SINGAPORE - Unwanted bulky items - such as mattresses and cabinets - left in public areas account for an average of 60 cases of feedback received by the National Environment Agency (NEA) each week. This has raised concern among various Members of Parliament (MPs).
NEA said it has recorded about 2,100 cases of feedback on bulky items discarded in public areas from Jan 1 till Aug 25 this year. These areas include roadsides, pavements and vacant land, and could pose a fire or mosquito-breeding hazard.
"Any improperly discarded item poses health and safety hazards. For instance, items or receptacles which collect water have the potential to become mosquito-breeding grounds," said an NEA spokesman.
In an Aug 27 Facebook post on the MParader page, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong wrote of how Singaporeans are "far from being a gracious and civic-minded people", as private-housing residents in his Marine Parade ward often discard such items indiscriminately to save on getting a contractor to remove them.
He highlighted bulky items, including a sofa and cabinets, which had been discarded at the junction of Fowlie Road and Ceylon Road.
When My Paper visited the estate yesterday, there were no improperly disposed bulky items. But residents said such incidents are common and items can be left uncleared for up to a week.
"I keep quiet when I see people dumping their furniture because I don't want to cause a dispute," said Madam Chong, a 50-year-old housewife who has lived in Fowlie Road for 10 years.
She added: "Besides, they should know the risks themselves."
Another resident in the area, who gave his name only as Mr Eng, said he would pay between $20 and $40 to have a contractor remove bulky items from his home.
"It is a small fee. Those who discard their bulky items indiscriminately are basically just inconsiderate," the 42-year-old said.
The Marine Parade Town Council, which oversees Housing Board estates in Marine Parade GRC, said it receives about 10 complaints on bulky items left in common corridors, at lift landings or at rubbish chutes every month - an increase from one or two in previous years.
"This is likely due to residents being less tolerant and being more aware of who to turn to," said a spokesman for the town council.
Town councils provide a bulky-item removal service, with details varying by estate. As for those living in landed property, NEA suggests that they contact their public waste collectors for disposal of bulky items.
MPs told My Paper that they constantly remind residents to be more mindful when disposing such items because of public- safety issues.
Marine Parade GRC MP Tin Pei Ling said that discarded items in common areas could catch fire from a thrown cigarette butt, and pose harm to residents.
She said that if more (residents) take precautionary measures, they can keep their family members and their neighbours safe.
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