Survey of Potential Health Risk of Rubbish Collectors from the Garbage Dump Sites in Kelantan, Malaysia


  • E. R. Aweng Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK)
  • C. C. Fatt


garbage collectors, demographic profile, garbage dump site, health risk, descriptive statistical, Kelantan


Landfill is a traditional method for solid waste disposal used throughout Malaysia including Kelantan and landfill is a place for the poor to earn their living.  Some of them depend 100%, some of them do it as a part time job to earn extra income.  Due to unhygienic working environment, rubbish collectors may be exposed to various type of diseases and landfill hazards.  Hence, this study aims to investigate the potential health risk faced by garbage collectors from the landfill sites in Kelantan.  Interviews were carried with 50 respondents based on a structured questionnaire crafted to capture the demographic characteristics and potential health risk.  A descriptive statistical method was used to describe demographic profiles of respondents and to analyze potential health risk faced by respondents.  Out of 50 respondents, 47 of them were locals (Malaysians), two Burmese and one Indonesian. They were 33 males and 17 females. Majority of the respondents were from the age group of 20 to 29 where 8 (16%) of them were still single while 42 (84%) were married.   Among the married respondents, 8 (16%) of them have no children, 12 (24%) have one to two children, 13 (26%) have three to four children and 17 (34%) have more than four children.  Majority of the respondents had from primary education. There provided a few reasons of why they were involved in rubbish collecting.  17 (34%) respondents said that it was a source of income, nine (18%) respondents answered as self- employment, 21 (42%) respondents said that it was for an extra income, while, three respondents said that they took over (continued) the work from their parents.    There were 29 respondents (58%) who worked around three to four hours per day, 17 respondents (34%) worked around five to six hours per day, and four respondents (8%) worked more than six hours per day. The study also showed that, 37 of surveyed garbage collectors have ever suffered from twisted ankle, 36 of garbage collectors often suffered from backache, 35 of garbage collectors have ever injured by sharp object and 30 of garbage collectors often suffered from sore throat, cough, and fever. It also showed that 19 of garbage collectors have ever suffered from respiratory disease while 14 of garbage collectors have ever suffered from skin disease. In conclusion, garbage collectors faced tremendous health challenge. Garbage collectors with higher years of experiences have higher chances of getting skin disease and respiratory disease such as shortness of breath. The results also showed that the risk of injured by sharp object decreased with the increase in education level of garbage collectors. It is hoped that through this study, the local authority will recognise garbage collectors as a job for the poor to earn their livelihood and develop proper mechanism to address the issue related to their health risk.



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How to Cite

Aweng, E. R., & Fatt, C. C. (2014). Survey of Potential Health Risk of Rubbish Collectors from the Garbage Dump Sites in Kelantan, Malaysia. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 2(1). Retrieved from