Challenges in reward system for catching litterbugs

While the suggestion by MP Lee Bee Wah is a noble one, there are practical issues that need to be considered ("Get rewarded for catching a litterbug?"; yesterday).

Unless a litterbug is caught in a video throwing a piece of litter, there is no way to prove he committed the act. A photo of a person standing next to a piece of litter is not concrete evidence.

The National Environment Agency must provide a facility for people to upload video clips.

I previously reported a traffic offence and, to submit my video clip, I had to burn it into a DVD to send to the Traffic Police. The need to burn a DVD is a demotivating factor.

Catching a smoker smoking in a prohibited area will be a lot easier to prove; as long as the smoker is holding a lit cigarette in the area, he has broken the law, hence, photo evidence is sufficient.

I encounter smokers smoking at bus stops, overhead bridges and non-designated seats at coffee shops every day, yet there is no way to bring these offenders to justice. Ms Lee's idea should be extended to include such smoking violations.

The reward system is not a big motivating factor and may not make a big difference, as the public is generally civic-minded enough to report an offence if they can do it in a convenient way.

Vincent Ong Kok Lam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'Challenges in reward system for catching litterbugs'. Print Edition | Subscribe