Chutes choked up till third floor at Canberra Crescent blocks due to 'refuse collection problem'

Residents living on the lower floors of blocks 131B and 131C said that the common rubbish chutes were choked up for several days since Monday. PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - Lurking cockroaches and used face masks were among foul-smelling trash spilling out of rubbish chutes that greeted some residents in Canberra Crescent at their common corridors earlier this week.

A Sembawang Town Council spokesman said the newly appointed waste collection company had faced a refuse collection problem.

Residents living on the lower floors of blocks 131B and 131C told The Straits Times on Friday (Jan 7) that the common rubbish chutes had been choked up to the third floor for several days from Monday.

"I saw a few cockroaches at the chute area yesterday and there was a rotting smell, though I think someone cleaned it up this morning," said a resident living on the second floor of Block 131C who wanted to be known only as Ms Oh.

"It was quite worrying because I have a newborn baby boy and our unit is near the chute," said Ms Oh, who is 34 and unemployed.

Her neighbour on the same floor, who gave his name as Mr Cheong, 49, said the chutes were "jammed" and could not be opened for around three days.

"Rubbish bins were left there as a temporary solution so that residents didn't have to leave bags of trash on the ground," he said.

Ms Neo, a resident in Block 131B, said: "I suspect no cleaners came to clear it because I didn't see the rubbish truck for the past few days."

Added the second-floor resident who declined to give her full name: "My biggest concern was seeing used face masks sticking out of the chute because that's a common area where the virus might spread."

The town council spokesman said the refuse was collected on Thursday and that it is closely monitoring the situation with the National Environment Agency.

"The overflowing rubbish at Block 131C Canberra Crescent was due to the refuse collection problem faced by the newly appointed public waste collector, which took over the refuse waste collection in Sembawang GRC effective from Jan 1," the spokesman said.

The town council did not respond to queries on what the refuse collection problem was.

When ST visited the two blocks between 4pm and 5.30pm on Friday, the rubbish chute areas were clean and there was no stench.

Correction note: The Sembawang Town Council has clarified that the newly appointed public waste collection company was appointed by the National Environment Agency.

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