Nee Soon South volunteers get training in fight against litterbugs

More than 150 volunteers in Nee Soon South attended a session by the National Environment Agency on how to give evidence against litterbugs.
Nadia Jansen Hassan Channel NewsAsia 10 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: In line with the push to keep the environment clean, a briefing session was held in Nee Soon South on Sunday (Apr 10) to educate volunteers on how to effectively give feedback against litterbugs.

More than 150 volunteers attended the session, which was led by the National Environment Agency (NEA). Tips included ensuring that photographs and videos are clear and sharp, and date-stamped if possible.

Volunteers were also advised to include specific details in their reports. These include location and the type of offence committed, such as littering from high-rise buildings.

The session was held in conjunction with a litter-picking exercise held monthly in Nee Soon South. The programme has been in place since 2012, and sees a minimum of 100 volunteers taking part at each round.

- CNA/rw

Citizens can report litterbugs using several platforms: NEA

SINGAPORE — Residents may think twice about reporting cases of litterbugs to the National Environment Agency (NEA) because they fear that it would be a troublesome process or that they might have to appear in court.

But the NEA sought to clear up these misconceptions with Nee Soon South residents yesterday, when they gathered for the constituency’s monthly litter-picking exercise as part of efforts to keep the estate litter-free.

There are several platforms for residents to report littering cases such as the myENV mobile app and the NEA’s website that clearly spell out the information needed for the report. Those unable to do it online can also call the NEA’s hotline or send the agency a letter, said the NEA.

While these avenues are not new, Member of Parliament for the constituency Dr Lee Bee Wah said it is not well-known among residents. That was why she decided to use the monthly litter-picking session as an opportunity to spread awareness.

“Quite a lot of my residents are aware of their responsibility and some would like to help ... Just depending on NEA enforcement officers (and cleaners) would not help,” said Dr Lee. “I’m sure there are some residents who would like to help identify those hardcore litterbugs. To solve the problem, we need to look into the root cause. It is the hardcore litterbugs that we would like to try to (identify) rather than to keep mobilising NEA officers.”

With the littering problem unabating despite decades of efforts addressing it, laws were passed last month to provide community volunteers with greater enforcement powers to deal with environmental offences, such as issuing warnings and summonses.

When asked if getting residents to report on each other would affect neighbourly ties, Dr Lee said: “I’m sure they are not out there to (target) their neighbours ... They just want to have a clean living environment.”

In cases where further action from the NEA is needed, such as issuing a summons, the resident who made the report would need to meet NEA officials to give a statement of facts. To make it convenient, especially for those who are working, the NEA can make alternative arrangements to meet near the workplace or home.

If the culprit decides to contest the offence in court after a failed appeal, the complainant will need to testify in court. However, the NEA emphasised that this is a rare occurrence.

The NEA also advised residents on how to provide good and accurate feedback such as giving details of the time, location and frequency of the offence, and clear pictures or videos that can identify the culprit’s face.

Nee Soon South residents TODAY spoke to said they were unfamiliar with the process, but would do so if they caught anyone littering. Ms Kristry Tan, 27, a pre-school vice-principal who has been living in the estate for about 10 years, said her block has had several cases of high-rise littering. “It’s about being responsible to the community,” she said.

“You can tell (culprits) not to litter but if they don’t listen, we cannot keep telling them because it might affect our relationship. So it would be good if we can report anonymously,” added Ms Zhang Jian Ping, 33, a nurse who has lived in Nee Soon for five years.

Meanwhile, three dog poo stations, which have plastic bags contributed by the community, were also launched yesterday morning at the N8 Park, following a successful pilot last August. Another 27 stations will be rolled out throughout the constituency by the end of June.

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