Singaporeans looking to make some extra money can now thank Ms Lee Bee Wah, Nee Soon South’s member of parliament. According to the MP, having monthly litter picking activities will not be enough to keep Singapore clean and green. She is now encouraging residents to look out for those who persistently litter and dirty the neighborhood.
More incredibly, she has even suggested to the authorities to reward people who catch litterbugs in the act. For example, a resident who takes a video of someone littering and submits it to the National Environment Agency (NEA) can stand to earn half of the summons.
Ms Lee said: “In Taiwan, every resident is an enforcement officer. They can video, they can take photo of the litterbug and submit to their NEA. And if there is successful prosecution, their NEA will give the resident who reported it half of the summons collected.
“My residents have given this suggestion and I thought it is a good one. So now I’m working with NEA, and we will try to pilot this in Nee Soon South in the near future.”
The current legislation under the NEA’s extended Community Volunteer Scheme allows trained individuals have the authority to force litterbugs to pick up after themselves. If they refuse, the volunteers can take down the person’s particulars and submit them to NEA.
In recent years, the Environment and Water Resources Ministry suggested amending the legislation to give volunteers the same enforcement powers as NEA officers. This means they can impose summons on litterbugs.
“I think the Government needs to think through what are the things we need to do. If you look at the equivalent of what is happening on the road, many people today have their in-vehicle cameras and not many people dare to make funny claims about accidents because there is a risk that whatever you say could be contradicting what’s on the camera in someone else’s vehicles,” says NEA chair Liak Teng Lit. “So certainly having neighbours watching over the environment and watching over each other will be very helpful. For the good citizens, there is nothing to worry about. In fact, people will be filming you doing good things and praising you rather than reprimanding you.”