2024 to be the year of public hygiene, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

2024 to be the year of public hygiene

To ensure that Singapore maintains high levels of cleanliness for a clean, green and resilient future, 2024 has been designated the year of public hygiene, with a suite of measures being implemented – from possibly publicising photos of litterbugs to improving the state of public toilets.

Speaking at her ministry’s budget debate on March 4, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said: “Sustaining high levels of public hygiene requires active participation of all of us. The Government, businesses, communities and individuals must all work together to contribute to a clean environment, safe food, clean air and clean water.”

The environmental industry will be supported with additional capacity building and technology adoption to help strengthen enforcement efforts, said Ms Fu.

For example, to manage littering, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will increase the frequency and scale of anti-littering enforcement blitzes – with plans to conduct around five times as many exercises compared with 2023, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment Baey Yam Keng.

Uniformed officers will patrol these hot spots and put up signs on enforcement action taken, while non-uniformed officers will catch litterbugs. Recalcitrant littering offenders will carry out corrective work orders by picking up litter at high footfall areas, including transport nodes and town centres such as Causeway Point, and city locations like Somerset.

NEA will also quadruple the deployment of closed-circuit TV cameras at littering hot spots to help enable investigations into public hygiene offences and deter other potential offenders.

If someone is caught on camera but cannot be identified, NEA will work with community stakeholders to identify them, said Mr Baey. “If there are still no leads, NEA will explore putting up images of these offenders at the places where they littered to seek the wider community’s assistance in identifying them,” he added.

These images may be displayed on notice boards and digital screens at common areas. “We hope that this will invoke collective community ownership to keep the common spaces clean, and also deter potential litterbugs,” he added.

While the Government has stepped up enforcement efforts on unhygienic toilets, enforcement measures can only go so far, said Mr Baey.

Therefore, a Public Toilets Task Force will be convened to study and recommend solutions to improve the cleanliness of public toilets.