Onus on everyone to keep Singapore clean

Volunteers picking up litter at East Coast Park.
Volunteers picking up litter at East Coast Park.PHOTO: ST FILE

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor spoke in Parliament about the problem of high-rise littering and the measures taken by the Government to punish offenders and deter potential culprits (7,700 cases of high-rise littering in past three years, Sept 4).

The Public Hygiene Council agrees with Dr Khor and supports the Government in its public engagement efforts.

Some of our longstanding outreach programmes include daily cleaning and Character and Citizenship Education classes in schools, as well as regular beach, park and community clean-up activities.

More recently, we piloted the Sustainable Bright Spot programme in 12 housing estates, where residents conduct regular clean-up of their estates, and we hope this will one day be done in all housing estates.

We are also reaching out to parents through the talks that the Singapore Kindness Movement is conducting in pre-schools, so that they will in turn teach their children good hygiene habits.

Leading by example are our "Litter-Free" ambassadors, who encourage everyone in their communities to keep their shared spaces clean.

However, as I have reiterated many times before, the onus is on every individual - regardless of educational and economic background - to play his or her part in helping to keep Singapore clean. Paid cleaners can only do so much. It will never end if we keep littering every time after they clean up.

Positive social norms cannot be cultivated unless each and every one of us makes it a habit to bin litter properly, return food trays at hawker centres and foodcourts, and simply be courteous, considerate and civic-minded. Only then can Singapore be a liveable city with a First World society.

Edward D' Silva

Chairman

Public Hygiene Council

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2019, with the headline 'Onus on everyone to keep Singapore clean'. Print Edition | Subscribe