Still plagued by lethal litter habit (Poll Inside)

Filthy practice: A DBKL cleaner walking on metal netting at Seri Pantai PPR in Kuala Lumpur to clean up rubbish thrown by upper floor residents. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Last Thursday, a video of a man throwing a whiskey bottle from a high-rise condominium unit onto a busy stretch of road here went viral on social media, and people reacted with fury at his irresponsible act.

The man and six other people were later arrested, with two being remanded for investigations.

The video highlighted the problem of littering from high-rise residential buildings and the callousness that perpetuates this dangerous habit.

ALSO READ : ‘Home alone’ senior citizens among offenders

Residents of the Putra Ria apartment complex in Bangsar here fear for their safety as rubbish is regularly thrown from the upper floors of the 22-storey building.

From bags of general waste and used diapers to bottles of urine flung from above, there has been no change in residents’ habit of hurling garbage from their units despite a near-death incident in 2018 when a general worker on the ground floor was almost hit by a steel chair flung from above.

R. Rani, who has lived in the apartment block for more than 30 years, said she made it a habit to always look up when walking at the open courtyard.

Dangerous eyesore: Awnings covered by an assortment of rubbish thrown from the units above at the River Road PPR flats in George Town. — KT GOH/The StarDangerous eyesore: Awnings covered by an assortment of rubbish thrown from the units above at the River Road PPR flats in George Town. — KT GOH/The Star

“We don’t know what is coming from above. People are not just throwing rubbish but also spitting down from their balconies. I have had someone’s spit land on me when walking in open areas of the apartment,” the 67-year-old said.

Rani said human faeces and urine were also a common sight at lifts and along her corridor, adding that some also simply left their rubbish and trolleys in public areas.

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“This ‘tidak apa’ (lackadaisical) attitude has to stop. If everyone plays their part, we can make this place better instead of having to constantly put up with dangers from above,” she said.

Another 67-year-old resident, who wanted to be known only as Odah, said she too had experienced rubbish thrown from above even though she lives on the 18th floor, which is among the highest at her block.

“Even standing and looking out from my balcony can be dangerous as you never know when something might be thrown down,” she said.Odah, who has lived at Putra Ria for 28 years, also noticed that most of the littering from above occurred at night.

“We know rubbish is being thrown down at night due to the loud thuds heard when the rubbish hits the ground and zinc awnings below,” she said.

ALSO READ: Danger from falling litter persists

General worker Latiff Jaafar, 64, has also had his share of near misses when it comes to “killer litter” from above.

“Many times, bottles and rubbish bags are thrown down while we are cleaning. There was also an incident when a bottle filled with urine was flung from above, landing just a few feet in front of me,” he said.

Latifff said he would sometimes open the discarded litter bags in a bid to identify who threw them.

“Sometimes, the bags have information such as delivery addresses on parcel wraps which helps me track the perpetrator.

“I will then return these bags to their doors. Sometimes my team and I will confront those caught littering,” he said, adding that most of the culprits would just apologise and hang their heads in shame.

Despite Latiff and his colleagues’ tireless efforts to keep the area clean, he said the irresponsible littering still occurred daily.

Putra Ria joint management body member Fardiana Nazmin said the management had tried multiple ways to curb irresponsible dumping but their efforts had been futile.

“It all boils down to the residents’ civic consciousness. We even started issuing RM200 fines to those who disposed of their rubbish irresponsibly, with the amount included in their monthly maintenance fee.

“Even then, it didn’t stop residents from throwing rubbish from above, with many questioning and refusing to pay the fine,” she said.

In fact, the habit of hurling garbage irresponsibly from above has been normalised and occurs daily.

“There have also been cases when live cats were thrown down from the top floors. Car windscreens have also been smashed from the impact of the thrown littler.“We placed rubbish bins on every three floors of the apartment but the bins were stolen after a while,” said Fardiana.

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