Holidaymakers leave trash trail in Penang

Workers from the Penang Island City Council cleaning the beach at Batu Ferringhi over the weekend. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - They came, they partied, and they littered.

After four days of merrymaking last weekend, popular tourist spots in Penang resembled dumping grounds, courtesy of inconsiderate holidaymakers.

While the garbage collection on the three-day break around the Awal Muharam holiday on Aug 8 was 1,591 tonnes, the Penang Island City Council had to work harder last weekend as the collection from Nov 1 to 7 stood at 5,256 tonnes, in part contributed by the relatively long holidays during Deepavali last Thursday (Nov 4).

Mr Xavier Sebastian, director of the city council's urban services department, said the increase was due to the influx of people into the island during the festive period.

"We noticed that there was a garbage overflow at popular spots in Karpal Singh Drive, Gurney Drive, Teluk Bayu, the Esplanade, Batu Feringghi, near Queensbay Mall, and under the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Bridge, a popular picnic spot," he said.

Mr Sebastian said most of the garbage left behind consisted mainly of plastic food containers, water bottles and newspapers.

"We anticipated this problem and had added more garbage bins in those areas and increased the collection frequency, such as twice daily," he said.

The city council also extended its operating hours and used "pickers" three times a day from 7am to 5pm, and at night from 8pm during public holidays.

"Besides holding education and awareness programmes, we will not hesitate to issue compound notices to litterbugs," he said.

Mr Sebastian added that the city council has used social media to instil awareness among members of the public about littering and, at the same time, hoped that everyone will cooperate by throwing rubbish into the proper bins.

"We hope that everyone, be it Penangites or visitors, will cooperate with us to keep the city clean, especially during the upcoming Christmas and New Year festive period," he said.

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