Orange Heroes turn trash into public art with a message

Getting rid of trash in non-designated areas is not only unsanitary and unsightly, but the litter also has a negative impact on the environment and wild animals – take for instance this monitor lizard who got a tin can stuck on its head. But there are always individuals who try to raise awareness in creative ways to get people to stop littering, including this teen who picked up trash for 23 days as a challenge on his birthday.

Garbage collectors in Penang have now joined the fray by clearing up a roadside area in Seberang Perai that had become an illegal dumpsite. And instead of just clearing the trash, they creatively made public art out of the reclaimed trash to redecorate the space and educate locals on proper trash disposal.

Roadside gets a makeover to curb illegal dumping

The story was shared on Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai’s (MBSP) Facebook page on 12th August 2020 to bring awareness to the fact that some people were dumping their trash on the side of the road. The post comprised of a series of photos, including a “before” photo taken on 6th July that showed a hill of garbage piled up on the side of a road in a neighbourhood.

Orange Heroes in Penang - illegal dumpsite
Image adapted from: Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai

In response, MBSP’s garbage collectors cleaned up the illegal dumpsite and even took it upon themselves to repurpose some of the trash into “public art”. They also took the chance to educate those in the area that the consequences of illegal garbage dumping include a maximum fine of RM2,000 and a 1-year imprisonment if you are found guilty of dumping rubbish in public spaces.

Showcasing their creativity, the team of garbage collectors, dubbed “Orange Heroes” for what they have been doing, made the public art pieces from old bicycle tires that were painted red, yellow, and blue. These were then arranged to seal off the roadside area to deter future illegal dumping. 

Orange Heroes in Penang - colourful tires
Image credit: Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai

The Orange Heroes also painted signs that said “Do not throw garbage here” as a public service announcement. They even included Malaysia’s national flower, the hibiscus, as a decorative piece on the signage pole.

Orange Heroes in Penang - decorations
Image adapted from:
Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai

When all the pieces were put together, the dumpsite that was once an eyesore became a colourful little spot.

Orange Heroes in Penang - before and after
Before and after pictures of the same spot which had once been an illegal dumping site
Image adapted from:
Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai

Other areas around Seberang Perai that illegal dumping had been seen at were also given the same colourful treatment. This spot at Jalan Lampam even has what looks to be an Astro dish repurposed into a signage with the same “Don’t throw trash here” message. 

Orange Heroes in Penang - astro dish
Image adapted from: Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai

Netizens cheer on their good efforts

The efforts of these Orange Heroes have garnered the appreciation of netizens, who flooded MBSP’s Facebook post with a sea of “Terbaik-s” to commend their efforts.

Orange Heroes in Penang - FB comment
Image adapted from: Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai

Another user, Siew Ang, commented, “Creative and nice. Thank you [MBSP for making] the environment clean and nice.”

Orange Heroes in Penang - FB comment
Image adapted from: Siew Ang

Nurezzati Azmi also added, “So creative these Orange Hero abangs. That’s such beautiful decor.”

   Orange Heroes in Penang - FB comment Image adapted from: Nurezzati Azmi

Orange Heroes clear up and decorate illegal dumping site

Our garbage collectors’ job may be to clear up our trash, but illegal dumping only makes their job harder while causing the environment to become messy and unsanitary. So these Orange Heroes in Penang who are cleaning up the environment for the public and making the space look beautiful while at it have nothing but our greatest appreciation.

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Cover image adapted from: Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai


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