MUCH has been said, or specifically, complained about the waste management services, especially in Johor Baru.
From delayed to unscheduled collection dates, the residents are getting more and more frustrated every time heaps of those black garbage bags start to diffuse stench enough to steer away even the most hardened of salesmen.
At times, the garbage truck could be seen getting around the neighbourhood during rush hour, when people are using every known shortcut through housing areas to avoid traffic.
Then again, the absolutely snail-paced, bulky vehicle could only do so much to pass through narrow residential lanes.
Motorists could only sigh in annoyance while "tailgating" the truck; those who had to answer the call of nature will be cursing irritably in cold sweat.
People are wondering why the garbage collection did not take place much earlier.
And these are among a number of problems since garbage collection were modernised in this country decades ago.
The people gave gotten used to it, but that is not an excuse to let such matters persist.
To be fair, there have been efforts to improve the system.
But whether they are being implemented is perhaps a different story altogether.
In February, it was announced that the waste management services concessionaires would undergo stricter scrutiny following an increase in the service charge, in an effort to significantly improve the sector's image nationwide.
Supposedly, this would be done by implementing a key performance index system (KPI), which outlines a new standard operating procedures from the disposal of waste into garbage trucks, to the occupational safety health regulations-approved uniforms to be worn by workers.
And the one who made the announcement was none other that National Solid Waste Department director-general Datuk Nadzri Yahaya.
Nadzri said that concessionaires collecting waste at homes under city councils would also have to meet certain criteria under the KPI.
For example, new garbage trucks must have the proper facility and capacity to retain the dreaded garbage water as well. Yes, you wouldn't want that spill over you.
Nadzri said the concessionaires' services carried out by the contractors would be monitored by the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation.
He reasoned that the new ceiling rates imposed on the job should correlate with better services.
The ceiling rates of RM8 were imposed to each household under municipal and district councils since last year, while RM14.80 per household in cities would be made effective this September.
"The rates were increased to meet the rising cost of maintenance and waste management services.
"Following the privatisation of waste management last September the current rate was revised subsequently since 1997, which stood at RM3.45.
"So the people can expect better services under the new rate which entails several strict guidelines.
"For example, each garbage truck must collect the waste on time and will have a designated dumping site."
Aha! So he did say the garbage must be collected on time.
Nadzri also said the garbage collectors must put on their uniforms and it is also compulsory for them to wear gloves for their protection.
Two months on, I believe none of these criteria have been met.
The trucks have yet to arrive on time and many of the workers have yet to put their uniforms or gloves.
Being on time and looking professional seems to be an arduous task for some.
I would like to suggest that the concessionaires erect boards on the garbage collection schedule at all residential areas, in order to instil a sense of discipline.
But I guess that too, will be too much to handle for some.
Are the service rates still inadequate to start a positive change?
Are we even serious when it comes to making things better for the people?