Collective effort from stakeholders still essential to maintain a Clean and Green Singapore
Singapore, 30 Aug 2012 - Problem spots in housing estates such as Bukit Panjang, Pasir Ris, West Coast, Hong Kah and Sembawang will be the first to have surveillance cameras deployed, as part of the National Environment Agency’s (NEA’s) effort to curb high-rise littering in neighbourhoods. The agency will be deploying the cameras at 100 locations in the next three months, starting with those with more serious littering issues (such as those involving faeces, urine or food wastes) or with high number of feedback cases from residents. The move was cheered by residents who have had to put up with neighbours who throw items such as food waste and cigarette butts out of their windows. Those caught littering on camera will be charged in court and have their cases publicised. NEA hopes that the new measures will deter such inconsiderate and anti-social behaviour.
High-rise litter not only mars the environment, but also inconveniences neighbours by staining their clothes, windows and floors. Mr Ng Cham Wat who lives at Block 174, Yishun Ave 7 has been affected by urine being flung from higher levels. He said, "My family was very disturbed because the urine not only stained our windows and clothes, but was also smelly and unhygienic. I had to dry my laundry at the common corridor instead."
Welcoming the use of the cameras, Ms Eleanor Lee, who stays at Block 446A Jalan Kayu said, "I was often afraid to open my windows for fear that the litter, such as raw eggs and diapers, would dirty them. I’m thankful the cameras are introduced to alleviate this problem." Another relieved resident, Ms Janet Loh, who stays at Block 179 Lompang Road, hopes stern action can be brought against these litterbugs to deter them from committing the offence again.
Coupled with video analytics software, the cameras have proven to be effective in nabbing high-rise litterbugs in trials conducted. They can pick up items as small as cigarette butts being thrown from windows, even in low light conditions at night. During an earlier pilot run, a camera was deployed in Bukit Batok after residents alerted NEA of persistent high-rise littering. Two offenders were later charged in court after being caught on camera throwing cigarette butts out from their windows at night. They were fined $800 and $1,000. Under the law, such offenders are liable to be fined a maximum of $1,000 and/or a Corrective Work Order (CWO) not exceeding 12 hours.
For new cases of high-rise littering, the cameras will be deployed after careful assessment of the situation and at least two rounds of educational efforts by the Town Councils and NEA to exert community pressure on the litterbugs.
Mr Derek Ho, Director-General of Public Health Division in NEA said, "With the greater deployment of these cameras, we intend to send a strong message to the small minority of recalcitrant high-rise litter bugs that they will be caught and prosecuted. Nevertheless, a collective effort from the community is still needed to combat this problem. We believe that in a civil and gracious society, residents will not engage in such anti-social behaviour.
"Deployment of cameras should thus not be necessary in most instances where there are strong community bonds and residents manage to work out the differences among themselves. With more community pressure and use of technology, we can look forward to fewer high-rise littering incidents and a cleaner environment."
Members of the public who encounter high-rise littering are advised to call NEA’s 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632).
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