by stories by elween loke
photos by elween loke and ronnie chin
THERE is a general consensus among Ipoh residents that the problem of illegal dumpsites is due to the lack of proper or convenient garbage dumpsites in neighbourhoods.
Taman Ria resident S.S. Leong, 45, said there was an illegal dumpsite near the septic tanks in the neighbourhood, as it was the most convenient location.
He said residents would throw dried leaves and branches at the spot since it was overgrown with weeds.
“I think it is alright to dump biodegradable materials there as they are not harmful to the environment.
“But there are certain irresponsible residents who take the opportunity to dump large chunks of unwanted things at the site,” he said.
He believed that most of the litterbugs would discard their junk at night to avoid getting caught.
On a visit to the site recently, MetroPerak found a damaged rattan chair, a cracked porcelain toilet bowl and few tyres scattered.
Leong, however, said that people would not resort to indiscrimate dumping of garbage if there were proper places for them to dispose of their unwanted goods.
“From my observation, there is no roll-on roll-off bin in the housing area for residents to get rid of large items,” he said.
Gerbang Bercham Selamat resident Roslee Azman Hishamuddin, 45, said illegal dumpsites were often created from spots where there are piles of dried leaves and twigs.
He said he had come across such instances in Kampung Bercham.
“It will give people the wrong impression that they can also leave their garbage in those unkempt areas,” he said.
Roslee said garbage collectors would normally collect trash that was placed beside the organic matter, but would not retrieve those trapped between the branches.
Inconvenient: A garbage tank placed outside Kampung Simee wet market which residents complained
that it is too far away.
P. Surian, 55, from Taman Mewah said residents of the four-storey apartments had purchased water storage tanks to be placed at the bottom of the rubbish chute.
He said plastic water tanks had greater capacity and were more durable compared to rattan baskets, which they had used in previous years.
“We have been using the tanks for over six months,” he said, adding that residents had to fork out money to buy the tanks, which cost RM40 each.
Surian said they had to purchase the tanks for their 25-year-old apartment block, as garbage containers were not provided.
Kampung Baru Tawas villager Lye Keng Yeng, 64, said villagers would normally dump bags of garbage at the corner of the village roads.
She said even though garbage collectors collected rubbish regularly, there would still be bits and pieces that fell out on the roads.
“The bits, together with the leachate from the trucks, makes the roads dirty and smelly,” she said adding that such conditions made her uncomfortable.
Lye, who cycled almost every day, said she also worried that there would be nails at the illegal dumpsites, that could puncture her bicycle tyres.
It is also a norm for residents in Kampung Simee to place their garbage by the roadside.
M.L. Cheah, 41, said garbage collectors picked up the rubbish every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“Residents who live near the dumpsite are unhappy but there is nothing we can do.
“All I can do is to observe the garbage collection schedule,” she said.
She said stray dogs and cats would tear open garbage bags to scavenge for food at the illegal dumpsites and the stench of rotten food in the air was unbearable.
Cheah said even though there were bins near the wet market, it was too troublesome for residents to go all the way there.
Lam, another Kampung Simee resident, said he would have to think of ways to get rid of unwanted furniture or large branches chopped off from his tree.
“I cannot dump them at the public bins, as it takes a long time for garbage collectors to take them away,” he said, adding that market traders and residents would complain, as the large bulk waste would take up space on the narrow village road.
Resident Pritam Singh, 51, hoped the Ipoh City Council could look into illegal dumpsites in residential areas seriously.
“We pay assessment to the council and we hope the authority can help solve the problem,” he said.
He said when there was no proper avenue to get rid of garbage, especially the large items, residents would have no choice but to dump them at an illegal site or burn them.
“We want to have a nice and clean environment,” he said.