A THANEER panthal (refreshment stall) operator hopes that more operators would start using stainless steel plates and cups to serve vegetarian meals and drinks for devotees during the Thaipusam festival.
R. Muniandy said for the past six years, the thaneer panthal of which he is the advisor, had been serving devotees food and drinks in stainless steel plates and cups.
“We implemented the idea because it is cost-effective and environmental-friendly. We also started doing this after seeing all the food wastage during the festival.
“It is cost-effective because we can reuse the plates and cups year after year and not worry about spending our funds to buy polystyrene containers, paper cups and plates or banana leaves each year.
“More importantly, we also don’t need to throw away the plates and cups, like the other materials, which contribute to littering and more garbage.
“Most of the time, we can see used paper cups and plates strewn along the road and at the panthals after the festival is over,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Muniandy said there were 500 stainless steel plates and 600 cups at the refreshment stall.
He added that the stall has separate teams to serve the food, and wash the plates and cups.
Muniandy said the thaneer panthal serves up to 2,000 people on the eve of Thaipusam and on Thaipusam night.
“We can serve up to 200 people at one time and we discourage takeaway as the food may be thrown away,” he added.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) advised devotees to break lesser coconuts during the celebration.
Its education officer N. V. Subbarow said devotees have been misinformed about the reasons behind the coconut-breaking practice.
“They assume that the more coconuts they break, more luck is showered upon them, which is untrue.
“Breaking one coconut with full of devotion is equal to breaking many,” he said, adding that the broken coconuts would only end up in the landfill.
Anba Coconut Trading Sdn Bhd’s owner P. Sarasvathy said they would be supplying about 100,000 coconuts for Thaipusam this year.