I was recently at Albert Centre Market and Food Centre and observed that many of those who finished their meal left their tray at the table and did not bother to take it to the collection point.
As a result, the hawker centre looked dirty, even though it had been recently cleaned.
Despite the years of appeals and education, little progress appears to have been made in getting people to return their trays.
Perhaps a new approach is needed. The authorities could look into implementing a tray rental system.
Anyone who wants to order food would have to pay a nominal fee for a tray.The stallholders will, in turn, accept orders from dine-in patrons only if they are carrying trays.
Once the patrons have finished their meal, the trays as well as used utensils and crockery are to be returned to the designated collection points and the rental fee refunded.
The tray-return point could be manned either by workers or a machine.
As we are striving to become a smart nation, this could be the only way to improve the overall state of cleanliness in our beloved hawker centres in the long run.
Damian Ng Swee Beng