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Fines may be doubled to deter littering

SINGAPORE — Maximum court fines for recalcitrant littering offenders may be doubled, as part of efforts to deter littering, said Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu.

SINGAPORE — Maximum court fines for recalcitrant littering offenders may be doubled, as part of efforts to deter littering, said Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu.

And to improve the standards of cleaning companies and the jobs of cleaners, the ministry will, later this year, table a Bill to introduce the mandatory licensing of all cleaning companies come next year.

Speaking during the Committee of Supply debate yesterday, Ms Fu said that, currently, on top of the composition fines, recalcitrant offenders can be fined up to S$1,000 for the first conviction in court or slapped with a Corrective Work Order requiring them to clean public areas for up to a maximum of 12 hours, or both.

This could be increased to S$2,000 for the first conviction, S$4,000 for the second and S$10,000 for the third and subsequent convictions.

Despite efforts to clamp down on littering, the amount of feedback received on it has been increasing, said Ms Fu.

The number of littering offences fell from 23,898 in 2010 to 8,195 last year, but the number of complaints has risen from 3,439 in 2010 to 4,375 last year, “reflecting greater awareness and intolerance towards litterbugs”, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

Hence, surveillance and enforcement efforts will be enhanced. The NEA will increase its enforcement hours by about 50 per cent, from 24,000 man-hours to 35,000 man-hours a month.

The ministry is currently piloting the use of surveillance cameras with video analytic capabilities to monitor littering and working with the police to tap their surveillance cameras — including those to be installed at 10,000 public housing blocks and multi-storey car parks.

It will also “explore” further extensions of the ban on smoking and clearer designation of smoking areas, Ms Fu added.

As for the mandatory licensing of all cleaning companies, Ms Fu said all companies would have to meet the standards before being able to operate, and must provide training courses and a progressive wage model for their cleaners.

Ms Fu also gave an update on efforts to integrate cleaning contracts among government agencies. Since its formation in April last year, the Department of Public Cleanliness has taken over the cleaning functions of areas like footpaths and roads.

Integrated contracts for the cleaning of expressways will be called next month, while contracts for cleaning of public areas including roads, footpaths, drains, vacant lands and parks within a defined area will be awarded from next year, she said.

Meanwhile, a Singapore Standard on Food Safety Management is being developed to improve the standard of food hygiene in Singapore and, from June next year, newly-licensed caterers will have to submit a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) plan within three months of being issued a licence. Existing licensed caterers will be required to submit an FSMS plan three months before the renewal of their licence.

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