Forum: We need to set cleanliness standards so visitors will follow

Two passers-by looking at some litter left on the Alexandra Arch bridge, on Jan 31, 2015.
Two passers-by looking at some litter left on the Alexandra Arch bridge, on Jan 31, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore has strengths in economic growth, infrastructure, racial harmony, civil order, safety and other areas.

And we may be a tolerant and gracious society (Singapore has strengths that are lacking in other First World countries; S'poreans are tolerant and gracious; Civic-mindedness the real gauge of a First World people, all Dec 24, 2019; Lack of civic-mindedness apparent in Singapore, Dec 27, 2019, and To make S'pore cleaner and more gracious, start with yourself, Jan 6).

These are indeed hallmarks of a First World country. But, when it comes to being civic-conscious and keeping our public spaces clean, we are lacking.

Showing concern for the public good - when we keep Singapore clean, keep public toilets clean and care for the environment - is important in the development of any country.

We should strive to be like Japan or Taiwan, where everyone is civic-minded.

And yes, it starts with ourselves.

We have to educate our own people first. Only then can we set the standard for visitors here to follow.

This is all the more critical when our population keeps changing so quickly.

The Public Hygiene Council is launching the National CleanSG Day initiative on April 26.

Town councils will stop cleaning for a day to show just how dirty our housing estates and neighbourhoods can become if we throw our rubbish indiscriminately instead of into trash bins.

We hope this will stop the habit of littering. If we all play our part in helping to keep our public spaces clean, this will be another hallmark of a First World country.

Edward D'Silva

Chairman

Public Hygiene Council

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'We need to set cleanliness standards so visitors will follow'. Print Edition | Subscribe