The Straits Times says

Aiming for cleaner, greener Singapore

Aslew of initiatives that have been launched recently serve as another reminder that keeping Singapore clean is everyone's job. Residents will be encouraged not to litter in their community areas and to dispose of waste properly. Then, a CleanSG Day will see people all over Singapore being cleaners for a day while the real cleaners take a day off to rest. Additionally, a network of interest groups will be set up to not only reduce waste this year, but also make Singapore cleaner and greener than before. The Public Hygiene Council should be commended for these initiatives. Getting Singaporeans to clean up after themselves is an attempt to inculcate social habits that can be commensurate with Singapore's economic success. Citizens must take personal responsibility for public hygiene in a socially advanced nation.

Public attitudes will take time to change. It is said that Singapore is a clean city because it is really a "cleaned city". That distinction draws attention to the presence of 58,000 workers who clean up housing estates, roads, public walkways and waterways every day, to say nothing of the domestic workers who help to keep homes clean. Without them, Singapore might be anything but clean. There is nothing wrong with the employment of cleaners in the public or private spheres: No city can afford to do without them, and it is customary for many homes in other countries to also have someone come in to help tidy up the house. However, the worry is that the presence of a large number of these workers will inure Singaporeans to their dependence on cleaners. What is needed, instead, is greater public awareness of each individual's responsibility for the cleanliness of his immediate surroundings, whether these are community areas or office spaces.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2019, with the headline 'Aiming for cleaner, greener Singapore'. Subscribe