Forum: Inspections stepped up to ensure public toilets are kept clean

We thank Mr Seah Jin Wah for his letter (Ensure adequate washing facilities in public toilets, Jan 30).

Public toilet operators play a key role in facilitating good hand-washing habits. Operators are legally required to equip public toilets with basic amenities such as an adequate supply of liquid soap, toilet paper, hand dryers or paper towels, and litter bins, and maintain them in good working order.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) conducts regular checks on public toilets to ensure compliance with these regulatory requirements.

In view of the current 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation, NEA has conducted, to date, over 350 additional toilet inspections at publicly accessible places such as shopping malls, transport interchanges, markets and hawker centres. These additional inspections are over and above ongoing monthly checks on public toilets. When lapses and defects, such as faulty taps, are detected, cleaning contractors and facilities managers are alerted to rectify them immediately.

NEA is also working with various stakeholders to ensure that public toilets are kept clean and sanitary. This includes working with the Singapore Food Agency for the inspection of public toilets at food establishments to ensure that operators and cleaning contractors step up their cleaning efforts and implement measures to upkeep good public hygiene.

Sanitation and hygiene advisories have also been sent to stakeholders of premises with high public access, such as hotels and transport operators, town councils, and managing agents of private and commercial buildings, to take strong measures to maintain high standards of sanitation and public health in their premises. Measures for toilet cleanliness include:

• Regularly disinfect frequently touched areas such as water taps, door/ towel/ cistern handles, seats and cover flaps, wash basins, door knobs, buttons and switches with disinfectant.

• Ensure the provision of an adequate supply of liquid soap, toilet paper and paper towels or hand dryer at all times.

• Ensure the toilet-flushing apparatus is functioning at all times.

• Ensure that all sanitary pipes and fittings are in good working condition.

As NEA steps up efforts to support owners and operators of premises to maintain good public health, we urge collective efforts by all stakeholders to intensify existing sanitation and hygiene measures, to safeguard the well-being of occupants and visitors coming through their premises.

Tony Teo

Director, Environmental Public Health Operations

National Environment Agency