KUALA LUMPUR: Contract workers wade through the waters at the downstream of the Batu River to clear the trash trapped at the log boom clad only in shorts and boxers.
It does not seem possible that any aquatic life could survive in that murky water as the stench emanating would drive people away from the area instead of inviting them to jump in for a swim.
Rizal Shaari wore only a pair of boxers as he cleared the rubbish at the log boom before pushing it to the trash rake.
The 25-year-old contract worker said there was no need to wear clothes.
“With shirts on or not, the water will still touch our skin. We’ve never had any skin problem. Dirty or not, we’re already used to this and this job lets us put food on the table,” said Rizal who has been clearing rubbish from the trap for two years.
His boss, Mokhtar Imam Yaisin, 65, who has the contract to clear the rubbish, said none of his workers had complained of any rash or skin complications.
“The river is dirty, of course. People dump food waste, faeces and other substances but my workers are all right.
“They have gotten minor injuries at times, but only from moving tree branches and furniture that were also dumped into the rivers.
“Many people treat the river like a disposal site and this is very disappointing,” he said, adding that refrigerators and cupboards were common finds.
Mokhtar added that there were also a number items which looked like paraphernalia used by bomoh such as strange bottles and voodoo-looking dolls with sharp objects sticking out of them.
He claimed there were times when his workers opened such bottles, they would get an eerie feeling.
“At one time, smoke came out of the bottle and my worker almost fainted,” said Mokhtar.