Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Littering in Singapore: Stiffer penalties and more visible punishments for litterbugs

The National Environment Agency will increase the fines for litterbugs and implement the existing corrective work orders (a scheme whereby litterbugs are ordered to clean up public areas) in streets with heavier traffic, part of its bid to curb the ever-increasing littering problem in Singapore. More litter-bins will be added to public places while public education against littering will continue.

I believe the measures will only achieve limited success as littering is really a personal habit. The new measures, which are just strengthened existing measures will only deter litterbugs from littering in places with heavier traffic such as in shopping areas for fear that an enforcement officer be in ‘ambush’. In places with no or few people nearby, I think the natural instinct for litterbugs is to chuck their litter onto the floor even though a litter bin may be just nearby. Hence I believe the authorities should send enforcement officers, in plain clothes, to places with lesser human traffic such as the void decks and target the litterbugs in these places too to send the message that: “Litterbugs are everywhere but we are also everywhere!”

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