MEMBERS of the public have lauded the Ipoh City Council’s move to deploy plainclothes enforcement officers to go after those dumping rubbish.
Many felt that the move could deter irresponsible individuals from discarding garbage indiscriminately, which could cause health and cleanliness issues.
Ipoh City Watch (ICW) president Prof Dr Richard Ng said he hoped the city council would continue with the move and that it was not just a one-off effort.
“They must continue to monitor other places in Ipoh where illegal dumping is rampant especially near eateries.
“Enforcement must also be stepped up and litterbugs caught must be given heftier fine,” he told StarMetro.
It was reported that plainclothes city council enforcement officers caught seven people this month and even tracked them back to their respective shops in Ipoh Garden South before issuing some RM950 worth of compound for not having proper garbage bins.
Ng said many businesses still did not have their own garbage bins nor take cleanliness seriously.
“As such, they dump garbage indiscriminately.
“Gone are the days when cleanliness is the responsibility of the local council,” he said.
“We must discard such mentality and make cleanliness as our responsibility together,” he added.
Ng said Ipoh, which was famous for its variety of food, needed to be kept clean as it would definitely attract more tourists and improve their businesses.
“Those that do not have garbage bins and do not practise garbage separation should not be even rated a B Grade in terms of cleanliness.
“The rating given by the city council will be a mockery if it does not include the criteria of garbage disposal and having sludge trap,” he said.
“In fact, businesses caught not properly disposing their garbage should have their licence suspended or invoked and compound issued. Repeat offenders should be dragged to court and shame them as a deterrent,” he added.
Ng said the act of providing a garbage bin for proper disposal of waste should not be used as an excuse that their operating cost would increase.
“They should look at cleanliness as a factor that can help boost their businesses,” he said, adding that cleanliness should be a made a key performance indicator to all local councillors, civil societies and enforcement officers.
“City council workers must also be given fixed schedule each week at each location to discard all garbage dumped illegally while the city council should also provide enough bins at strategic places,” he said.
“Fines collected could be able to buy more bins for the people and at the same time prevent littering,” he added.
He also said that ICW would continue to highlight issues pertaining to the cleanliness and proper disposal of garbage.
“We will also hold talks and campaigns in schools and communities to educate the public to practise recycling and help reduce garbage ending up at landfills,” he added.
Retiree R. Sivamurthy, 63, said as a resident who lives in Canning Garden, it was upsetting to see rubbish piled up everywhere while the large bins provided were overflowing with trash.
“There’s a convenience store and a food court here, so naturally there would be a lot more trash.
“I don’t deny that the Ipoh City Council is doing their job, they do come and clear away the trash according to schedule, but the problem lies within the people who toss their trash here indiscriminately,” he said.
Sivamurthy said it was important for the community to cooperate with the local authorities in resolving rubbish problems.
“It is good that the city council has enforcement officers in plain clothes to do the monitoring, but how many times are they going to issue summons to these litterbugs for them to learn their lesson?” he said, adding that more civic awareness was needed.
Technician Saiful Saiya, 38, said the lack of civic-mindedness among the public was disappointing.
“It is as if the people do not really know how to discard of their trash responsibly.
“Even when a bin is overflowing, they still let rubbish accumulate until they fall all over the ground,” he said.
Saiful said he had seen council officers clearing up trash in his res idential area, and even if they were late, it could probably be due to technical problems.
“Apart from council’s effort, I think we must all help each other and be more responsible in keeping our city and homes clean,” he said.
A businessman, who only wanted to be known as Alan, 47, said he hoped that the city council would also have its enforcement officers conduct random checks at night.
“While I laud the effort, I think the city council needs to have people on motorcycles going around commercial areas, housing estates and villages to check near the illegal dumpsites during the night.
“These litterbugs think that they can get away because enforcement officers are not known to work at night,” he said.
Alan also believed in educating the young generation to not litter.
“They are our future and should be taught on how to look after this planet. They should start young,” he said.