Written reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Recent Trends in High-Rise Littering, on 4 September 2020
Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) how many culprits of high-rise littering cases have been charged in the past five years; (b) whether there has been a rising trend over the past five years; and (c) whether new measures will be implemented to curb the problem.
Written Reply by Minister Grace Fu:
1 The National Environment Agency (NEA) took 6,000 enforcement actions in total against 2,200 offenders for high-rise littering in the past five years. The number of enforcements per year hovered between 1,100 to 1,500 from 2016 to 2019.
2 The use of surveillance cameras with video analytics has contributed significantly to improving NEA’s enforcement efforts. It has enabled NEA to increase the yearly enforcement actions from 11 in 2012, prior to the use of surveillance cameras, to over 1,000 in recent years.
3 To further improve effectiveness, NEA has implemented additional measures. Besides significantly increasing the number of surveillance camera deployments, NEA has also streamlined processes to reduce the time taken for investigation and partnered closely with Town Councils to enable more timely information-sharing and prompt reporting of the interventions conducted.
4 Going forward, NEA will explore better camera technology and strengthen partnerships with communities to develop localised solutions for the high-rise littering problem. For example, we worked with Grassroots Leaders, the Town Council and agencies such as the Municipal Services Office (MSO) last year to pilot a project for two blocks of flats in Yio Chu Kang that had persistent issues with high-rise littering and pigeon-feeding. The grassroots had formed a community watch group to conduct house visits and raise awareness about the issue among residents, while NEA deployed surveillance cameras and MSO developed new publicity materials and informed residents about the number of persons caught. The joint efforts saw a dip in the number of feedback on high-rise littering and pigeon feeding in the area. NEA will be looking into more of such community co-solutioning with active surveillance and enforcement in future.
5 High-rise littering is an anti-social and irresponsible act which affects public safety and environmental hygiene. Even as we step up our efforts to address the situation, we must also step up our efforts as a community to cultivate social graciousness, consideration for others and a sense of collective responsibility for the cleanliness of our common spaces.