New social norm needed to tackle littering problem

SINGAPORE - We thank the many readers who shared their thoughts on public cleanliness ("Carrot-and-stick way to curb littering" by Mr Toh Cheng Seong, "Take public feedback seriously" by Ms Ng Suan Eng, "Adopt proactive approach to tackling littering scourge" by Mr John Chan Kok Heng, "When other measures don't work..." by Dr Jerry Tan, "No need to dangle carrot in anti-littering drive" by Mr Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan and "Unsightly mess after National Education show" by Ms Jong Ching Yee; all published on July 19 and July 24).

While the majority of Singaporeans are gracious, act responsibly and do their part to keep the surroundings clean, there are still some who continue to litter and dirty our environment.

To tackle the littering problem effectively, a new social norm is needed where society frowns upon littering as a socially unacceptable act, and where members of the public proactively remind litterbugs to dispose of their litter properly.

Towards this end, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will continue to work with stakeholders to establish and foster in our community the right values of keeping our environment clean, and to encourage a ground-up movement that translates these values into action.

We will also continue our enforcement efforts against litterbugs and enhance the quality of our cleaning services in support of a clean environment.

The NEA also conducts regular roadshows at foreign workers' dormitories to raise awareness of acceptable social norms, such as that of not littering. We also engage foreign workers through educational materials in various languages and briefings conducted by their supervisors.

All of us in Singapore want to live in a clean city, and not just a cleaned city, and each of us as an individual and a member of the community has an important role to play to ensure that.

Tai Ji Choong

Director, Environmental Health Department

National Environment Agency

This article was first published on August 9, 2014.
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