IPOH: Every work day for the past 20 years before the movement control order (MCO), S. Ganeson has been dutifully performing his job of collecting waste in residential and commercials areas here.
“During this MCO period, the amount of waste churned out, including that in residential areas, is still normal. I continue to work every day, starting at around 6am before my shift ends at 1pm.
“There is no change in our schedule despite the MCO but we wear face masks all the time, ” the 56-year-old said in an interview.
Since his wife’s death a year ago, Ganeson, who has been working as a waste collector for 20 years, has been living alone while his two children further their studies elsewhere.“My older child is in India; he contacts me every day to check on me. Thankfully, my daughter managed to return home before the MCO. Although they are worried about me, my children have long understood my job.
“I get tired sometimes, but I am still healthy. I need to take care of my two children until they can earn money on their own, ” said Ganeson, whose son remains in India.
“He told me not to worry as his college has no positive cases reported.”
For garbage truck driver Ahmad Azhar Baharoom, 58, it’s not just another day on the job but a livelihood that pays the bills and puts food on the table for the family.
It is a job that he’s been doing for 36 years.
“I am the breadwinner in the family; all my children are living on their own except for my youngest who is in preschool.
“My wife works sometimes but as the head of the family, it is my responsibility to provide the best I can for them, ” he added.
Ahmad said he found that there was less trash than usual to collect during this time.
“Usually, on each trip, we will collect up to eight tonnes of rubbish. But now it’s only four tonnes as most shops are closed during the MCO period, ” he said.
“I do worry about my well-being, but what choice do I have?”