GEORGE TOWN: Along with the return of tourists to Penang is the trash they leave behind.
The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) raked in 1,591 tonnes of rubbish from the streets between Friday and Sunday alone, equal to 318,200 five-kilo bags of rice.
MBPP Urban Services Department director Xavier Sebastian said among the litter hotspots were: along Gurney Drive, Persiaran Bayan Indah, beneath the second Penang Bridge and Teluk Bayu in Teluk Kumbar.
The trash ranged from food containers and plastic bottles to paper, plastic bags and even unfinished meals.
“We filled 265 garbage dumpsters with their litter.
“Their rubbish is just lying around the tourist spots, on benches or on the ground.
“The visitors did not throw them into the bins provided despite us increasing the number of bins,” he lamented.
Xavier said fortunately, the council had anticipated this lack of civicmindedness, and increased the frequency of cleaning.
The council had also extended the workers’ hours.
The frequency of cleaning was doubled in most locations and more so at some spots such as the beaches and the Esplanade.
“We also scheduled ‘pickers’ to walk along certain locations three times a day, at 7am, 5pm and 8pm,” he said.
The council even increased the frequency of clearing the rubbish bins at some spots up to four times a day.
“At each location, field officers monitored the situation every two hours to decide whether extra cleaning measures were needed,” Xavier said.
“If the bins were full, the officers would call the workers to immediately clear them,” he added.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow was spotted visiting Persiaran Bayan Indah – a pedestrian promenade with a panoramic view of Pulau Jerejak across the sea – on Saturday morning to view the cleaning.
Xavier said that while the council welcomes visitors to the island, he hoped that everyone would cooperate to keep the places clean.
“We urge visitors to cooperate with us. Please do not litter. We have workers working from early in the morning until late at night to clear rubbish but they cannot keep cleaning up after everyone,” he said.
He said 15 more rubbish bins had been added along Karpal Singh Drive, the Esplanade, Persiaran Bayan Indah and Gurney Drive.
“Please use the bins and make sure that wherever you visit, no trash is left behind,” he said.