By James Gough
At Ipoh City Council’s last full board meeting held in early September, Mayor Roshidi again raised the issue about Ipoh being recognised as one of the cleanest cities in the country during the ‘80s and added that Ipoh should work hard at trying to get back that status of the “cleanest city”. At the press conference after the full board meeting, Roshidi, when pressed to share his plan on how to regain the ‘cleanest’ status, elaborated that “a ‘makmal’ (laboratory) committee would be set up to focus and identify all aspects of cleanliness from collection to removal and other details.” Roshidi also confirmed that he would be sitting on the committee and tasked to oversee the cleanliness of the city for this year as well as the next.
Promises of Drastic Action: “Take my word” – Roshidi
Ipoh Echo has consistently been highlighting the importance of a clean Ipoh, a reputation we once had as the cleanest town in the country.
When asked what he thought was the current percentage of cleanliness of Ipoh, Roshidi could not respond but added that his immediate goal for a clean Ipoh was 85% which he intended to achieve in one year. Roshidi stated that he planned to “turun padang and go down to the ground” even at night together with his enforcement and community departments to check on offenders and where necessary “would resort to drastic action to summon the offenders, you can take my word on this”.
Cleanliness in Ipoh has always involved the three elements “Sampah, Rumput dan Longkang” or “Rubbish, Grass and Drains”.
The collection of rubbish by outsourced contractors which is done three times per week “is good” said Roshidi adding that the city centre is generally clean. However, the problem is at the residential and suburban areas which involves the ‘sampah haram’ or illegal dump sites. Currently residents who request to clear illegal dump sites are subjected to a RM20 charge for the service. Roshidi also appealed to those who created ‘sampah haram’ sites to not complain about Ipoh being dirty.
Ipoh Echo then highlighted that the clearance of garden waste was the responsibility of MBI where their SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) states that the operation has to be done once a fortnight. However, this cannot be done efficiently currently as the majority of their existing lorries are not functioning.
Roshidi did not respond when asked if new lorries had been ordered for the fortnightly procedure but responded that he “had a good team to effectively deal with this problem. Residents can SMS me (019-5730333) about this problem even at 11pm at night and we will look into it.”
Roshidi highlighted that 90 of the green mild steel bins usually seen at back lanes had been purchased to replace the broken units for this year. In total the cost of rubbish collection services per year is RM11 million.
Grass Cutting and Drain Cleaning
In April this year MBI held a press conference to highlight the successful selection of 44 grass cutting contractors at landscaped areas with 33 contractors dedicated for mowing lawns and cleaning services and 11 maintenance and cleaning services.
According to Roshidi the services of the grass cutters has so far been satisfactory. Based on MBI’s grass cutters’ specifications the mowing at road shoulders and fields should be done twice a month. For government reserve land the work is to be carried out once a month.
MBI has recently erected signboards at the respective zones indicating the grass cutter’s contact details, the schedule to cut grass and includes MBI’s person-in-charge contact reference.
Scope of Work: Grass Cutting
Grass cutting refers to all types of grass, shrubs and wild plants found on roads, road shoulders, road reserves, open spaces, playgrounds, recreational parks, pedestrian walkways, concrete columns, the tarmac, ‘interlocking’, jogging tracks, and reflexology paths.
Other specifications state that grass should be cut close and neat, 2-4 cm from ground level, and the cut grass removed on the same day. Grass growing on pedestrian streets, concrete poles, fences and such are to be sprayed with herbicides. Grass cutting work is to be done up to the boundary of the premises, including the route between the premises. Grass that has fallen into the drain waste should be collected and gathered in a ‘culvert box’ and ‘main hole’. Finally all cut grass, plants and garbage must be dumped into landfills approved by the Council. Currently MBI’s performance score for the contractors is 95 per cent.
In mid July 2012, MBI appointed eight drain contractors for work to be done in four zones, Bercham, Canning, Buntong and Tambun. All drain works at the other zones are carried out by MBI’s workers. The reason to outsource this work to the four zones is because their infrastructure is older and requires more effort to maintain.
According to Roshidi, of the eight contractors, only four are so far classified as “good” with two described as excellent and another two “on par”. The other four failed, with one contractor being terminated as of September 16. When enquired why it took so long to terminate a contractor especially since the service to the zone was not fulfilled for two months, Roshidi replied that a termination had to be done as per procedure.
Scope of Work of Drain Contractor
The scope of work included in this contract covers all monsoon drains, cement drains open/closed in residential areas or housing estates and drains on business premises measuring less than three (3) feet. The work also includes drains around golf courses and recreational parks.
Public drain channels should be washed and cleaned and be free from any obstruction. The rate of drain cleaning of monsoon drains is once every 30 days or if there is occurrence of clogged drains after heavy rain.
The rate of drain cleaning indoor/outdoor residential areas or housing estate is once within 21 days or if drains are clogged after heavy rain and on receiving complaints from the public. For business premises this should be done once every 14 days or if clogged after heavy rain or receiving complaints from the public or from the Council.
Cleaning work includes cutting grass (within 2 metres on both sides of the gutter), removing all additional rubbish such as bottles, plastic containers, timber, iron and stones, sand and soil in the drain. All waste should be placed in bags or containers and discarded to approved landfill by lorry.
Water in the drain should be smooth flowing to ensure public drains are free of solid waste including food scraps in the event of flash floods to prevent disease.
Keeping Ipoh clean is going to be a major team effort by Ipoh residents and the Ipoh City Council. Hopefully, with a common knowledge of the goals we can meet Mayor Roshidi’s 85 per cent cleanliness goal.
A list of Ipoh Councillors is shown on page 6 for residents to contact to highlight concerns about cleanliness.