THE task to keep the amenities and hiking trails of Penang Hill clean is proving to be a challenge due to littering and vandalism.
The hill authority, which already has a daunting job clearing fallen trees and branches, also has to clean up after hikers who litter the trails and road.
The workers also have to repair vandalised amenities and this is a costly problem to overcome.
Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) general manager L.L. Cheok said its team members were on standby round the clock to check for fallen trees, branches, electric poles and power cables as well as damaged water pipes, particularly after a storm.
Their job is made more difficult due to inconsiderate visitors.
Cheok said a sink in a newly built toilet along a trail was recently broken by vandals.
“We can’t comprehend why someone would do that.
“When we put a sticker on the toilet door informing the public that such facilities were for everyone’s benefit, it was torn off by someone,” he lamented.
As for littering, the usual items are water bottles, food wrappers and food waste.
“It’s easy to understand the havoc created by nature which is beyond our control but there are groups who just throw water bottles everywhere along the hiking trails.
“I personally told off a hiker who threw a food wrapper on the trail while I was walking behind him recently,” Cheok said.
He said PHC had workers who cleaned the surroundings every day but pointed out that it was tough to look into every area or corner for litter left behind by visitors.
He said PHC’s manpower was already stretched just for the routine daily upkeep of amenities without the added problem of having to handle littering and vandalism.
Cheok called for the co-operation of hikers and visitors for the good of all.
He said 1.6 million people visited the hill last year while 700,000 came in the first half of this year.
He added that the figure was expected to rise higher as the bulk of visitors usually came in the last quarter of the year.