Banner asking residents to clean up litter after Deepavali revelry to be taken down
Feedback over the years about large amounts of rubbish left behind after Deepavali celebrations prompted the Mountbatten Residents’ Network (RN) to put up a banner asking residents to clean up after themselves.
In response to queries, Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan said the anti-littering banner – put up by the RN and supported by the National Environment Agency (NEA) – will be taken down to “avoid further misunderstanding”.
Mr Lim said: “That banner was a ground-up initiative by the RN because they had received feedback over the years about the large amount of litter left behind after Deepavali celebrations.”
He added that the parties were at Meyer Park and the Tanjong Rhu field.
A second banner – with an image of Mr Lim and a message wishing Mountbatten residents a Happy Deepavali – was put up by the People’s Association and strung up above the RN banner. It will not be removed. Mr Lim said the banner can be spotted in many locations in his constituency.
Mr Lim said: “It so happens that at this one location, they were placed on top of the other, which has then been misconstrued to be targeted against a particular race – which is never the intent.”
Photographs of the aftermath of Deepavali celebrations in the area, seen by The Straits Times, showed sparklers and plastic wrappers strewn about the grass fields. There were also patches of burnt grass in parts of the field.
Mr Lim said he raised the issue of the banner on Wednesday with the RN chairman, who told him that the RN had received feedback from residents over the years about the litter left behind after Deepavali celebrations.
“The RN members discussed the issue and felt that it would be appropriate to send reminder messages not to litter,” he added.
Mr Lim said RN members had previously seen messages about responsible joss paper burning and felt a reminder not to litter was reasonable. For instance, two posters put up by Ang Mo Kio Town Council and OneService asked residents to be mindful when burning joss paper, he added.
He said NEA also supported the message not to litter.
Ms Shanmugam wrote: “Though the message appears to have a positive intent, it is being used at a very wrong time given festivals are a time when those who have endured a tumultuous time come together as one to unite with their family and friends.
“I hope to see the same message for the coming Chinese New Year.”
She also asked in her post if such a message was issued during Chinese New Year or the Hungry Ghost Festival.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Ms Shanmugam said she had been informed that the authorities were looking into the issue and that she is “heartened that action has been taken and the banner will be removed”.
She added that she was hopeful that more thought will be put into the phrasing of messages that can potentially be deemed insensitive.