Plan for litterbugs to do cleaning

A motorcyclist passing by an illegal dumpsite along the road at Pasir Pinji. — filepic

THE IPOH City Council is mulling a plan to have litterbugs do community services in its bid to stop illegal dumpsites being created.

Ipoh Mayor Datuk Zamri Man said the council is now discussing the proposal with various parties to study thoroughly whether it can be implemented.

“It is one of the measures we are thinking about. In Sabah, the local council there will have litterbugs clean up a village if they are caught, so it is an interesting concept.

“Anyone found littering, they need to do clean-up work,” he told The Star and Sinar Harian in a special interview.

“But if we do this, we need to have the backing from the people,” he said, adding that some bylaws will need to be changed if it does come to fruition.

Zamri said he is also thinking of inviting members of the public to try working as a city council worker for a day.

“I think we should open up an opportunity to the public, let them experience for a day how it feels to be a garbage collector or sweeper,” he said.

Council workers trying to clear up an illegal dumpsite. — filepic

“I think it will make a good story for them to tell their family and friends,” he added.

Asked how the city council would nab litterbugs before making them do community service, Zamri said, “Because our enforcement officers don’t have the power to arrest people like the police, we can only issue summonses.

“But we will have patrol teams, and if by chance or through surveillance we come across litterbugs, we will get them to do community service work,” he said.

“Despite the illegal dumping, I feel that awareness of the need to keep the city clean is rising among the public,” he added.

Zamri also said all community leaders should work with the city council to keep their respective areas clean.

“We really need leaders who can get people together to clean up their areas.

“They can be from non-governmental organisations, local leaders and even the state assemblymen who reach out to the people, advising them not to litter and create illegal dumpsites,” he said, adding that some 7,585 illegal dumpsites had been cleared away by the city council so far this year, only for them to reappear.

“Leaders really need to step forward because not many people care about cleanliness and people only rely on the city council,” he added.

Apart from the leaders, all families too need to instill a habit of not littering and randomly dumping waste to create illegal dumpsites.

“If the parents do not do so, the children will learn not to.

“People need to be more positive in their behaviour and not simply throw garbage on the ground,” he said.

“In Japan, those who smoke always carry a portable ashtray. They will dispose of the ash and cigarette butts into a dustbin when it becomesfull,” he added.

Zamri also said people should not be afraid to tell litterbugs to stop throwing rubbish indiscriminately .

“I know we have a saying that goes ‘Jangan jaga tepi kain orang’ (mind our own business) and that it’s not in our culture to do so.

“However, I feel we should do so as the environment belongs to all us,” he said.

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