Cages not used correctly

One big mix: This recycling cage in PPR Kampung Limau in Pantai Dalam, Bangsar, is a good reflection of the apathy of the residents living there. They clearly did not follow the simple three-step rule to segregate their waste. — SHAZWAN ZAIDON/The Star


MORE than half of the 1,153 recycling cages that were provided to residents living in high-rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur to separate their recycled waste are under-utilised.

Many of these cages provided by waste management company Alam Flora Sdn Bhd in June to residents have been destroyed, vandalised or simply left to rot. In some areas, the cages were burnt.

Measuring 2.13m in height, 0.91m in width and 3.04m in length, each recycling cage costs RM1,200.

It is estimated that half, if not more, are not being used properly.

The cages were given to JMBs (Joint Management Bodies) of high rise buildings earlier this year in stages so that residents could start practising separating their waste before the mandatory waste separation at source ruling kicked in on June 1.

Under Act 672, it is mandatory for households to separate solid waste at source and it is being implemented and enforced in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah.

This recycling cage at the Jalan Berhala PPR flats has been turned into a garbage dump. – AFDHAL IRSHAAD/The Star

 A widespread problem

A check by StarMetro of high-rise buildings in 11 parliamentary constituencies in Kuala Lumpur, revealed that these cages were not being used in a proper manner.

Commercial premises were also guilty of misusing the cages.

And what’s mind boggling is that this tidak apa attitude is prevalent in both affluent areas as well as low-cost government housing schemes.

In fact, even townships which are part of the Local Agenda 21, a Kuala Lumpur City Hall led effort to get the local community to practise sustainable living and environmental protection, are guilty of abusing the cages.

The cages have three sections – paper, plastic and others.

Easy-to-follow instructions are provided with info-graphics educating residents on how to separate their recyclables.

It boggles the mind as to why people are not doing it properly.

Or maybe there is a simpler explanation, they just cannot be bothered to get it right.

For instance, they dump organic waste into the recycling cages which are meant for recyclables.

In the section meant for paper, you can find plastic, fabric and old shoes.

A vandal set fire to the recycling cages in Jalan Sepadu, Taman United off Jalan Kelang Lama.

For the section labelled others, you can find paper, plastic and even foodstuff.

Areas where recycling cages are being abused included government housing schemes such as PPR Taman Sri Kuching, PPR Hiliran Ampang, PPR Kg Limau, PPR Laksamana and PPR Pudu Ulu.

Residents living in private condominiums and flats in Ampang, Brickfields, Jalan Kelang Lama, Taman United and the Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park were also guilty of not properly using the recycling cages.

Not rocket science

“What can I say?,” said Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp) Federal Territory director Hazilah Gumri.

“It is not rocket science, I have no idea why they do it,” Hazilah said, referring to people who misuse the recycling cages.

“Like I have said many times before, 70% of people know that recycling is good, but they simply do not practise it.

“Common sense tells you that plastic goes into the plastic section and paper goes into the paper section, but you still have people, including educated ones, who are still unable to follow simple steps.

“It all boils down to their attitude,” she added.

Hazilah admitted that KLites seem to be having a problem with the recycling cages, adding that complaints they were too small were being looked into.

“But when you tell me that they do not know how to differentiate between paper and plastic, that is just ridiculous,” Hazilah added.

“The JMBs have got to get their act together.

“They must take responsibility and ownership of their properties.

“There is no point living in first class condos but having a third class mentality,” she added.

Often times domestic waste such as leftover food and soiled diapers are dumped into the cages. This scene was captured in Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park.

Like a rented car

Alam Flora chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zain Hassan compared the way people treat the recycling cages to driving a rented car.

“When it is notyours, you treat it like it does not matter. That’s how people are.

“There is no sense of ownership here.

“People just do not care, and it really does not matter whether you live in an upscale neighbourhood or a low-cost government housing scheme,” lamented Mohd Zain.

He added that public apathy is also preventing them from carrying out their work effectively.

“A three-hour job takes five hours.

“Everyone wants to get their work done as quickly as possible.

“But when they have to spend extra time cleaning up domestic waste from the recycling cages, it is going push our workers back by several hours,” Mohd Zain said.

SWCorp said that they were monitoring the situation and have identified areas where the cages were misused and would be taking action soon.


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