Parking lot’s rubbish woes piling up

National 2 minutes, 54 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE parking lot near Kg Sg Kebun Jetty has been plagued by rubbish problems for years, with no end in sight and no one taking the blame.

Village head Hj Marali Hj Matzin said Kg Sg Kebun is part of Kg Ayer, where the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) provides free waste collection services to all households, so he doubts any local residents are responsible for the illegal dumping.

He said people from nearby villages have been using the parking lot as an illegal dumping ground while vendors from the villages have also built more than 10 huts at the site to sell food and drinks without a license from the Brunei-Muara District Office.

He noted that the lot is for residents of Kg Sg Kebun to park their vehicles and is not for use as a commercial area.

Hj Marali, whose family has been living in the village for five generations, said vendors set up shop near the parking lot a decade ago by erecting umbrellas along the street near the entrance to Kg Sg Kebun Jetty.

“Ten years ago, the vendors came here every week and called the location ‘tamu mingguan’ or weekend market,” said Hj Marali, who has been village head for more than 20 years.

“In the past, they would sell their products and look after their surroundings. But it’s different now,” he said, adding that vendors throw their rubbish in a corner of the parking lot.

Hj Marali said the huts were demolished last year and the vendors were asked to relocate elsewhere by the Brunei-Muara District Office.

“But the huts came back, meaning the vendors rebuilt them a few months later,” he said.

A shop attendant named Dewi at A1 Mini Mart located opposite some of the vendors said the vendors sell ayam penyet, smoked fish, satay and a variety of foods.

“(Most of) the vendors usually sell when school starts,” she said. 

Md Shah Alam, who works as a shop attendant at Mohd Nabil Enterprise nearby, said his retail shop’s business hasn’t been affected because the vendors seldom operate their businesses daily.

A vendor from Kg Saba who requested anonymity declined to comment on the illegal dumping but noted that the location was good for business.

“We like it here because there’s a lot of people from Bandar coming from the jetty,” said the mother of four, who has been selling satay at the lot since 2007.

A vendor from Kg Lumapas who also requested anonymity said vendors here are helping themselves out by generating income for their families.

Hj Matassan Ghani, a congregant at Masjid Al-Muhtadee Billah in Kg Sungai Kebun, said he likes to buy food from the vendors at the parking lot because prices there are cheaper compared with supermarkets.

“I don’t have to travel all the way to Bandar or Gadong to buy fruits or ikan salai (smoked fish),” he said.

Hj Matassan said waste containers provided by JASTRe are located between Jalan Lumapas and Jalan Kasat.

He declined to comment on who he thinks is responsible for the rubbish problem.

An official from JASTRe who referred to himself as Haji confirmed that residents of Kg Ayer, which includes Kg Sg Kebun, are provided with free trash bins and daily waste collection services.

JASTRe also provides four temporary waste containers at the parking lot and has hired private waste collection companies to collect the piles of rubbish there every two days.

The Brunei Times