KULAI: A single mother who runs a coffeeshop at the foot of Taman Eko Rimba Gunung Pulai 1 here hopes visitors will stop littering and protect the forest area.
Siti Azizah Sukimin, 58, who owns Warung Kaki Bukit Gunung Pulai 1, said her business was badly affected after the closure of the park due to several cases of leptospirosis found in the area.
“I have two sons who are disabled and this is my only source of income to take care of them.
“I urge visitors to be mindful of their environment and use the readily available rubbish bins all over the hiking path to dispose of their rubbish, ” she said, adding that cleanliness would help prevent diseases.
The park was ordered to close temporarily by the Health Department on Feb 12 to facilitate cleaning of the area.
Previously, in May 2017, the park was also closed for two weeks due to leptospirosis.
It was reported that rubbish strewn about in the area attracted rodents and their urine which contains the bacteria leptospira, had contaminated the water and soil in the area and infected visitors through open wounds and ingestion.The park is popular among hikers and those who enjoy swimming in the streams and waterfall in the highlands.
Retiree Tai Chee Kah, 60, who goes walking in the area regularly with his friend Ah Kim, 59, said the closure was an inconvenience to them.“We like coming here for our exercise, ” said Tai, adding that the park was a great place for hiking.
Technician Shukri Abdul Razak, 30, who has been servicing the broadcasting tower located at the peak of the mountain for about eight years said he has seen visitors who did not think twice about dirtying the area.
“Those who come for picnics at the waterfall are usually the ones who leave a mess behind, such as food and rubbish, ” he said.
Shukri said it was a recurring problem and that strict action must be taken to keep the place clean.
Johor education, health and human resources committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan said all must do their part to prevent such closures.
“Visitors and vendors in the area must make efforts to keep the area clean.
“For now, the health department can only order the park closed and issue summonses to those caught littering in the area, ” he said.