Stumped by sheer number of misplaced shoes

Abandoned shoes scattered at Batu Caves temple. — LOW BOON TAT/THE STAR

THOUSANDS of discarded footwear have become a hindrance for this year’s post-Thaipusam cleaning crew.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam honorary secretary C. Sethu Pathy said the temple faced an unusual problem this year after visitors left behind an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 kilogrammes of footwear.

Sethu Pathy said visitors and devotees who left their shoes at the temple’s entrance might have had trouble finding their footwear.

“We threw out a few thousand shoes and slippers on Sunday and will continue to do so along with other rubbish,” he said.

A check by StarMetro yesterday morning, a day after Thaipusam, showed that Batu Caves’ vicinity was relatively free of rubbish as cleaning works were underway.

However, areas outside the temple by the main road were surrounded by piles of rubbish comprising discarded plastic and polystyrene food and drinks packaging as well as food waste.

Sethu Pathy said the volume of rubbish was more than previous years due to an increase in visitors.

“We placed additional bins within the main complex and advised visitors to use them, but the rubbish problem is unavoidable.

“This is because of the high number of visitors and the difficulty of moving in and around the area so visitors tend to throw rubbish indiscriminately,” he said.

Sethu Pathy advised visitors to consider leaving their footwear in their car next time, instead of wearing them to the temple.

He said about 50 cleaners aided by some 100 volunteers were roped in for the clean-up efforts, which started as early as 10am on Sunday.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam trustee K. Kathirasan said 1,000 rubbish bins were purchased and placed at all corners of the site for this year’s celebration.

“Keep this place clean, help the environment and secure the reputation of the country,” he urged visitors and devotees.

Temple visitor Vikneswary Goby, who had attended last year’s Thaipusam celebration too, said the amount of rubbish this year had decreased comparatively.

Another devotee, A. Saraswathy said it was difficult to find the rubbish bins as they were not visible or were blocked by the crowd.

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