Stricter measures against table littering in foodcourts, hawker centres from June 1, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Stricter measures against table littering in foodcourts, hawker centres from June 1

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Diners who fail to return used trays and crockery after finishing their meal at coffee shops, foodcourts and hawker centres may face tougher action from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) from June 1.

Instead of merely being advised to clean up after themselves, first-time offenders will be given written warnings, NEA said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, repeat offenders will face the possibility of a fine or getting charged in court.

No one has been fined or charged since both agencies began efforts to dissuade table littering at hawker centres on Sept 1, 2021, and at coffee shops and foodcourts on Jan 1, 2022.

However, as of March 31, two written warnings have been issued to individuals who refused to heed officers’ advice.

NEA said the strengthened enforcement measures are meant to reinforce good habits and deter the minority of diners who repeatedly fail to return their used trays and crockery.

It added: “The stepped-up enforcement aims to ensure that the good efforts of the majority (over 90 per cent) of diners who return their used trays and crockery are not marred by the inconsiderate behaviour of the minority.

“NEA and SFA will continue to take a pragmatic approach, and will not take enforcement action against the less-abled, frail elderly and children, who are clearly unable to clear their tables.”

The agency said that it was also looking to implement stricter enforcement against littering in general, with the deployment of remote surveillance cameras at littering hotspots from April onwards.

Those who are caught littering for the first time face a composition fine of $300, while those prosecuted in court face the possibility of a fine as well as a Corrective Work Order (CWO).

In 2022, there were about 21,200 tickets issued by NEA for littering and high-rise littering.

This was a marked increase from 2021, when about 15,500 tickets issued – an improvement from 2020, when roughly 19,400 tickets were given out.

Between 2020 and 2022, however, about only 2,200 CWOs were issued.

CWOs require recalcitrant offenders to clean public areas for between three and 12 hours. This regime serves to increase their awareness of the impact of littering, as well as let them experience the difficulties faced by cleaners.

In November 2022, NEA introduced Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar as CWO areas in the city. This will be expanded further in July 2023 with the introduction of Farrer Park as an additional location.

“Everyone has a part to play in keeping Singapore clean. NEA and SFA will continue to reach out to members of the public to do so, and will take enforcement action against offenders,” said the environment agency.