What is it with Malaysians and litter?
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jun 13, 2012 1:35 AM Last Post By: greenmango
Jun 5, 2012 2:40 PM
What is it with Malaysians and litter?Why are Malaysians such litter bugs?
They litter everywhere... towns, countryside, beaches, rivers, mangroves and even national forest and marine parks.
It's especially frustrating when government-run national parks collect an entrance eco-fee and it's so obvious by just looking at the mess around you, that the money is certainly not being used for park maintenance.
Night markets (pasar malam) usually don't provide rubbish bins and all waste just goes onto the ground or into the nearest drain. Parents litter in front of their kids and vice-versa, it's a happy litter fest for all.
Malaysians just don't care. If asked not to litter, they look at you like it's none of your business. Most Malaysians are well informed and educated so pleading ignorance is absolutely no excuse.
The Malaysian authorities need to introduce and enforce a litter fine, be it small or whatever… just enforce it.
Anyone who litters, fine them on the spot… no excuses. If it's a child, fine the parents and they'll soon get educated and in turn, teach their kids. Even a small fine, like 5 ringgit, will encourage people to carry that cigarette butt, food wrapper, plastic bottle, etc. just a little further to the next rubbish bin.
A litter-free Malaysia can only be beneficial… a healthier environment for all, a cleaner and more attractive place to visit, less tax wasted on garbage cleaning and management, and at the same time, the government earns a little extra revenue.
Okay, rant over. Have a good day.
Jun 5, 2012 7:05 PM
1Malaysia is famous for having some of the dirtiest toilets and the amount of littering. It is just a fact of life here. Despite numerous 'love your river' campaigns, Msians still use rivers as rubbish bins. And as long as the house is clean, they don't see the rubbish once they've thrown it out of the door.
There are never enough rubbish bins so people won't bother to look for one. And yes even National Parks have litter, not to mention people carving their names on trees, benches etc.
And littering is getting worse and worse with more and more plastic bags and water bottles. And sadly very few places recycle plastics.
Jun 5, 2012 8:01 PM
2In fact the Star did a piece on rubbish in rivers in today's paper, Garbage problem at chronic level,
Jun 5, 2012 9:26 PM
Jun 6, 2012 12:25 AM
Jun 6, 2012 12:31 AM
Jun 6, 2012 11:27 PM
6Westwood, you are the same as us. We haven't really noticed a litter problem in Malaysia either, it's certainly no worse than the rest of SE Asia.
We live in the Philippines and maybe we just haven't noticed litter as it's pretty bad here?!
Jun 6, 2012 11:44 PM
Jun 7, 2012 4:06 AM
8Thanks for the comments, everyone.
I agree greenmango, you don't see many rubbish bins in Malaysian towns… unless you count the monsoon drains. And I had forgotten about the graffiti and tree carvings at the various scenic places.
It's not a matter of going on holidays to look at litter. Litter is everywhere and in your face… hiking a jungle path and being guided along by a neat trail of plastic bottles, snorkeling amongst pink plastic bags and nappies. This trash won't get swept away by those women with long straw brooms. It's up to us to pick up what we can.
The Philippines do have a litter problem but certain islanders are proud of their country and respect their environment. In Palawan last year, when taking an easy ride van, a German tourist flicked his cigarette butt out onto the street. A local passenger then asked the driver to stop and told the tourist to pick it up. Later I met the tourist at a bar and he said he wouldn't normally litter like that but because we were in town he assumed that the street cleaners would take care of it.
Some Asians have decided not to live in litter... when you cross the bridge from Malaysia into Singapore, it's like you've just landed in Switzerland.
Jun 7, 2012 6:59 AM
Jun 7, 2012 1:26 PM
Jun 8, 2012 3:15 AM
11Yes, no littering signs in Malaysia do seem to attract more rubbish... I noticed this peculiarity on my walk up to the Seven Falls in Langkawi.
Maybe, it's a way of "flipping the middle finger" at being told what to do.
The signs may have more influence if the wording used was positive ("Thank you for not littering") instead of negative ("Do not litter!" with a RM 1,000 fine warning).
But put some plain-clothes officers at places of interest once a month or so to enforce reasonable and affordable fines, and the word will soon get out to general public.
Jun 9, 2012 11:29 PM
12I very recently read that Bangladesh banned the plastic bag years ago. It was found that massive floods that killed hundreds of people was caused by plastics jamming the rivers.
It's not enough just to point the finger at Malaysians or other people. We should look to our own behavior as well...refuse to receive goods in plastic bags, (bring your own bag) and explain politely why you do not use plastic bags. Also bring your own drinking bottle and fill up with larger bottles and use that whenever possible. Just a start, obviously...
Jun 12, 2012 11:27 AM
13I remember a long train journey in India with a Dutch guy. He spent the whole journey educating the locals not to throw litter on the floor or out the window. He hung a plastic bag on the window bars and got everyone to put their litter into it, saying he would dispose of it all properly at the end of the journey. After a while everybody seemed to actually 'get it'; after dropping stuff on the floor and being told to put it in the bag, they started doing it themselves. Dutch felt very pleased with himself. Then he went to the toilet. One of the Indians by the window simply picked up the bag and threw the whole lot out of the window and the whole carriage had a good old laugh (including me I'm afraid to say!). Its an Asia-wide (if not 3rd-world-wide) problem. Of course Malaysia has set itself a 'target' of becoming '1st world' by 2020 or something like that. Perhaps one of the criteria for 1st world status should be having a properly organised litter management policy?
Jun 13, 2012 1:35 AM
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