Been a fortnight since the flood. And everywhere the garbage piles stand as reminders of the losses left behind by the waters. The company which has the contract to collect the rubbish don't seem to be coping well in the clearing up. A report said that rubbish went from 1100 tons to 2000 tons daily. I think the figure is more than that. Take a drive in any area that was affected by flood... this time it includes most of Kota Setar... and you'll know what I mean. That's just the flood garbage. Daily garbage 'spewed' out by households remains uncollected for more than a week already!
The rubbish collection in Alor Setar is under Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Metacorp and UEM. If we explore the labyrinths of ownership to these 2 companies we'll probably find that they are well connected to certain key people. Anyway, according to a newsletter from Kualiti Alam, rubbish woes were solved when they took over the rubbish collection in SP. I can't say I know much but what I do know is in Alor Setar, the frequency of rubbish collection went down to around once every 6 days in my area, before the flood. Before Idaman took over, it used to be more frequent; once every 2 to 3 days. I seldom find piles of rubbish on the roads. These days, it's common to see rubbish piling up and flies around it; and the smell!!!
The company has also taken to setting up 'strategic' locations for their big bins; kinda like a central collection thing. I guess they were trying to condition people to throw their rubbish at such bins. Well, guess what? These locations became dumping grounds after the flood. And no matter how fast they cleared it, a new pile would appear. Apparently, they've been so successful in conditioning people to think those locations as rubbish dump that people just brought all their spoilt furniture old electrical stuff to dump there. I am thankful that my house is not opposite or near those rubbish dumps. It'd be an added stress just to be greeted by rubbish and be reminded by its stench.
I think they do that because they don't have enough trucks. They probably cut down on the number of trucks (which also means less workers) to increase their profits. Just like SADA (the water company), when the pump houses failed, they did not have enough water trucks or a system to deliver water everywhere. They even failed to ensure water supply to essential services like the hospitals. Both the General Hospitals and 3 private hospitals had to cease operations. Can you imagine, if you were really sick during the flood, you'd have no hospital to rely on? And SADA has not even been privatized it. It has only gone onto Step 1 of privatization; which is corporatization!
Anyway, someone big must have made some noises for I saw some private lorries and backhoe loaders in my residential area. Within 2 days they cleared most of the hills of rubbish!!! Now perhaps that's real privatization!!! LOL!! Anyway, these were just my observations... waiting to see whether the hills of rubbish would appear again at the same sites.
The storm drains were quite effective in draining the water when the flood water was still manageable. However, take a walk along these drains in Alor Setar and you'll find many parts of the storm drain filled with soil (with grass growing on it some more) and rubbish. What have the maintenance people been doing? Don't they dredge the drains or at least make sure the excess soil or rubbish is cleared from them??? Do we need disasters to remind us??? Anyway, we are garbage generators.... no wonder Mother Earth is so polluted.
For now, the 2 hills of rubbish near my place have been cleared. I hope they stay that way but Idaman has only collected rubbish once from our houses since the flood. And that's been like almost 2 weeks already.