GEORGE TOWN: Single-use plastics and paper cups were still the mainstay as about 200 thaneer panthal (refreshments) stalls dished out free food and drinks to devotees and tourists.
But one stall stood out for keeping its waste down to a minimum.Using 20 steel cups, students of Universiti Sains Malaysia ran a stall giving away free drinks in cups thoroughly washed after each use.
“We haven’t lost a single cup. Everyone who came to our stall would return the cups after drinking, ” said student S. Praveen yesterday.
He said the university wanted a green stall as every year, tonnes of waste were generated from the celebrations.
At their stall, the students also offered free meals sit-down style, where all the steel plates provided were washed and reused.
“We are happy that we are not creating much waste in our stall, ” Praveen said, adding that a large number of his university mates turned up to volunteer with the washing.
Throngs of devotees walked from Jalan Utama and Jalan Kebun Bunga to fulfil their vows or penances at the Arulmigu Sree Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple or from Lorong Kulit to Nattukotai Chettiar Temple in George Town.
Some carried pots of milk atop their heads, while others carried kavadis weighing up to 35kg.
A few others were seen with tens or even hundreds of spears and hooks impaled or skewered into their bodies as they walked along the 4km route.
Penang’s signature golden and silver chariots will make their return journeys to their temples in the heritage enclave this evening.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk T. Narenasagaran praised devotees and others at the festival because since it began, the police had not received a single report of any untoward incident.
“We have 1,500 personnel keeping the peace. Everything is going on peacefully, ” said Comm Narenasagaran, who went for a walkabout along Jalan Utama and visited thaneer panthal stalls while giving away refreshments and brochures on community policing and public safety to passers-by.
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