Why higher manpower costs if waste collection is centralised?

The National Environment Agency's reply ("NEA working to cut cost of waste collection"; Nov 14) does not seem to have addressed Mr Lim Tong Wah's question ("More details needed on waste collection fees"; Nov 9).

Could the NEA elaborate more on the fees recovered from consumers on an overall basis, based on the tendered fees in public waste collectors' contracts?

There are four public waste collectors operating in seven (in future, six) sectors across Singapore. But households pay a uniform fee.

Household waste collection is done door to door or is centralised.

For landed houses and HDB estates built before the 1990s, a bulk bin centre is typically employed, which makes clearing waste a two-man job.

For HDB blocks with a central refuse chute and compactor, it is a one-man job.

There have been more centralised collections in the heartland after the 1990s, thus reducing the reliance on manpower.

This means the rising cost of manpower cannot be a valid reason for raising fees.

The NEA needs to be open about the real costs to justify the increase.

Long Dengyao

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2016, with the headline 'Why higher manpower costs if waste collection is centralised?'. Subscribe