NEA to step up anti-littering enforcement on New Year's eve

Channel NewsAsia 28 Dec 12;

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) is stepping up its anti-littering enforcement at year-end celebratory events, including those in Marina Bay, Orchard Road and other such event sites around Singapore.

NEA says it will deploy nearly 157 enforcement officers at 10 major countdown locations across the island to take action against littering offenders and illegal hawkers.

This is approximately 20 percent more than last year's deployment.

More than 40 officers will patrol countdown events held at the Marina Bay area.

NEA says it will also work with event organisers to implement litter-free initiatives during the countdown celebrations.

At the Marina Bay area, event organisers will be placing more than 280 additional refuse bins on New Year's Eve to encourage party goers to throw their litter responsibly.

The Esplanade Co Ltd will also have their emcees remind the crowd to throw their rubbish into the bins, and deploy about 350 cleaners to restore the area after the events.

Members of the public are reminded to help keep the public areas clean by disposing of their litter into the refuse bins.

From January to November 2012, NEA says it had issued more than 7,800 tickets to littering offenders.

First-time littering offenders who discard minor litter such as sweet wrappers, cigarette butts, parking coupon tabs and others improperly are liable for a $300 composition fine.

Repeat littering offenders and first-time offenders who throw larger items such as plastic bags, food wrappers, drink cups will be sent to court where they may be imposed with a Corrective Work Order (CWO) and/or a fine not exceeding $1,000.

The CWO will require them to carry out public cleaning works for a maximum duration of 12 hours.

- CNA/de

NEA out to stop litterbugs at party spots
But revellers doubt extra patrols will curb littering on New Year's Eve
David Ee Straits Times 29 Dec 12;

REVELLERS at New Year's Eve celebrations may find themselves rubbing shoulders with some unexpected partygoers.

To guard against yet another Jan 1 dawn breaking over littered streets from Orchard Road to Sentosa, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is deploying 20 per cent more plain-clothes officers than last year to patrol party venues.

The 157 officers will be spread out across 10 countdown locations including hot spots like Orchard Road and Marina Bay, but also more far-flung Khatib, Woodlands and Tanjong Rhu.

As in previous years, they have the authority to issue on-the-spot fine tickets to litterbugs.

First-timers may be fined at least $300, while repeat offenders will be summoned to court where they may receive Corrective Work Orders and a fine of up to $1,000.

More than three dozen officers will be monitoring the Marina Bay area alone, where some of the island's biggest countdown parties will take place.

But with record crowds predicted, few expect the measure to make much of a dent in the behaviour of litterbugs.

NEA figures show that just 70 tickets were issued during last year's New Year's Eve - when 300,000 people filled the streets - compared with 74 tickets the year before, despite there having been more trash collected.

"You will never have enough officers," said Mr Liak Teng Lit, head of the Keep Singapore Clean Movement. Just last month he remarked that calling Singapore a clean city was a joke, as the island relies on an army of cleaners to stay that way. "We shouldn't rely on officers... Ten thousand officers would not be enough either. What we need is enough Singaporeans to say that littering is unacceptable behaviour."

He added that if Singaporeans who care set a good example and speak up to chastise the litterers, others would feel pressured to bin their trash responsibly.

Last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on Singaporeans to apply social pressure on litterbugs.

Noting the cleanliness in Japan and South Korea, PM Lee said: "It's most impressive when you go and see their cities - how they have kept it clean. They don't have as many cleaners or foreign workers as we have."

Conversely, said Mr Liak, bad behaviour is contagious: "If people see someone else get away (with littering), they will follow."

This situation is exacerbated at events with large crowds, as litterers believe they are unlikely to be caught, said Mr Jose Raymond, executive director of the Singapore Environment Council.

At recent K-pop and Jennifer Lopez concerts, audiences left the arenas strewn with rubbish.

But stricter enforcement, despite its limitations, does have its merits. "You do need officers to enforce the law and watch the 'ugliest' people," said Mr Liak.

Partygoers The Straits Times spoke to were sceptical that the increase in patrols would make any difference. Ms Linda Jeffri, 38, who works for a home-moving company, said: "It won't stop people littering. The officers can't be everywhere at the same time."

The problem, she said, lay in lazy Singaporeans who "take it for granted that cleaners will clean up after them".

To fix this, start drumming a sense of ownership into children from a young age, said national serviceman Chew Hong Kiat, 18, who intends to celebrate at Clarke Quay.

What will the morning of Jan 1 next year reveal?

"I don't think it is going to change very much," said Mr Liak. "I hope it will improve a little."

Litterbugs nabbed at countdown parties
Kimberly Spykerman Channel NewsAsia 1 Jan 13;

SINGAPORE: Getting a ticket for littering was not the best start to the new year for some party-goers as they were caught in the act.

The party is over and someone has to clean up after the litterbugs.

Some litterbugs got away but some didn't and were nabbed by officers from the National Environment Agency.

They issued 59 tickets to litterbugs this time, mostly for throwing cigarette butts. This was down from the 70 caught in the previous year.

Director of Operations at The Esplanade, Ravi Sivalingam, said: "The large majority of them actually make an effort to clean up after themselves. But of course, you know with any large-scale event, sometimes if the bins are full or if people can't find a bin, it still gets bagged quite neatly but then the bag gets left behind."

Most party-goers said all it takes is a little effort to stay litter-free.

Agnes Tan, who works in the banking industry, said: "We're all well-known for the cleanliness and all, and everyone just takes it for granted that someone will clean up after them."

Siti Salamah, who works as a nurse, suggested that placing more dustbins can help to reduce littering.

Jessica Koa, a secretary, said: "I think there are not many dustbins around here also. That's why people just anyhow put their rubbish over here."

Those caught littering could end up with a fine or a corrective work order slapped on them.

- CNA/fa