A LOOK at public drains in Penang shows that the local councils may still have their work cut out for them.
Several drains in the George Town heritage site checked on Tuesday showed that they were flowing with yellowed water, believed to be curry waste poured directly into the drains.
In Bayan Lepas, drains near eateries have bits of noodles and layers of grease.
Despite grease traps being a requisite for eateries to obtain their operating licences since 2009, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) secretary Yew Tung Seang acknowledged that certain outlets were still being stubborn.
“We will take action on them separately soon. Letting food waste fall into our drains directly leads to an explosion of the rat population and we have heavy penalties for that.
“As for toilets, MBPP has laid down a ruling this year that business premises must maintain a four-star cleanliness for their toilets before being allowed to renew their licences,” Yew said.
Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) president Rozali Mohamud said he had ordered the Licensing Department to come up with an action plan soonest possible to tackle restaurants and stall operators that did not know how to maintain grease traps.
“We found there were many who do not know how to maintain grease traps. They install them but leave them alone and the grease eventually flows into the drains.
“Communal grease traps are maintained by MPSP, but individual grease traps are maintained by the food outlets,” he said.
While chairing the 71st Meeting of the National Council for Local Governments in Putrajaya on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi called on local authorities nationwide to step up efforts to maintain public cleanliness.
He said dirty public toilets, rat infestations and foul-smelling drains should be a thing of the past.
These, he said, affected public health and needed to be addressed, not only through education and awareness programmes, but also through effective enforcement.