Beaches look more like a garbage dump

Dirty spot: The Batu Ferringhi beach is full of rubbish.

The Star, January 4, 2009

GEORGE TOWN: A public health scientist from Sweden who is on holiday here has joined tourists calling for a clean-up of the state’s dirty beaches.

Alan Dilani, 52, rapped the authorities for “completely ignoring” the value of maintaining beautiful beaches.

Dilani, who has been staying at a beach hotel for two weeks with his family, said ignorance would not only jeopardise the state’s tourism but also its economy in the long run.

“Penang is an island and the first thing that comes to tourists’ mind when visiting the place is its beaches.

“We are here to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery but it has turned out to be a great disappointment.

“The rubbish is not only an eyesore but it also affects the health and well-being of tourists,” he told The Star after reading a reader’s complaint letter in the newspaper yesterday.

Dilani said his profession has taken him to many places including Langkawi and Thailand where there are green sea water and beautiful beaches.

“But in Penang, I just don’t know how to describe it.

“You can see two colours on the sea water here – greyish along the shore and greenish as we move further out to the sea.

“Greyish means the seawater is dirty and greenish means it is clean. I spent three hours on a boat but I could only get four small fish,” he said.

State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state would consider setting up a special squad to clean up the beaches.

“We are cleaning up beaches regularly but the situation is still unsatisfactory.”

Penang Municipal Council public health and licensing committee chairman Tay Leong Seng said he would instruct officers to go to the ground and check on the complaints.

“Sometimes rubbish is carried from the sea to the beach during high tide and when it is low tide, the rubbish gets left behind on the beach.

“We have a contractor to clean the beaches every morning but if we find out that they are not carrying out their job properly, we will fine or terminate the contract,” he said.

Yesterday, a reader who called himself Zari Malaysiana took to task the relevant authorities in Penang for taking dirty beaches lightly.

On Thursday, The Star also published a letter from a British tourist who was frustrated over the state of the Batu Ferringhi beach.

R.K. Imms said that when he was in the state last year, the authorities had done a good job in keeping the beach clean, but this year it was worse than ever.

He said all the rubbish bins were full, there were food cartons and beer bottles and broken glass everywhere.

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