People who claim they litter because the rubbish bins are always full may not have that excuse for much longer.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has started a pilot project to fit bins with sensors that can detect their fullness and track whether waste collectors are doing their jobs properly. The "litter bin management system" could also help the collectors to quickly empty full bins and identify areas that may need more of the bins.
According to government procurement website Gebiz, NEA awarded local start-up Mobiquest a contract worth nearly $1.5 million at the end of January to install and manage a system to monitor the locations of up to 10,000 bins and the fullness of an estimated 250 bins.
The contract also included payment for four years of maintenance and other services related to the system.
When asked yesterday, Mobiquest declined to provide details on the project.
In its tender documents for the contract, NEA said it wanted the system to be able to "track and map the locations of litter bins, and to monitor the activities of the agency's cleaning service providers".
The Straits Times understands that the waste collectors' work could be tracked using sensors on the bins that correspond to an application on, say, their mobile phones.
This could tell NEA when the collectors were near the bins, and whether they were following their cleaning schedules.
NEA also wanted to be able to detect the bins' fullness so it could monitor both the collectors' performance as well as the public's use of the bins.
Environmentalists here said they hoped bins in places with high human traffic, such as bus interchanges, would have the fullness detection sensors as littering typically occurs in those areas.
Melissa Tan, chairman of the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore, said such sensors could be used to help alleviate labour shortages in the waste collection industry.
"This technology could help us to deploy manpower only when the bin is full. The public waste collectors now do daily collection for Housing Board blocks but sometimes that's not necessary," she said.
Separately, Mobiquest will showcase its smart waste management system, which also has other features, at next month's CommunicAsia2015, EnterpriseIT2015 and BroadcastAsia2015.
The three events at the Marina Bay Sands from June 2 to 5 are expected to have about 1,800 exhibitors from 56 countries and regions. Entry to the exhibitions is free. The spotlight this year is on smart technologies to better connect cities, governments, firms and people.
Other technologies at the events will include DFRC Singapore's City Analyser, which uses sensors that measure mobile phone signals to collect anonymous data about crowd movements and behaviour.
Businesses and governments can use it to better understand people's habits and preferences.
Singapore firm Skyshot will also launch its TBox Titan, a first-of-its-kind armoured and weather-proof time-lapse camera system.
Get MyPaper for more stories.