SINGAPORE: Tougher measures are being rolled out to curb littering in Singapore. From March 2013, fines for first—time litter offenders will go up from S$300 to S$500.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan revealed this on Saturday at a community event in Bukit Panjang.
At the event, the National Environment Agency (NEA) jointly launched a campaign with the North West Community Development Council to encourage the community to inculcate good anti—littering habits.
The campaign is called "Hold on And Bin IT, Make it A H.A.B.IT!", and it is being rolled out to support the Keep Singapore Clean Movement.
The year—long campaign will see about 750 volunteers undergoing the "Litter—Free Ambassadors" programme, where they will be trained to communicate with, and engage the community on the importance of keeping the environment clean and binning their waste properly.
Monthly themed activities will also be held in the North West District to instil a greater sense of environmental ownership.
As part of measures to curb littering, fines for first—time offenders will be increased. The penalties will go up further once amendments to the Environment and Public Health Act are debated in Parliament next year.
Dr Balakrishnan said: "It’s not so much the quantum. This is a symbol of society’s repudiation of a very bad habit by a very small minority. Money cannot buy cleanliness.
"This is a matter of public safety and public health, so we are treating this as a symbol of commitment to making sure Singapore remains clean and green."
He said the government is also studying the possibility of launching a whistleblowing system, where feedback and complaints by members of the public can be used to prosecute offenders.
Dr Balakrishnan added: "The other thing which we are examining — and it’s still in the early stages — is that, we receive a lot of feedback, through email, through social media, as well as digital photos which are sent in to us, saying, ’I know this person, and look what this person has done’.
"We are examining the legal implications of whether or not and how we can pursue investigations whenever we receive feedback like that. And if we can identify the culprit, and if the complainant is willing to testify in court, whether we can then use this as a basis to proceed for prosecution."
Plans are also under way to make the Corrective Work Order (CWO) even more visible. This includes having recalcitrant litterbugs perform CWO in areas such as town centres instead of parks.
Derek Ho Yeong Thye, director—general of the Environmental Public Health Division at the NEA, said: "I think if we place all these CWO exercises in places which is more visible to the public, then I think they will feel more eyes looking on them as they conduct the exercises, and I think they will feel the public pressure on them, that this is not an acceptable behaviour."
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