Tray return benefits patrons, cleaners, stallholders

We thank Mr Yeo Kok Siong and Ms Teo Yen Hoon for their letters (Automated tray return system not working well at food centre; and Consider giving hawkers a hardship allowance; both on Sept 22).

We agree that all of us should be considerate and do our part to support tray return, so that we can enjoy a cleaner and more pleasant dining environment.

Returning our trays benefits everyone, including table-cleaners, patrons and stallholders.

With high tray return rates, cleaners can concentrate on cleaning the tables, resulting in a faster turnover of clean tables for the patrons, and stallholders will benefit as they are able to serve more patrons.

Improved cleanliness and a faster turnover of clean tables also remove the issue of birds eating leftover food from unreturned crockery.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is encouraging patrons to return their trays in various ways.

We have installed automated tray return stations at some of our hawker centres and also strive to put these tray return stations at convenient and visible locations.

We have also put up publicity material such as banners and posters, while table-cleaners wear aprons or T-shirts displaying messages to encourage patrons to return their trays.

We believe that with the support and cooperation of stallholders and patrons, we will be able to encourage more diners to return their crockery with trays.

The Government is committed to upholding the role of hawker centres as community dining rooms.

High-volume, low-speed fans and high ceilings are provided at new hawker centres to help maximise natural ventilation and improve working conditions for our hawkers.

For the existing hawker centres, where applicable, high-volume, low-speed fans have been installed, such as at the Tiong Bahru Market and Geylang Serai Market.

We have also implemented various schemes, such as the Hawkers' Productivity Grant to help reduce the manual and repetitive work of hawkers and improve their working conditions.

NEA will continue to work closely with various stakeholders to improve our hawker centres, so as to provide a clean and conducive dining environment for everyone.

We also want to encourage everyone, stallholders and patrons, to work together and help improve the dining experience at our hawker centres.

Ivy Ong (Ms)

Director, Hawker Centres Division

National Environment Agency