KUALA TERENGGANU: Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the term frontliners has been widely used but often confined to those working in the health sector or security forces.
More often than not, the many others in various key services, who have been working equally hard to serve and ensure the well-being of the people, have gone unnoticed.
Waste collectors for example, have been working tirelessly to ensure most residential areas remain clean and that the people will not have to suffer from foul and unpleasant smells emanating from their domestic waste.
Sharing his three-year experience working as a waste collector with the Kuala Terengganu City Council (MBKT), Mohd Syahir Mazlan said he was often ridiculed for dealing with garbage almost every day.
The 28-year-old said that he had also been scolded by some residents just because the garbage truck that he used was smelly and passed through their residential area.
“Let the people say what they want. It is not easy to find jobs nowadays and we can’t be too choosy. Not many people are willing to work as waste collectors, So, if I don’t do it, who will?” he said when met at the MBKT depot here.
Mohd Syahir, who was tasked to collect garbage around Manir area, said although the pay was not as good as in other industries, he was grateful for being able to earn an income and serve the community.
He said every year, the amount of waste disposed by the public doubled during the eve and early morning of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and that was the time when he and his colleagues worked extra hard so that people could enjoy their celebration in a clean environment.
“However, we foresee that the workload will not be as much this year following the enforcement of the conditional movement control order (MCO), ” he said.
For Mohd Asrol Mohd Aluwi, 36, littering remained the biggest problem that he had to face even after 13 years working in this line.
The garbage truck driver said it was difficult for his team to collect garbage when people did not dispose of them properly. It was especially difficult when it rained, he added.
“I don’t know why the public act this way when their garbage bin is still empty. Once I approached an uncle to tell him to dispose waste properly but he scolded me, saying that it was not his duty but mine, ” he said.
MBKT Environmental Health Department deputy director Suzaimi Mazlan said this Ramadan was quite different for its 500 cleaners and 150 waste collectors because no Ramadan bazaars and dining-out were allowed during the MCO period.
“Only 230 tonnes of waste was collected since the first day of Ramadan compared to 280 tonnes daily during the fasting month last year, ” he said.
During the MCO, waste collection declined in the city centre, but increased in residential areas and villages. — Bernama