Almost 400 people on board NEA's Community Volunteer programme: Masagos

Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: About 380 people have come on board the National Environment Agency’s Community Volunteer scheme, with 100 others having expressed an interest to join. Environment and Water Resources Minister, Masagos Zulkifli provided this update in a written response to Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Assoc Prof Daniel Goh.

Most of the volunteers are members of environment-related non-government organisations, but Mr Masagos said non-members who meet the strict criteria and fulfil training requirements can also be appointed.

As volunteers, members are empowered to engage and educate litterbugs and those who commit environment-related offences. The volunteers "adopt" specific locations which they monitor and participate in activities such as litter-picking.

Mr Masagos said the primary role of the volunteers is to encourage individuals to take responsibility for the environment. As such, they will not have the authority to enforce summonses. Mr Masagos said that with the passing of NEA’s Miscellaneous Amendments Bill earlier this year, volunteers can instead use their authority cards to request the particulars of people found to have committed offences such as smoking at prohibited places, spitting and even leaving the engine of a stationary vehicle running.

Mr Masagos said: “Through the Community Volunteers programme, we hope that more people will learn to take ownership of the environment.” He said caring for the environment is a shared responsibility to ensure a clean and liveable Singapore.

- CNA/mo

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