Efforts to keep public toilets clean

We thank Mr Yeow Hwee Ming for his feedback on public toilets at MRT stations and hawker centres ("Clean up toilets at hawker centres, MRT stations"; Forum Online, Oct 14).

We agree that clean public toilets reflect well on Singapore and that public education can help promote good habits and practices to keep these toilets clean.

The National Environment Agency (NEA), together with the Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS) and other partners such as the Public Hygiene Council, has been working closely with premises owners in this regard.

For instance, educational posters and stickers are displayed in public toilets to remind users to practise proper toilet etiquette and be considerate to other users.

This includes flushing the toilet after use, keeping the toilet seat clean, keeping the floor dry and binning all litter.

Since 2010, RAS has been organising Let's Observe Ourselves carnivals at shopping malls islandwide to raise public awareness of how people can help keep toilets clean.

RAS also has an active outreach programme through schools to inculcate socially responsible behaviour in our students, and has engaged more than 150 pre-schools and 200 schools to date.

In addition, the Happy Toilet Programme, which aims to raise the standard of public toilets throughout Singapore by awarding them star ratings, has been adopted by many public toilet operators who wish to enhance the user experience. More than 50 hawker centres and 20 MRT stations have been accredited to date.

Maintaining clean public toilets, especially those with high usage, can be a challenging but not insurmountable task.

Some operators have shown how even the busiest toilets can be kept clean through an effective maintenance and inspection regime, as well as by providing basic toilet amenities, such as toilet paper, liquid soap, hand dryers (or paper towels), and keeping water cisterns, taps and litter bins in good working order.

Users also play a part by being considerate to others, and keeping the toilet clean for the next user.

NEA will continue to work with the various stakeholders and service providers to improve the cleanliness of public toilets.

We welcome feedback, and members of the public can call the NEA 24-hour call centre on 1800-2255632 or e-mail Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg

Tony Teo

Director

Environmental Public Health Operations

National Environment Agency

Emerson Hee

Executive Director

Restroom Association (Singapore)