PETALING JAYA: The dumping of leftover food into drains and back lanes by food operators is the main cause of the rise in rat infestations in cities, says Alam Flora chief executive officer Mohd Zain Hassan.
He said although Alam Flora had given restaurants and shops waste bins, food operators and hawkers still washed dirty dishes at back alleys and discarded waste into drains.
“The Government should encourage food outlet operators to use grease traps and appoint an agency to collect residue to prevent food waste from ending up in back lanes and drains.
“Harsher enforcement is also needed against those who throw waste indiscriminately.
“Alam Flora will be the first to support such a move,” he said, adding that Singapore was cleaner than Malaysia because of its strict enforcement.
Mohd Zain said many restaurants employed foreign workers who live on the upper floors of the premises.
“I have seen workers throwing waste out of their windows. This compounds the situation,” he said, when commenting on The Star's front page report yesterday that the 85.5% rise in cases of leptospirosis, was clear evidence that urban areas in Malaysia were teeming with rodents.
He said Alam Flora, which handles rubbish collection services in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Pahang, had been cleaning up the back lanes of shophouses and drains twice a month.
“We use equipment such as high pressure water jets, catch basins and drain vacuum machines to unclog the drains,” he said, adding that Bukit Bintang and Jalan Masjid India had been identified as major places in the city which needed cleaning.
Mohd Zain said the people's poor knowledge of proper rubbish disposal was another major cause.
Restaurant owners and hawkers, meanwhile, view the increase of rat population as a serious issue that needs to be resolved urgently.
Penang Hawkers Association president Ooi Thean Huat said the number of rats in the state had risen over years due to the attitude of several stall owners.
“About 50% of hawkers do not discard their waste properly. They just leave the rubbish bags on the side of the road instead of placing them in dumpsters.
“This attracts vermin such as rats and these areas became breeding grounds,” he said.