12 coffee shops have applied for Toilet Improvement Programme, says Amy Khor

Public hygiene and cleanliness have been advocated as a key line of defence against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Public hygiene and cleanliness have been advocated as a key line of defence against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE- Twelve coffee shops have applied for a National Environment Agency scheme to co-fund toilet improvement works since it was launched last month.

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, and Transport Amy Khor on Thursday (Nov 19) gave the update on the Toilet Improvement Programme, which will help coffee shop operators install better designs, newer technologies, as well as more effective cleaning measures for toilets in coffee shops.

They can apply to get up to 90 per cent funding, which is capped at $45,000.

Speaking at the Let's Observe Ourselves (LOO) Awards, held to mark World Toilet Day, Dr Khor said keeping toilets clean will also help to strengthen Singapore's resilience against other public health threats, which is why it is important to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and amenities for our public toilets.

And in this area, there is room for improvement, she said.

Dr Khor cited a study by the Singapore Management University earlier this year, in which more than 25 per cent of customers interviewed at coffee shops and hawker centres said they would not use the toilets in these premises.

Also, while 97 per cent of workers in coffee shops and hawker centres said they used the toilets there, more than half said that there was a need to improve the state of the toilets, she added.

That is why the Environmental Public Health Act was amended last month to put in place improvements to environmental sanitation controls and an enforcement of greater responsibility on the owners of these sites, said Dr Khor.

The LOO awards on Thursday acknowledged the contributions of 51 individuals and organisations for the time and effort they put in to help create a cleaner, safer, more pleasant toilet experience for the community.

She added that she hopes these efforts also spur others to practice good hygiene and maintain the cleanliness of toilets.

Six pre-schools received the Platinum award at the ceremony, which was jointly organised by tissue manufacturer APP Commercial and the Restroom Association (Singapore). The award is given to pre-schools that maintain their Happy Toilets @ Preschool Programme certification for three consecutive years.