Illegal ads licked with anti-stick coating

The sticky issue of illegal ads at MRT stations and along roads, on pillars and lamp posts, is set to be be cut down in size further.

Having already found that anti-stick paint is effective in licking the problem, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has called a tender to apply the solution at 367 island-wide locations, where the advertisements are rife, by 2017.

The tender also calls for anti-stick clear coating with high transparency that can be applied to glass or plastic panels.

Aside from being against the law, these advertisements, which can range in size from Post-It note to A4, leave unsightly stains after being removed. This is especially when strong adhesives are used.

To fight this, the LTA in 2009 began a trial of anti-stick paint at a sheltered linkway leading to Jurong East MRT station. It proved a success.

Since then, the anti-stick paint has been applied at 252 locations. The LTA previously said that the move would help it save about $100,000 a year.

The latest tender will expand the coverage to most places here where complaints about illegal ads are common, said an LTA spokesman.

These locations, which include Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Boon Lay Way, are selected based on the amount of feedback received about ads being stuck on street infrastructure, such as traffic lights, street lights, sign posts and columns at covered linkways and bus shelters.

Besides applying anti-stick paint, the LTA has, since 2010, also introduced 27 notice boards at 21 MRT stations with heavy pedestrian traffic to give people a better option. It costs 50 cents a day to put up an A5-size ad.

The spokesman said there were fewer illegal ads at areas which have notice boards, and anti-stick paint. "These initiatives together with regular enforcement and public education have been effective in preventing the pasting of illegal advertisements on street infrastructure," he explained.

The transport regulator has issued 248 fines for the pasting of illegal advertisements from January to September this year, compared to 454 last year and 674 in 2011.

Offenders can be fined $300 for the first offence, $400 for a repeat offence and up to $2,000 if prosecuted in court.

Town councils also grapple with the problem, but say it remains manageable with officers or cleaners removing illegal ads, which offer a host of services from moneylending to tuition to apartments for rent, during inspections.

Sembawang Town Council general manager Soon Min Sin said more than 50 white boards have been put up at areas with high traffic, such as the neighbourhood centre or certain blocks where illegal ads are a recurring problem.

Posters can put up ads for free on a first-come-first-served basis, and the ads are take down every two weeks or one month.

He said: "Over a period of time, people realise they should use the boards. Sometimes we do see illegal ads, but I wouldn't say it is often."

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