New hygiene campaign zeroes in on litterbugs

Dirty Litter Secrets drive targets those who litter out of convenience, when no one looking

Describing litter as a "haven for disease-carrying pests", Public Hygiene Council chairman Edward D'Silva said that Singapore cannot be overly reliant on the 59,000 cleaners employed islandwide. ST FILE PHOTO
Describing litter as a "haven for disease-carrying pests", Public Hygiene Council chairman Edward D'Silva said that Singapore cannot be overly reliant on the 59,000 cleaners employed islandwide. ST FILE PHOTO

Good hygiene habits, like not littering, can help safeguard public health beyond Covid-19.

To tackle the problem of would-be litterbugs, the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) launched the Dirty Litter Secrets campaign yesterday, targeting individuals who litter out of convenience or when no one is watching.

The campaign highlights the effect that litter has on the environment and public health, and is part of a larger effort by PHC to steer Singapore towards a Zero Litter Nation.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said Singaporeans need to do their part to maintain public cleanliness.

"This includes disposing of food waste, used tissues, masks and unwanted items properly in bins, and not littering," he added.

As Singapore undergoes its phased reopening, he said, it is important that people continue to observe good personal hygiene and safe distancing.

"These good habits will help to safeguard public health in the long term, beyond the Covid-19 crisis," added Mr Masagos.

A survey last year by the Singapore Management University showed that two in five Singapore residents had littered or disposed of garbage inappropriately when they were alone.

The Public Cleanliness Satisfaction Survey involved more than 2,000 respondents.

At the launch, the PHC released a video on its Facebook page that shows a young couple being stalked by an unseen character as they litter in various places.


Zero Litter Nation posters will be put up across 25,000 lift lobbies in public housing
estates in partnership with various town councils. PHOTO: PUBLIC HYGIENE COUNCIL

That unseen character is later revealed to be a rat, which was attracted by the litter.

Describing litter as a "haven for disease-carrying pests", PHC chairman Edward D'Silva said that Singapore cannot be overly reliant on the 59,000 cleaners employed islandwide.

"What we can learn from the current pandemic is that everyone plays a role in limiting the spread of diseases through good hygiene practices."

To further educate the public, posters bearing the Zero Litter Nation message will also be put up across 25,000 lift lobbies in public housing estates in partnership with various town councils.

The PHC is Singapore's national body leading the Keep Singapore Clean Movement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2020, with the headline 'New hygiene campaign zeroes in on litterbugs'. Subscribe