Forum: Get community to take part in regular "pick up litter" exercises

Volunteers pick up rubbish at Pasir Ris beach on June 30, 2018.
Volunteers pick up rubbish at Pasir Ris beach on June 30, 2018.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The new Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment has reaffirmed the Government's commitment to public cleanliness in Singapore (Keeping S'pore clean a priority, says Grace Fu, Aug 22).

What we need is a campaign that would make it second nature for all Singapore residents to keep the country clean, safe and green.

Let's make ours a society of litter pickers, and not leave it to the army of foreign workers to clean up all the time.

Make all students, civil servants, office workers, foreign workers, new citizens, and so on, take part in a "Pick litter in your neighbourhood week".

Make it a regular exercise that involves all government agencies and private sector organisations. Coupled with heavy fines and strict enforcement against littering, in time to come, we will see a society that is conscious of maintaining good social habits, with people willing to speak up and educate others when they encounter anti-social behaviour.

With one third of our population coming from other countries, who bring their own habits and cultures with them, we should have heavy penalties for recalcitrant offenders.

This will show those who do not want to observe our rules and regulations that we mean business, similar to recent tough penalties meted out to foreigners who flouted the circuit breaker rules.

When it becomes second nature for people to dispose of litter properly and clean up after themselves, public hygiene standards will definitely be raised to an acceptable level, and our environment will be safe and green for all. It will also reduce our dependence on foreign workers.

Let's make ours a society of litter pickers, and not leave it to the army of foreign workers to clean up all the time.

Ng Suan Eng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2020, with the headline 'Get community to take part in regular "pick up litter" exercises'. Print Edition | Subscribe