The Straits Times
Published on Nov 14, 2012

How will NEA fulfil 'clean trays' promise?


THE National Environment Agency (NEA) says it will make clean trays available at stall counters and tray-return points ("NEA promises new, clean trays when it rolls out self-return scheme"; last Saturday).

How is the agency going to keep its promise?

Cleaning contracts are nearly always awarded to the lowest bidders. To cut costs, these cleaning contractors deploy low-cost foreign workers to collect trays and clean tables.

I have often seen such workers cleaning the tables and used trays with the same dirty and oily cloth.

I hope NEA officers will make more visits to hawker centres to check that hygiene levels are up to scratch.

In fact, the officers should do their checks incognito, to prevent cleaning contractors from assigning more cleaners to work during these visits, only to reduce the number after that.

I have also observed that overflowing trash bins with rubbish scattered around them are a common sight at shopping malls during the evening.

Who is responsible for preventing such occurrences?

Margil Anthony