WITH the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources planning to build more hawker centres ("10 more hawker centres to be built"; last Thursday), I urge it to give more careful thought to the design of the tray-return and cutlery washing areas.
Currently, the tray-return shelves are placed in areas meant for patrons to walk in.
The shelves reduce the space, making the hawker centre more congested. They are also a hazard as the shelves can be toppled over.
The area around the shelves is usually the dirtiest part of a hawker centre. The leftover food also attracts pests.
These shelves are a stop-gap measure for the problem of dirty and uncleared tables.
To solve the problem, I suggest that centralised washing areas be created.
In each row of stalls, one stall can be used as a dedicated tray-return counter.
It is reasonable to expect patrons to return their trays to the counter, which will do away with the need for manual labour to clean up after them.
Without cleaners pushing around trolleys to clean the tables and tray-return shelves, a lot more space can be freed up and hawker centres will have a much nicer environment.
Ong Khoon Keat
This article was first published on March 16, 2015.
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