbish, cleanliness, taskforce, tzu chi, recycle

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