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Singaporeans should band together to clean up housing estates regularly amid shortage of cleaners

There has been some discussion of late about the shortage of cleaners in Singapore, resulting in a squeeze in some estates as existing pools of cleaners contend with larger amounts of waste as people stay home to contain Covid-19.

Singaporeans should band together to clean up housing estates regularly amid shortage of cleaners

An estate cleaner at a block of flats along Yishun Avenue 2.

Ulaganathan Karumanan

There has been some discussion of late about the shortage of cleaners in Singapore, resulting in a squeeze in some estates as existing pools of cleaners contend with larger amounts of waste as people stay home to contain Covid-19.

As border restrictions curtail the inflow of migrant workers, they are less able to help us maintain cleanliness in housing estates. This has contributed to the filth that we can see in some areas.

What went wrong?   

First, we saw getting others to keep our city clean as a strategy.

It is because of this dependence on others to clean our city that we forgot our culture of doing our part. 

A good example is Japan, where cleanliness is everyone’s social responsibility. 

So what should we do? 

To fill the gaps left by the shortage of cleaners, we should gather ourselves in groups of two or three, with pairs of tongs and trash bags, and clean a stretch of 500m in all our housing estates. 

This could be done on a rotating basis, with groups of residents taking turns to head out each day or at least once a week. 

Our town councils can help with the logistics. For instance, the tongs and trash bags could be positioned at certain places in an estate, for the convenience of residents. 

Right now, Singaporeans may already take part in SG Clean Day, where residents volunteer to pick up litter in neighbourhoods.

The Public Hygiene Council hopes to increase the frequency of the initiative to once every quarter this year and once a month by next year.

But we can do more.

By cleaning the neighbourhoods we live in, our cleaners can put more effort into non-residential areas. 

Imagine how much of the city will be cleaned. 

In doing so, we will also encourage a culture of cleaning up after ourselves and we will be hesitant to litter. 

Our children will also grow up with a sense of ownership to keep Singapore clean. 

Migrant workers complement what we do. They do not replace our efforts.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number. 

Related topics

cleanliness cleaners environment housing community

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