Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Public Restrooms in Markets and Food Centres
Miss Rachel Ong: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment what will be done to improve cleanliness and surveillance in public restrooms in markets and food centres given the likely spread of viruses via the restrooms.
1 The National Environment Agency (NEA) conducts regular inspections of public toilets, including at markets and hawker centres, to ensure high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. Enforcement action is taken against premises owners and operators for cleaning lapses.
2 NEA has worked with stakeholders on initiatives to improve toilet cleanliness. The SG Clean movement was launched in February 2020 to rally individuals and local businesses to raise standards of cleanliness and public hygiene. Premises that meet a set of sanitation and hygiene requirements including enhanced toilet cleaning are recognised with the SG Clean Quality Mark certification. To date, 107 out of 114 markets and hawker centres have been certified SG Clean.
3 NEA has also implemented the Hawker Centre Toilet Improvement Programme since October 2020. The programme provides co-funding to Town Councils (TCs) to improve toilet designs and install sanitary fittings that facilitate better cleaning and maintenance. To date, 8 TCs have applied for co-funding to upgrade the public toilets in 11 hawker centres.
4 By end-2021, markets and hawker centres will have to adhere to mandatory baseline environmental sanitation standards under the Environmental Sanitation regime. These premises will be required to perform daily cleaning and disinfection of specific areas, including toilets, at enhanced frequencies. In addition to routine cleaning, markets and hawker centres will have to undergo thorough periodic cleaning once every three months.
5 NEA will continue to work closely with organisations such as the Public Hygiene Council, the Restroom Association (Singapore) and the Singapore Kindness Movement to promote the cleanliness of public toilets, through free training programmes for cleaners, toilet cleanliness audits and provision of educational materials for display in toilets.