Volunteer corps with power to fine litterbugs being considered

Volunteer corps with power to fine litterbugs being considered

Ordinary Singaporeans may be given the power to issue a fine to anyone they catch dropping rubbish, under a plan to get the community more involved in the nation's fight against littering.

The Government is looking at creating an anti-litter volunteer corps from as early as next year.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said his department could enlist and train members of the public and give them the same warrant cards as enforcement officers from the National Environment Agency.

This means they would have the power to issue fines to offenders on the spot.

The present Community Volunteer Programme involves 100 people from civic groups such as the Singapore Environment Council and Cat Welfare Society who have the power only to ask offenders to pick up and bin their rubbish.

If they refuse, volunteers can only take down their particulars.

The current composition fine for littering is up to $300. Recalcitrants can be fined up to $1,000 for the first conviction and up to $5,000 for repeat convictions. They can also be ordered to pick up litter in public for up to 12 hours.

Dr Balakrishnan said the proposal aims to remind everyone to take ownership of the environment. "The real objective of raising a call for volunteers is this sense of empowerment and sense of stakeholding. It's not just about having more people to issue more tickets. That's an almost trivial exercise."

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