What more can be done to keep littering at bay?

Hefty fines, Corrective Work Orders (CWOs) to shame litterbugs, as well as many years of educational campaigns... yet, Singapore is still plagued by rubbish woes.

What more can be done to banish the problem to the bins?

Make litterbugs pay more...

Retired executive vice-president of marketing Lawrence Loh suggested in a letter to The Straits Times Forum Page last Wednesday
that the National Environment Agency embark on a study to identify the sources of littering, followed by a public education campaign.

When contacted, Mr Loh, 65, said that although the fines have been made stiffer, many may not be aware of them.

"Perhaps it is a question of enforcement, as not enough are being caught... More publicity of those prosecuted for littering may deter others from doing so," he said.

Bank analyst Jason Ng, 24, said the litterbugs need to be shamed more. "They should be made to do Corrective Work Orders in the Central Business District, or at crowded places during the weekends," he said.

...or rope them in

Mr Tham Tuck Meng, 42, a teacher, suggested in his letter to The Straits Times that the authorities beef up anti-littering enforcement at big events.

He later told this newspaper that CWOs may not work as ingrained habits are hard to change. The offenders may also feel unfairly penalised and may litter even more.

Instead, litterbugs could be tasked to lead anti-littering outreach campaigns.

"That will bring them over to the side of the enforcement authorities," he said.

Setting the standard

Mr Eugene Heng, founder and chairman of green group Waterways Watch Society which conducts clean-up and environmental activities, suggested a school syllabus on anti-littering that sets the standards for a green city.

He said: "We should have a... designated class every week that teaches students what is littering, much like how we teach kids how to brush their teeth.

"You and I can both think we are clean but have different standards, and they might not be right."

Students could also watch an educational video that features a day in the life of a cleaner, said research coordinator Jeremy Heng, 26.

He added: "The video could feature an elderly cleaner or a foreign worker, and they can see how thankless but significant their roles are."

Groceries for cleanliness

Ms Tan Lin Neo, 57, a sales associate, said town councils could consider issuing grocery vouchers to households located in the cleanest housing estates.

Reducing packaging waste

Mr Lee Yong Se, 32, who works in the social sector, said reducing waste, such as plastic bags and receipts, is one way to curb the littering habit.

"Many people take plastic bags to line their bins at home, but how much trash is actually produced, so much so that it is necessary to keep a stockpile of plastic bags at home?"


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