FREE permits were given to 25 non-governmental organisations (NGO) to carry out their activities of giving free food and drinks during the Thaipusam festival in Batu Caves tomorrow.
It is the first time ever that the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) had given out free permits to NGOs for Thaipusam, as the usual fee for each permit is RM500 per lot. The NGOs will be distributing the food until Wednesday. They started yesterday.
MPS president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain advised the NGOs to use recyclable and biodegradable materials such as brown paper, paper cups and paper bags instead of polystyrene lunch boxes or plastic bags for the food.
He said most of the garbage that MPS had to clear after Thaipusam consisted of polystyrene lunch boxes, plastic bags and plastic cups discarded everywhere.
“I hope they will gather up the rubbish and throw it in the designated areas.
“MPS will provide 300 garbage bins and 10 arm-roll bins at Batu Caves during this festival, for people to throw the rubbish and we hope the devotees and tourists will cooperate by not littering.
“When people litter, stray animals and monkeys get into the garbage and create an even bigger mess in the area.
“We want to keep Thaipusam green and clean as this will give encourage more tourists to visit our country,” he added.
Mohd Azizi said it cost about RM150,000 just to clear the rubbish and clean up after Thaipusam.
“MPS cleared 320 tonnes of rubbish at Batu Caves in one week over Thaipusam. Compare this to the average of 300 tonees collected from throughout Selayang constituency,” he said at the launch of the Clean and Green Thaipusam 2015 campaign held at MPS headquarters.
During the launch, the NGOs were briefed by MPS Licensing and Health departments.
Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong, who launched the campaign, said 2015 was Visit Selangor Year and to promote the Green Thaipusam campaign, the state government was providing 50,000 recycable plates and bowls made out of corn husk to Malaysian Hindu Sangam, one of the NGOs distributing free food at Batu Caves during Thaipusam.
“Another NGO, Sri Agathiar Sanmarka Gurukulam Malaysia will be distributing to devotees free vegetarian meals in banana leaves.
“Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation will also have volunteers at its booth under the MRR2 bridge collecting plastic bottles, cups and other recycable materials during the festival.
“We also encourage the public to bring their own reusable plates and tumblers,” she added.