Less rubbish after Thaipusam this year

THE total rubbish collection during Thaipusam in Batu Caves has been reduced to half this year, thanks to public awareness messages and fewer visitors.

Last year, the rubbish collection was 200 tonnes. This year, as of Feb 10, it was only 59 tonnes.

Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) corporate deputy director Ahmad Fauzi Ishak said about one million people attended the celebration at Batu Caves compared to about 1.5 million in previous years.

“Non-governmental organisations also did their part cleaning up their booths after the celebration. Previously, it was not a must to clean up booths.

“The public is also more aware about not throwing rubbish, thanks to the many cleanliness campaigns organised.

“Also it seems that the Selangor state directive to ban use of polystyrene food containers played a role,” he said, adding that the ban resulted in hawkers and the public using biodegradable products.

“Another contributing factor is that only 222 lots were taken up by hawkers compared to about 600 lots last year,’’ said Ahmad Fauzi at the MPS building in Bandar Baru Selayang.

He estimated the cost of clearing rubbish this year using the roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) bins and rubbish trucks to be around RM132,000 compared to RM136,00 last year.

Ahmad Fauzi also pointed out that the reduced number of visitors led to less solid waste being disposed.

“Some devotees brought pre-packed food from home – an action that greatly reduced the amount of solid waste discarded after Thaipusam,’’ he said.

Thaipusam Task Force (TTF) co-founder Gunarajah R. George said the reduction in garbage collection was a very positive sign.

“We told the NGOs to clean up their area after they were done distributing or selling their items. We are very pleased with the results when our task force did the rounds to check the booths,’’ he said.

MPS started cleaning on Feb 6 and it will end today.