Keeping Singapore clean requires a lifetime commitment

We are heartened to learn that Mayor of North East District Teo Ser Luck is taking the lead to roll out a new anti-littering programme ("Punggol carnival encourages residents to save the planet"; ST Online, March 5), which would create awareness and action on a daily basis, together with the Public Hygiene Council (PHC).

To quote Mr Teo: "It will be done in a way that is no pressure, a little bit fun, but is on an everyday basis."

We also agree with Mr Kwan Jin Yao's comment ("No quick fix to littering woes"; March 11) that students should be involved in the upkeep of the environment.

In the recent announcement by the Ministry of Education, all students (from primary to junior college levels) will be involved in the daily cleaning of their school environment by the end of this year.

The PHC supports this initiative to inculcate these values in students - that keeping the environment clean is everyone's responsibility, as it develops the habit of cleaning up after themselves.

Most importantly, parents should also reinforce these values and behaviour at home.

This will help amplify the efforts, and establish this as the new social norm and behaviour for a clean Singapore.

The PHC also welcomes the recent passing of the Bill to allow individuals to sign up as Community Volunteers.

Through this programme, we can leverage community pressure for greater deterrence against littering offenders.

Such initiatives will encourage more volunteers to step forward and foster greater community ownership of our environment and advocacy for a truly clean Singapore.

To involve everyone in Singapore and demonstrate their support for a truly clean Singapore, the PHC will be coordinating the annual islandwide Operation WE Clean Up! on May 8, in support of the Keep Singapore Clean Movement.

More information can be found at

There is no magic bullet to keep Singapore clean.

It is a journey that requires a lifetime commitment and collective action from the community as well as its stakeholders.

Edward D'Silva
Public Hygiene Council

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2016, with the headline 'Keeping S'pore clean requires a lifetime commitment'. Print Edition | Subscribe