Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Littering
Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what other measures can be taken to prevent littering; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider amending the law to impose a corrective work order on first-time offenders for littering.
To prevent littering and uphold high standards of public cleanliness, my Ministry adopts a multi-pronged approach including enforcing against litterbugs, encouraging ground-up action, and establishing values and norms.
We have been focusing on making enforcement more efficient and effective. Since 2019, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been leveraging data analytics to better identify hotspots and to prioritise deployment of enforcement officers. Enforcement officers clad in operational vests have been deployed to more places to increase visibility and enhance deterrence. NEA has also worked with stakeholders to display posters and banners prominently at hotspots to highlight the penalties and discourage littering.
To shape positive social norms, NEA works with stakeholders such as residents, community leaders, Town Councils, schools and other organisations to foster collective action and social responsibility in keeping our public spaces clean. For example, more than 360 individuals have come on board NEA’s Community Volunteer (CV) programme and augmented our ground presence and efforts against littering. To date, the CVs have engaged over 8,000 littering offenders. In another example, the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) has partnered Town Councils to hold quarterly SG Clean Days to emphasise the part that residents play in keeping their surroundings clean.
Financial penalties for littering remain an effective deterrent for the majority of offenders. For recalcitrant offenders, we continue to impose the Corrective Work Order. The proportion of repeat offenders has remained steady at about 10%. We therefore do not see a need to extend the CWO to first-time offenders at this time as we would also like to give first time offenders a second chance so that they can learn from their mistakes. We will continue to monitor the situation and review the penalty regime for littering from time to time. We will also persevere with our efforts to engage the community to take greater ownership and keep the environment clean.