Stricter measures needed to stop litterbugs

Public-spiritedness and being mindful of our actions are values that have still not been internalised by many in Singapore (Take ownership to make Singapore cleaner: Tharman; Nov 5).

This, 50 years after the launch of the Keep Singapore Clean campaign in 1968. Litter, the mess at hawker centres and filthy toilets continue to dominate many of our conversations.

It is a sad but true reflection of how little progress we have made.

All of us have to play our part if we are going to improve.

For instance, parents can help by reinforcing the right habits children are taught in school and not undo them (Have students shadow cleaners for better insight by Ms Wee Hong Jing; Nov 12).

If everyone of us is mindful of our actions, the resulting pleasant environment is one for all to enjoy.

The Public Hygiene Council, which was formed to encourage greater partnership in support of public hygiene, will continue to nudge everyone in Singapore to pick up after himself, put trash into bins and leave a place better than he found it.

We need to close this message on "litter", or what is "clean" or "dirty", and talk instead about doing the right thing - that is, not littering.

While the council's gentle nudges are enough to persuade most to adopt the right behaviour, we recognise that stricter deterrent measures are still needed to manage the irresponsible minority - the recalcitrant litterbugs.

It is our hope that we can live our vision of a Singapore where everyone values cleanliness and keeps public spaces clean.

It really is quite easy - let's start by remembering to hold on to our trash until we find a bin and returning that tray at food centres.

Let's all be kind and keep clean.

Edward D'Silva

Chairman

Public Hygiene Council

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2017, with the headline 'Stricter measures needed to stop litterbugs'. Print Edition | Subscribe