NEA received 5,200 complaints about high rise litter last year

Last year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) received 5,200 complaints about high rise litter, compared to 4,500 in 2010.

Killer litter - items thrown from flats which could injure or kill passers-by - has always been a public safety issue.

A wide range of household items that are potential killer litter objects include flower pots, incense burners and religious urns placed on bamboo pole holders, on parapet walls, or on window ledges, and hung from corridor ceilings.

Awareness campaigns

The authorities began public awareness campaigns on killer litter in the late 1970s, after a two-year-old girl was killed by a falling tricycle wheel in 1976.

In 2005, enforcement measures were ramped up following a new spate of killer litter incidents in Bukit Batok, Sengkang and Tanjong Pagar.

Residents who repeatedly refused to heed requests to remove potentially harmful items would be served with a summons, either by the HDB or the town council, and fined up to $2,000.

One flat was repossessed in 2005 under these circumstances, an HDB spokesman had told The Straits Times in a report in 2009.

Some recent cases:

Last month, a woman who was believed to be mentally unsound, was arrested after she went on a five-hour rampage and threw her personal belongings like photographs, boxes, files, certificates, books and an alarm clock, out of her eighth-storey flat at Block 327, Hougang Avenue 5.

In May 2010, an office administrator was jailed five weeks for throwing a bottle of chilli sauce from her 16th-floor flat in Sengkang.

In December 2009, a hotel trainee manager was struck on the head by a flowerpot, when he attended a wedding at Block 206D, Compassvale Lane in Sengkang.

He was warded at Changi General Hospital with fractures to his head and injuries to his face.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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