Rubbish strewn by the side of the road in Ipoh Garden.
MOST coffee shop patrons in Ipoh would have most likely experienced the pong of dirty drains while making their way into the eateries.
If the stench was not bad enough, they would still have to contend with the ugly sight of food waste and rubbish stuck in the drains.
Housewife Siti Salbiah Rashid, 54, said having to experience any one of the two would be enough to spoil her appetite.
“Unfortunately, this is the reality at most areas with a high concentration of eateries.
“I can never understand how people can eat along the five-foot-way next to a smelly, dirty drain,” she said.
Foreman K. Geva, 36, said it was common to see hawkers throwing leftovers and cooking waste, such as soup and hot water used for cooking noodles, into the drain.
“Not only does it stink, the drains get clogged and mosquitoes breed there as well,” he said.
Dr Chan Tai Peng from Ipoh Garden said to compound the problem, the Ipoh City Council workers have not been cleaning the drains in the area.
“They used to come on alternate days but I’ve not seen them for weeks now,” said the general practitioner whose clinic is within walking distance to two food courts and a string of coffee shops.
His neighbour, bicycle shop owner Chris Chan agreed that the council workers would only appear whenever complaints had been made against them.
“If ever we want rubbish cleared and drains cleaned, we have to call the council.
“It is the same each time, which shouldn’t be the case at all,” she said.
Chris, 33, said the only way to get rid of food waste properly was for eateries to install grease traps.
“It is impossible to place hot soup or oil into plastic bags to be discarded.
“And so, hawkers and coffee shop owners must be willing to part with a bit of money to install grease traps at their premises.
“I do know that grease traps are quite expensive but it is not as if they can only be used once. These contraptions can be used for years,” she said.
According to her, there were no stinky and dirty drain problems in Singapore as it was mandatory for eateries to install grease traps.
“I understand that in Penang, grease traps are also being used and the filtered grease is sold to be processed as diesel,” she said.
Store assistant Fahhitah Mat Akhir, 21, suggested that all drains be covered.
“Many drains in areas around Ipoh are not covered and it makes it all the more convenient for food sellers to throw everything into drains.
“I think the council should upgrade our drainage system to that of a closed drainage system,” she said.