SINGAPORE - While many Singaporeans spent Friday evening (Aug 9) watching the National Day Parade (NDP) on television, the Teo family chose to celebrate the nation’s birthday by doing good for the environment.
The family of five were among 200 volunteers from the Lions Club of Singapore Mandarin and the Singapore Scout Association who combed the periphery of the parade and reminded the public to bin their trash properly.
“In the past years, it had always been a home affair for NDP,” said Mr Caleb Teo, 46. “We’d stay at home, watch the parade on TV, get some snacks.”
“I told my wife, why not we do something different this year? Besides being able to watch (the fireworks), we are able to participate in a meaningful way.”
The stay-at-home dad found out about the volunteering opportunity through the Phoenix Scouts Group, which he and his three sons Jedidiah, Zechariah and Isaiah –aged eight, 10 and 13 – are part of.
The litter-free outreach programme is one of many organised by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) at national celebratory events, such as Chingay and New Year’s Eve countdown, and has been ongoing since the 2015 South-east Asian Games.
Mr Tony Tan, executive director of the PHC, said “We hope that through such reminders, everyone would make it a point to pick up after ourselves and keep our beloved Singapore truly clean.”
The volunteers were deployed mainly at the Marina Bay waterfront area where many people had gathered to watch the fireworks.
The NDP executive committee also stationed volunteers within the Padang to encourage spectators to recycle and bin their trash.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) also put up 21 disposal areas within the Padang, along the crowd dispersal routes and at the event periphery.
An average of about 400kg of rubbish was generated each year from the peripheral areas near the NDP venue for the past two years, according to figures from NEA.
Mr Teo added: “Someday when (the kids) are older and they were to look back, I want them to say that “Hey, I’m not just there as a spectator, I’m there contributing (to the country), and I’m doing it together with my family.”
Source: The Straits Times