Rubbish woes at Janda Baik

The idyllic village of Janda Baik in Pahang has a waste problem that is marring its landscape and the quality of life for both residents and weekend tourists.

“There is no garbage collection service in this village. The closest landfill at Bukit Tinggi is 7 km away and is too far for most residents to take the trouble to dispose off their waste properly,” said Alwi Din, 42, a resident of Janda Baik when met in recently.

According to Warung Janda Baik owner Abd Ghafar, 43, nobody collects his garbage for him and he needs to dispose of the trash at Bukit Tinggi by himself.

As a result of the lack of a garbage collection service, in some instances, irresponsible parties dump their garbage along forest lanes and by the river, causing a stench and river pollution.

What’s the problem?

Kamariah Embok Daing, who is the assistant senior administrator at the national solid waste management department, under the Housing and Local Government Ministry, confirmed that the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Act, did not make any difference to Janda Baik.

Under the Act, enforced in September this year, private solid waste management companies such as Alam Flora will take over the garbage collection service from local municipal councils.

At the same time, however, Alam Flora will only service properties in which residents have paid their assessment tax.

In the case of Janda Baik, residents do not pay any assessment tax because Janda Baik falls outside the Bentong District Council’s jurisdiction, said resident Saad Awangah, 65.

As a result, neither the council nor Alam Flora is responsible for collecting garbage in Janda Baik, located 45km away from Kuala Lumpur in Pahang.

Village committee

Meanwhile, Janda Baik’s village head, Zahari Arop said the waste management issue is too much of a burden for the Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK) to resolve.

In a phone interview, Zahari said the JKKK had approached Alam Flora to provide the garbage collection service. But the proposal was eventually shelved because of the cost involved in placing trash containers in public areas.

According to Zahari, each container would cost the JKKK RM1,000. On top of that, he said, Alam Flora expected the JKKK to collect the fees from residents who wanted their rubbish collected by the contractor.

Because Janda Baik is noted for its forests and natural habitat for various types of flora and fauna, and because it is only an hour away by car from Kuala Lumpur, it has become a popular holiday and recreational destination for city folks.

The increasing number of tourists coupled with a 3,000-head population has resulted in more garbage being generated.

Cherengin Hills Resort chief executive officer (CEO) Mohd Fauzi Abd Latif said his resort engages Alam Flora to handle their daily waste disposal at the cost of RM450 per month. On top of that, he pays a RM20 daily transportation cost for the waste disposal.

Warung Janda Baik owner Abd Ghafar also claims that resort and hotel owners, at least, can engage the Bentong District Council to handle the garbage collection at a monthly fee of RM200.00.

However, no viable option seems to have been presented to households to help resolve the issue of rubbish being indiscriminately dumped.