Monday, September 26, 2011
Keep up the enforcement and make PJ litter-free
KUDOS to the Petaling Jaya City Council for taking action against litterbugs last week where it fined 11 offenders on the spot for indiscriminately disposing of rubbish.
The council's operation in Section 8 and 52 has not only earned praises from the public but also from offenders themselves - most of whom were smokers caught red-handed discarding cigarette butts.
Even littering tourists were not spared in the campaign which started on Aug 16. One chap from India, who was caught for throwing away a cigarette butt not only paid the fine on the spot but also apologised for his action.
Under the local bylaw, the maximum fine for littering small items such as cigarette butts and tissue paper is RM50 while that of larger items such as boxes and construction waste RM100. Business operators who failed to place a rubbish bin in front of their premises will be fined RM100.
Prior to the campaign, the council had reportedly given out close to 100,000 flyers to inform the public about it. For those who have been caught in the act of dirtying Petaling Jaya's streets, they cannot claim that they were unaware of the campaign although one litterbug who had been nabbed said the enforcement officers should have given him a warning instead of issuing a summons.
Personally, I think the council has been fair in informing the public to discard their dirtying habit.
Litterbugs who are caught red-handed cannot plead ignorance.
Cleanliness is a way of life. Litterbugs should first ask if they throw rubbish indiscriminately in their own homes. If they do not, what makes it all right for them to throw garbage everywhere, not just in PJ alone but all around the country?
I recall a signboard I saw at a junction while approaching Kuantan town a few months ago. It stated something in Malay: "Tak segankah anda membuang sampah keluar dari kereta anda? (Are you not ashamed to have thrown rubbish out of your car?)
The area must have been littered with small items motorists fling out of their vehicles. Otherwise the local authorities would not have put up the board as reminder. Maybe we should have some in Klang Valley junctions but I doubt it will help.
The challenge now is for the Petaling Jaya City Council to keep up its enforcement and make Petaling Jaya litter-free zone.
Put up signboards to warn would-be litterbugs of the consequences of their bad habit. This may not change mindsets overnight, especially if littering has become set in their minds.
But if the enforcement is kept up, I think one day the council can look back with pride at the day the anti-litter campaign was launched.
I am wondering when Kuala Lumpur City Hall will do the same and make the nation's capital litter-free as well.
Haul up litterbugs and make them pay on the spot, too.
Teach those who throw rubbish indiscriminately that even insects do not dirty their surroundings.
And to call them litterbugs is an insult to the bugs.