Last Updated on 2023-02-28 , 10:59 am
If you’ve ever been around Block 174D at Hougang Avenue 1, you’d probably realise that everyone walks under sheltered walkways, even if that’s a longer route.
If they don’t take shelter, they might just be hit by high-rise litter, a frequent occurrence in that block.
High-rise littering is so common that the top of their sheltered walkways is constantly full of rubbish. Such litterbugs have even damaged a few cars.
Cans, Plastic Bags and Diapers Galore
64-year-old Mr Yang has lived here for eight years and said the situation never improved.
He pointed out how the roof of the covered walkway between Block 174A and 174B is always full of rubbish, even after cleaners have cleaned it up.
He also showed Shin Min Daily News a dent on the roof of his car, which was caused by an unopened can of luncheon meat being thrown from one of the flats.
“While driving one day, my wife and I suddenly heard a strange noise. When we got out of the car to check, we found a can of luncheon meat on the rear of my car. At first, we thought someone accidentally left it there. But when we saw the dent, we realised the can have hit the car and made that strange sound.”
Honestly, who throws a perfectly good can of luncheon meat?
However, it turns out that Mr Yang isn’t the only unfortunate one. An employee of a nearby shop revealed that one of their customer’s car windshields got smashed by high-rise litter when parked nearby.
Another resident also shared that after getting hit by a bag of coffee last year, they no longer dared to walk in unsheltered areas. Besides cans and coffee, residents have also seen poop wrapped in diapers, electrical appliances, and plastic bags thrown.
Mr Yang then shared that there are many elderly around that area that like to walk around the block for exercise. The consequences would be disastrous if they were hit by such high-rise litter.
Cameras and Notices Not Enough to Curb Problem
Mr Yang shared that the authorities would install cameras to catch these litterbugs. When the cameras were installed for about two weeks, the litterbugs disappeared.
However, the litterbugs reappeared once the cameras were taken down, and the problem persisted.
Truly as persistent as the cockroaches they invite.
There are also multiple notices on the elevators, bulletin boards and coffee shops in the area to remind people not to engage in high-rise littering. Even with the threat of a year of imprisonment, the litterbugs persisted.
Town Council Responds
The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council stated that they have been cooperating with the relevant agencies to solve this issue.
They pointed out that the town council regularly cleans the roof of the sheltered walkways weekly but acknowledged that such cleaning is limited to using long brooms.
For more thorough cleaning that requires special equipment like lifts, it isn’t feasible to do so regularly due to the high costs and manpower needed.
“We have worked with the National Environmental Agency to address this problem of high-rise littering. We urge residents to dispose of rubbish in their units or the rubbish chutes.”
Harsher Stance Against High-Rise Littering
Statistics from NEA showed that from 2019 to 2021, they investigated an average of 29,700 high-rise littering cases yearly. This is a 77% increase from 2016 to 2018.
Additionally, they’ve deployed an average of 2,400 cameras and 1,500 enforcement operations yearly to deal with this issue.
On 6 February 2023, new laws were passed in parliament to take a harsher stance against high-rise littering.
From 1 July 2023, first-time offenders will be fined up to S$2,000, and second-time offenders up to S$4,000. Offenders caught for the third time, or more, will be fined up to S$10,000.
The registered owner or tenant of the unit will also be presumed to be the offender unless they can prove that they are not the offender within a given time period.
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