By Ronald Benjamin
Secretary for the Association for Welfare, Community and Dialogue.
To be green, clean and safe consistently makes a city attractive not only to local citizens but tourists within and outside the country.
For example, when I paid a visit to Geneva 3 years ago, I saw a city that is not only ecologically attractive due its surrounding lake and creatures, but also safe and clean, where people would lie down in the park during leisure moments.
Being an Ipoh resident, on May 1, my wife and I decided to go for a walking exercise at Ipoh Padang early in the morning.
To our disappointment the field was littered with trash that consisted of used plastic mineral water, bins that were overloaded with plastic bags, cans and food stuff, and what made things worse is the water in the drain around the field was stagnant and had tadpoles which could be a breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes.
It was obvious that quite a number of people were in Ipoh Padang on the eve of May 1, with some sort of celebration and littering, hoping that the rubbish would be magically cleared in the morning.
I was wondering what has been happening to the civic consciousness of certain Malaysians, and how would this portray Ipoh as a city that is green, clean and safe for the arrival of tourists?
After all, Ipoh Padang has a strong historical heritage which should be one of the significant places of attraction for those who visit Ipoh.
Today there is a tendency to solely blame the local authorities for lack of cleanliness in the city which is true to a certain extent, but what about the people who use this place. Where is the sense of ownership?
It is time for the local authorities to fine organisers, or groups of people who litter around and those who use the field should take responsibility in cleaning instead of waiting for the workers from MBI to clean it in the morning.
Coming from the hotel industry I know of foreign tourists who like to exercise in the morning and they ask me where is the best place to go for an exercise, and I usually recommend the iconic Ipoh Padang.
Therefore, I strongly urge the Ipoh Mayor to address cleanliness by enforcing rules which also involve the clearing of stagnant water in the drains around Ipoh Padang.
This is to ensure Ipoh is green, clean and safe for Malaysians and tourists who visit the city.