Adding more cleaners not the answer to litter problem

We thank Mr Shah Pakri for his feedback and agree that tackling the littering problem is key to maintaining the cleanliness of our public spaces ("Litter still a big problem"; Forum Online, April 6).

We cannot be adding more cleaners to clean up the mess that we leave behind.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) takes a multi-pronged approach in working towards a cleaner Singapore.

This comprises encouraging the binning of litter as a value and social norm, supporting ground-up movements against littering, and stepping up enforcement against the small number of persistent litterbugs, in addition to enhancing our cleaning services.

NEA works closely with our 3P partners (people, public and private sectors), including those from the Keep Singapore Clean Movement and the Public Hygiene Council, to rally members of the community to take greater ownership of our environment and establish positive social norms.

A key message in our education efforts, such as the Keep Singapore Clean Campaign, is that of encouraging residents to treat public spaces like their own homes.

While the majority of Singaporeans act responsibly and do their part to keep the surroundings clean, there is a minority who continue to dirty our environment.

To enhance deterrence, the NEA has imposed stiffer penalties on recalcitrant offenders.

Littering offenders may be liable for a $300 composition fine, or prosecution in court, where they may face a maximum fine of $10,000 for third and subsequent convictions.

The court may also impose a corrective work order, requiring offenders to clean public areas for up to 12 hours.

NEA has also stepped up enforcement efforts against littering, to increase the likelihood of catching litterbugs.

Last year, the number of tickets issued for littering was more than 26,000, a 33 per cent increase from 2014.

Everyone has a part to play in upholding high standards of cleanliness and public health.

Tony Teo

Director

Environmental Public Health Operations

National Environment Agency