The Straits Times
Published on Sep 16, 2012

Should volunteers be given the power to book litterbugs?

NEA to study idea of conferring such enforcement authority on those from NGOs


One day, someone handing out a summons to a litterbug may not be a government official, but a volunteer from a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

The idea of giving such powers to some quarters of the community has been floated by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan to the National Environment Agency (NEA), which will "study whether we can actually confer enforcement authority on these members of the public". Such a shift would be in keeping with the relaunched Keep Singapore Clean Movement, which is being repositioned as a long-term, community-led initiative.

Speaking on the sidelines of an exhibition at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub for the NEA's 10th anniversary, Dr Balakrishnan said: "I know this will be controversial, so we will definitely consult the public before giving (out) warrant cards.

"We believe that, in fact, we need to reclaim community ownership and community action (over the environment), and that includes enforcement as well."