Keeping our environment clean by not littering is a gracious and socially responsible thing to do. PHOTO: UNSPLASH
Would you want to walk out of your house and see streets littered with plastic bags, used tissue, empty drink cans and all other litter that ought to be thrown into rubbish bins? Most, if not all, people will say no. But do we consciously make an effort to always bin our trash or rely on cleaners to clean up after us?
Littering fines issued by the National Environment Agency in 2018 hit a nine-year high of around 39,000 and this figure was more than four times the 8,195 tickets issued in 2012. This shows that littering is a prevalent issue in Singapore even though we perceive our country as clean.
Several factors may affect littering behaviour. These include lack of knowledge of the environmental impact of littering, laziness, bad habit, absence of a sense of ownership for the area, thinking that it is the cleaners’ job to clean-up and the general lack of social pressure or consideration of others.
Litter is not just an aesthetic problem. It has serious consequences on human health, plants and animals. Litter forms a breeding ground for bacteria and creates a conducive environment for pests to breed. Pests carry bacteria, virus and other organisms that transmit diseases and make people ill. Furthermore, toxic chemicals from decomposing litter damage plants. Litter also traps and injures animals. Animals can even die from eating litter!
Keeping our environment clean by not littering is a gracious and socially responsible thing to do. In 2020, the Public Hygiene Council will continue to engage the community and spread the “Keep Singapore Clean” message. We will roll out several exciting programmes such as National CleanSG Day, “Keep Clean, Singapore!” month-long clean-up movement, revamped cleaning workshops in primary schools and a new communications campaign. We will also expand our Sustainable Bright Spot programme and R.I.S.E. Champions Network to progress the cause of keeping Singapore clean.
We hope to see people in Singapore taking pride in keeping not just our homes, but also our entire country clean. To demonstrate we truly love Singapore, we need to cultivate the habit of not littering.