Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Trash, trash everywhere...Where's the Trash can?
We hear complaints everyday about public waste and trash being dumped in the wrong places or not collected by Alam Flora or the local authority concerned. This happens not only in the towns and cities but also in the rural areas. We see pictures of uncollected and decomposing trash in the papers and on TV. We see the trash as we drive along the streets and even as we sit at a corner coffee-shop or a 'maplei to enjoy some food or a cuppa.
A Report probably based on Dr Nazri Yahya's Ph.D dissertation on Public Waste Management in Malaysia, mentioned that Malaysians produced some 17,000 tons of waste or rubbish/day in 2002. This is projected to become 30,000 tons/day in 2020. According to Alam Flora's report in the internet (no date) it collects 7,100 tons/day covering an area of 72.3 thousand sq km. Though Alam Flora is only responsible for waste management in the Central and Eastern Regions of Malaysia, Southern Waste handles the southern region and local authorities handle the rest, a collection of 7-17 thousand tons/day would certainly fall short of the amount generated today which must be around 22-23,000 tons/day or more, based on the above projection.
A internet report by the National Solid Waste Management Department under the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (undated) doesn't give any current projection, nor an analysis of the full capacity of public waste management services employed by the government and local authorities today, to deal with the problem. But judging from the complaints that we hear everyday and the sorry sights of rubbles, rubbish and trash that meet our eyes as we travel through the towns and cities, what more in the rural areas, we know that not enough is being done to ensure a high standard of sanitation in this country. The phenomena of smelly rubbish dumps anddrains clogged with putrid filth in both the cities and rural towns are only too familiar to all of us (see pics).
The authorities always blame the public for not keeping their towns and cities clean. This may be true if one cares to observe how people throw all sorts of rubbish out of their cars as they drive along or uncaringly dump the paper wrappers, plastic bags, cigarette stumps etc, along the street as they walk by or sit in a coffee shop to enjoy a drink and some snacks. Even In restaurants and modern fast-food centres like Mc Donald and KFC, the habit of clearing up your own rubbish is not as yet the rule in this country.
Yes, the public need to share the blame if cleanliness is not kept to a respectable standard. But why do people throw away the rubbish and trash so uncaringly and not into the bins or trash cans provided?? That's the Malaysians habit? Ha ha, that's a very general accusation made by the authorities. Not all Malaysians are uncouth. Read this quote taken from the internet on Waste Management:
"Whether you are indoors or outdoors, a plastic trash can is an indispensable part of life. Remember last time when you didn’t find the can in its place at the garden? You felt awfully angry and betrayed because the waste was lying in your hands waiting to be disposed of.
Waste management is one of the most important parts of managing an office or a household. This is where plastic trash cans come into play. They have become a part of our lives. We use them in the morning, in the noon, in the evening and at night. Whatever you do, work, play or meal, you need a plastic trash can to dispose of the wastes you produce. May it be medicine foils, used ink bottles, use and throw objects, or sour milk you use a plastic trash can."
Are there always a trash can within easy walking distance to throw away the rubbish that suddenly appears in your hand after eating something well-wrapped up? More often than not you just can't see any trash can or dustbin anywhere along the shops corridor, the street or the parking lot. So, just throw it into the nearest drain or anywhere that has already collected some rubbish. That's how rubbish dumps grow at odd places in the cities and towns.
Yes, there certainly is not enough trash cans or rubbish bins provided either by the waste management authorities, the local authorities and the restaurant and shopkeepers, or even the stall owners themselves, to invite the public to throw their rubbish, without having to search around and walk some distance away. It is as if the public is expected to and must keep the wrappings, the unneeded plastic bags, and other disposables in their pockets then search around for a proper rubbish can or dumpster to throw them in. It is certainly the responsibility of the authorities, the shopkeepers and the coffee shop or stall operators to provide the facilities to throw the rubbish in at the places under their control. You can't blame them if they take the liberty to thrown away what is not needed anywhere at all if no facilities are provided at the place where the things they needed were acquired. Only at their homes can they be expected to acquire the facilities themselves.