For some, the action's after the show

When the last of the fireworks disappear from the skies tomorrow and as crowds disperse in a post-National Day Parade high, more than 200 volunteers will spring into action.

The volunteers from the Keep Singapore Clean Movement will be holding up trash bags to ease the load on the bins at Marina Bay Sands and the Esplanade, where those without tickets to the parade are expected to congregate.

This will help prevent the bins from overflowing, said administrative officer Jonathan Lim, 33, who is one of the volunteers.

Armed with gloves and litter-pickers and dressed in red-and-white T-shirts, the volunteers will double up as "eco-ambassadors" to encourage party-goers to dispose of their rubbish in a bin.

"For a green city like Singapore, we should not have people picking up after us. We should always have the mindset to clean up after ourselves. We tend to forget at times, so as ambassadors, we can be the 'mother' to remind the spectators to keep our country clean," added Mr Lim.

This is the first time volunteers will be involved in clean-up operations for the National Day Parade. For the parade's previews and National Education shows, about 15 tonnes of waste was generated per full show. It is estimated that the shows together generate at least 70 tonnes of waste per year. Of this, about 30 tonnes is recycled.

The problem of littering was in the spotlight earlier this year following Facebook posts from politicians, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who commented on the amount of rubbish left behind by 13,000 concert-goers at the Laneway Festival at Gardens by the Bay.

During the Budget debate in March, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said that the ministry will look at ways to get people to clean up after themselves at major events, including the NDP.

Volunteers for tomorrow's clean-up were recruited mainly from organisations such as Singapore Glove Project, a community movement to keep Singapore clean.

The clean-up is part of the Keep Singapore Clean movement led by the Public Hygiene Council, the Singapore Kindness Movement and the Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement, and is supported by the National Environment Agency.

Project engineer Jack Nay, 30, is another volunteer who will be making his rounds at the Esplanade tomorrow. He also helped to pick up trash at the National Day Parade preview last Saturday.

"Since I managed to win the ballot for the tickets to the preview, I thought I would do my part to help keep Singapore clean," said Mr Nay, one of about 20 volunteers who stayed back after the preview.

Their efforts have already borne fruit. Volunteers at last week's preview spotted people bagging their own trash. "Some even came over and thanked us for what we did," said Mr Nay.

Public Hygiene Council chairman Edward D'Silva said: "A truly clean Singapore can be realised only when all of us take action to care for the environment."

This article was first published on August 8, 2015.
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