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Friday May 13, 2011

Alam Flora: We can do better with cooperation of the public

ALAM Flora can offer good services if it receives the cooperation from the public.

Its contractors face many obstacles while carrying out their daily tasks. This is not only time-consuming but also hinders them from doing a good job.

StarMetro was taken on a tour recently by Alam Flora operation senior supervisor Khairul Mizan, who is in charge of Pandan Indah in Ampang.

Automated: Road-sweeper truck driver, Anuar Idris, 44, showing how it works.

Khairul said there were two main areas of work — cleaning services and waste collection.

“Cleaning services are mainly confined to road-sweeping, grass-cutting and clearing drains. Most of the complaints are regarding uncollected waste and clogged drains.

“Our waste collection unit makes its rounds in residential areas on alternate days. But it is an everyday affair in commercial areas. These operations are done using compactors which only collect domestic waste.

“The indifferent attitude of the people is a never-ending problem faced by our waste collection contractors. They do not have proper bins so they leave the rubbish, tied in plastic bags, on the ground in front of their homes. This invites cats and dogs which scavenge for food scraps in the bags and leave a mess. Our men are forced to clean up the mess and this takes additional time,” he said.

Khairul added that many households also leave bulk waste such as old furniture and mattresses and expect the compactors to collect them.

Heavy duty: A jetter is used to flush the sludge which will be sucked by a vac-all at the other end.

“The bulk waste is collected using roro bins or tipper trucks which make their rounds according to schedule.

“That is why sometimes you see old furniture and tree branches left in a spot for days before being collected.

“Our compactors only load domestic waste. Loading bulk waste into our compactors may damage the machine,” he said.

The contractors, Khairul said, also faced problems cleaning drains.

“Illegal extensions especially those covering the drains in commercial areas are a norm.

“Shops and restaurants owners carry out renovations and in the process, cover the drains with cement and tiles.

“This makes it difficult for our men to clean the drain under the covered areas. Many restaurants also do not use grease traps and let all the sludge flow into the drain thus clogging them.

Big items: Alam Flora contractors also collect garden and bulk waste periodically.

“Manual cleaning is impossible and we have to use vac-all and jetter to flush out the waste in the drains. These are high-power machines and we have to notify the nearby shop owners to close or do the job during weekends as it emits a stench. This also delays the cleaning process.

“At least 70% of the drains in Ampang Jaya needs to be upgraded to cater to the current development.

“Our contractors have strict schedules to follow. They are also required to submit reports every morning to their supervisors on the jobs done the day before.

“If the jobs are not completed, we will discuss the issues during the morning meeting and set new deadlines,” he said, adding that occasional road closures and bad weather sometimes hinder operations.

As for supervision, Khairul said all trucks were installed with an Automated Vehicle Locating System which determined the geographical location of a vehicle and transmited the information to a data collection point.

Daily chore: Grass cutters gathering the leaves for collection.

“If a truck is idle for a stipulated period, the system will send an alert to the supervisor. We would then locate the vehicle and visit the site to investigate immediately.

“It is difficult for them to be idle without being caught.

“Supervisors also conduct random checks on sites every day, if we are not satisfied with the job. A notice of correction will be issued and a new deadline given. However, we still have a back-up team to cover.

“We are doing our best to do our job. Since we took over the waste management services in Ampang Jaya in 2007, there was a reduction in the number of complaints,” said Khairul.

So far, Alam Flora has 2,747 workers, 290 compactors, 17 road-sweeper trucks, 18 jetters and 12 vac-alls.

They are operating in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Pahang, serving 8.7 million people, handling a total of 2.1 million tonnes of waste annually.

The public can contact Alam Flora via 1800-88-0880, email feedback@alamflora.com.my or sms ALAM <space> message <send to 33310>.

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