Parliament: 2,800 cases of high-rise littering reported to NEA last year

There were 2,800 cases of high-rise littering reported to the NEA in 2015.
There were 2,800 cases of high-rise littering reported to the NEA in 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Some 2,800 cases of high-rise littering were reported to the National Environment Agency (NEA) last year, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said in Parliament on Tuesday (March 1).

This was up from the 2,500 cases of feedback the agency received in 2014 and 1,600 cases in 2013.

While no one was killed by killer litter last year, some people were injured after being hit by killer litter, and the police arrested two people over these cases, she added.

Dr Khor was responding to Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC), who asked how many cases of high-rise littering resulted in injuries and deaths, and whether current measures to deter such behaviour are satisfactory.

She said the Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources worked with town councils and grassroots organisations whenever cases were reported, to caution residents against high-rise littering.

In most cases, the situation had improved after these efforts, she added.

But she acknowledged that high-rise litterbugs "are traditionally difficult to apprehend".

To nab persistent high-rise litterbugs, the NEA deploys surveillance cameras once a suitable site has been identified, Dr Khor said.

More than 3,000 such cameras have been deployed since August 2012.

Dr Khor said the NEA took enforcement actions in 800 cases last year, an 80-fold increase compared to 2011, before surveillance cameras were introduced. Those who were prosecuted in court were fined between $700 and $5,600.

Several MPs suggested increasing penalties and naming those involved to deter killer-littering.

Dr Khor said: "Regarding name-and-shame, I think it is something we will monitor and consider."

She also urged Singaporeans to play their part to combat high-rise littering, saying: "While the effective conviction of high-rise litterbugs will serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders, I would like to urge every member of the public to play his part to cultivate social graciousness, good habits, and a sense of shared responsibility for the cleanliness and safety of our neighbourhoods."