Voices Of Youth

Forum: Many bins here, but so much littering

Plastics bottles found along the beach near Punggol Jetty, on Jan 2, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

I agree with Professor Tommy Koh that Singaporeans are not yet a First World people (Five tests of a truly First World people, Dec 21).

I agree with all the tests he listed, but I would like to share something I have observed in relation to test No. 1, which highlights Singaporeans' perennial habit of littering.

When I was in South Korea this month for a holiday, I noticed that there were very few dustbins in the streets compared with Singapore. This is also true for Japan, which I visited previously. However, there was hardly any litter.

Despite the dustbins present every few steps in Singapore, one can easily find trash in public areas. Why is it that even with so many dustbins, there is still so much littering?

The problem lies in Singaporeans' mindsets. Many of us are simply too lazy and uncaring towards the environment to walk a few more metres to bin our trash properly.

We are still very far behind in our transition to be an environmentally conscious society.

A paradigm shift is required to curb such behaviour, and I agree with Prof Koh that we should consider the practice of having students clean their own schools instead of employing cleaners. Such habits should be inculcated from an early age.

Ashlyn Chua, 14

Secondary 2 student

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2019, with the headline Forum: Many bins here, but so much littering. Subscribe