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Monday June 27, 2011

Only 10 out of 23,000 residents volunteer to clean up flats

ONLY some 10 residents of the Rifle Range flats took part in the annual cleanup of the low-cost flats in Air Itam which has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the dirtiest flats on Penang island.

The poor response did not surprise Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong Khan Lee who said the turnout of residents for cleanup campaigns was always low.

Small team: Volunteers picking the tools needed for the job

There are some 23,000 people residing in the nine blocks of 17 and 18-storey flats which were built 40 years ago.

Cleanliness has always been a major issue at the flats because of the apathetic attitude of flat dwellers.

Loh and a worker clearing rubbish in a drain

Many discard their rubbish from their units and the whole area is always littered with garbage.

Ong, who organised the campaign for the third year, said some 100 volunteers from several organisations gave a helping hand in the two-hour event from 9am yesterday.

“It is hard to change the attitude of flat dwellers towards cleanliness.

“But, we will continue to educate them and hope more residents will take part in future cleanup campaigns,” he said.

Rifle Range Community Development and Security Committee chairman Loh Eng Kim acknowledged that the response from residents towards cleanup campaigns was always poor.

Ong (in white) and some volunteers sweeping rubbish during the gotong-royong event held at the Rifle Range flats in Air Itam, Penang

“I hope more residents will realise the importance of keeping the place clean,” he said.

Among the residents who took part in the cleanup was retiree Lee Chun Eng, 51, who has been staying there for more than 20 years.

He was spotted collecting fallen leaves at Block F with his daughter Lee Ee Lin, 24.

“It is the residents’ responsibility to make sure that the environment they live in is always clean and tidy.

“ I will encourage my neighbours to join the next cleanup,” he said.

The volunteers were from the Penang Municipal Council, state Health Department, voluntary patrol units and the Sathya Sai Baba Centres in Penang.

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