CLEANERS took a break yesterday as Nee Soon South residents took charge of tidying their estate.
The 500 participants, including students and representatives of the area’s merchants’ associations, picked up 500kg of rubbish when they combed 164 blocks of flats for litter.
They were taking part in the estate’s annual No Cleaners’ Day event, meant to pay tribute to the area’s 80 cleaners and raise awareness about their work on Labour Day.
At the first instalment of the event last year, a total of 1,430kg of trash was collected. The smaller amount this year indicated greater awareness among residents about the need to keep the estate clean, said Mr Ng Hak Hai, chairman of Nee Soon South’s Clean and Green Committee.
The estate’s cleaners, who work every day of the year except for the first day of Chinese New Year, said they welcomed the event. They said they often have to pick up after residents, who throw food, soiled diapers and sanitary pads out of their windows.
Cleaner Law Poh Poh, 30, said in Mandarin: “The residents have done a great job of cleaning the estate. I am glad they got a chance to try out what we do.”
Resident Lee Mui Lan, 82, who volunteered yesterday, said she took part in the event as she “cannot stand to see the estate filthy”. “People throw their junk everywhere. I am most worried about mosquito breeding, so I want to do my part to keep the area clean,” she said in Mandarin.
Public Hygiene Council chairman Liak Teng Lit, who also attended the event, said people often assume Singapore is spick and span, but they do not realise it is the town councils’ cleaners who are picking up after them all the time.
Dr Lee Bee Wah, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, said bus stops, playgrounds and carparks, which are often littered with used water bottles, among other things, tend to be some of the dirtier areas in the estate.
She said she hoped the event will encourage residents to cultivate good habits. “There has been more awareness among residents that they have to do their part for a litter-free environment,” she said.