It is commendable that food centres are regularly cleaned to ensure they are kept in good condition.
However, the National Environment Agency (NEA) should be mindful that many working families depend on food centres for their daily meals, and so should ensure that the closure for cleaning does not cause undue inconvenience.
For instance, Ayer Rajah Food Centre in West Coast Drive is closed from Dec 5 to 9.
The nearby food centre in Clementi Town Centre is also closed from Dec 5 to 11.
NEA should have staggered the closures, rather than shutting both of them in the same period.
Food centres also do not need to be closed for such a long time if cleaning companies automate.
At Ayer Rajah Food Centre where cleaning is presently taking place, there was only one scaffold in use and it could not be pushed around because of obstructions by fixed tables and chairs.
So, workers erected the scaffold, climbed up to clean the ceiling lamp, climbed down to dismantle the scaffold, then repeated the process for another lamp.
If a small mobile crane with extendable arm was used, the lamps would probably be cleaned in half a day, and the cleaning of the whole food centre would have taken less than two days.
In the interest of residents, NEA could look at awarding cleaning contracts only to contractors that automate and who will be able to do the work expeditiously.
Ronnie Lim Ah Bee