Many who dump illegally lack environmental consciousness


Irresponsible behaviour: An illegal garbage pile waiting to be cleared by garbage collectors near Hala Bercham 6 in Taman Pakatan, Bercham. - filepic

IRRESPONSIBLE attitude and lack of proper disposal places are the main reasons why illegal dumpsites are becoming increasingly widespread in Ipoh.

Those interviewed by MetroPerak agreed that people only dispose of their garbage in a way that is convenient to them without thinking of the consequences.

Homemaker Betty Cheong, 50, said it all boils down to having a selfish attitude and a lack of environmental consciousness.

“This is especially applicable to those who simply throw their rubbish out of the car.

“I have seen people who drive with a packet drink in hand or a cigarette and when they are done with it, the trash goes out the window.

“It is convenient and simple, but it shows a blatant disregard to keeping the environment clean,” she told MetroPerak.

Once, when she was at a hospital, Cheong related that she saw children discarding trash on the floor in their mother’s presence.

“The mother did not care to reprimand her children for littering.

“As important as it is to educate children, perhaps the authorities should find a way to educate ignorant parents as well,” she said.

When asked if community service would be a more effective form of punishment than a fine, Cheong doubted its effectiveness.

“I think imposing a fine is still a better way, because people find it harder to part with money.

“What is more pressing is that the Ipoh City Council should come up with an efficient way to collect rubbish instead of waiting for residents to lodge complaints.

“The law on illegal dumping must be continuously enforced instead of taking action in the short-term with no follow-ups done,” she said.

Echoing Cheong’s sentiments was a lecturer who only wished to be known as Tan.

Tan, 47, said she finds people do not throw rubbish away properly because they are not conscientious.

“But at the same time, there is a lack of legal garbage dumpsites in residential areas and the city.

“For instance, if someone needed to throw away an old mattress, they do not know where to dispose it.

“So for convenience, they might just throw it at an unoccupied spot in a public place,” she said, adding that this would encourage others to follow suit.

Instead of being fixated on fines and punishment, Tan said the people should be educated so that they know the importance of caring for the environment.

“I believe banning the use of plastic and polystyrene containers should be enforced too because then, people would have fewer things to throw away.

“They would be carrying their own recyclable bags to shop for groceries everyday and carry food containers or tiffin carriers to take away food,” she said.

Shift manager A. Peter, 24, said there should be one legal dumping site in every residential area in the city.

“I find that people who dump their trash illegally do so because if they were to leave their trash outside of their house, they are afraid stray dogs would tear the rubbish bag open and cause a mess.

“If every residential area had at least one proper place for people to dispose of their trash, illegal dumping would not be a serious issue,” he said.

On his thoughts about having community service as punishment for litterbugs instead of fines, Peter said fines are still a better way.

“I do not think community service will be effective and I suggest that the amount of the fine be raised.

“Perhaps a minimum amount of RM1,000, along with increased enforcement and monitoring of areas prone to being an illegal dumpsite, would be better,” he said.

Lim Garden Residents’ Committee secretary K. Sagadevan also agreed to the increase in fines for litterbugs.

“RM500 is too little and people are just not afraid. I am for a higher fine, maybe about RM1,000.

“Hitting them where it hurts, which is the wallet, will deliver the message faster than any other method,” he said.

Sagadevan also said that most illegal dumpsites were created when these unscrupulous people dump their garbage under the cover of darkness.

“It is during the night when they are mostly active. They feel they would not be caught doing so at that time.

“The local authorities could send out their enforcement officers at night to catch these litterbugs,” he said.

“It is one way to deter people from dumping their garbage indiscriminately,” he added.

As for salesperson Chin Yung Jyi, 25, she thinks that it has become a habit for people to discard trash irresponsibly.

“People pick up habits from one another and if children see adults litter, they will follow in their footsteps thinking that it is not a big deal,” she said.

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