I do more walking in recent years, moving from point a to b to visit places or to take public transport. What disturbed me most was rubbish thrown along walking paths and among shrubs/bushes lining these pathways. I can see plastic bags, empty bottles/cans, styrofoam containers, tissue papers and any kind of rubbish one can think of. Most time walkway was swept clean by cleaners, but bits of rubbish still remained in bushes and shrubs, ignored for days and months. There are also areas which I term as “no man’s land” simply because I am not sure whose responsibility it is to keep these areas clean (Town Council or NEA or LTA). I am certain no cleaner sweeps these places because dried leaves and rubbish gathered there were not cleared at all.
I am not suggesting that cleaners are there to pick up after litterers and therefore culprits can go on dirtying public places. The cleaners should be our last defence to keep Singapore clean. We, as residents in this country, should make light work of these cleaners and should have the habit of not throwing rubbish all around. This is grace and shows our care for the environment and the people around us.
I used to be proud of Singapore in the old days with a clean and green environment. I cannot say that now and I questioned what happened in recent times. Could it be that our children were brought up with a maid or even parent dependent mentality? Could it also because we are having a surge in population numbers that add to the problem? Could it is also be due to a me-mentality that only focus on self-benefits without regard for others?
I wish that MPs could do more walk-about in estates and public places unannounced and see for themselves the state of cleanliness of their wards. Better still, some weekends can be designated as litter picking days where the community can be mustered to pick up rubbish, much like activities such as picking up rubbish along Singapore beaches. I am sure there will be like-minded people who will be willing to support this meaningful event. With this exercise, they will know how much rubbish people threw away indiscriminately.
My second pet peeve is diners dirtying tables while eating in hawker centres or food courts. In packed eating places, getting a place to sit is so difficult during peak hours. If a diner messed up a table with food debris such as bones and food bits, it will take a while for a cleaner to clear the table. It is also unsightly, unappetizing and simply a turn-off. It is decorum to eat gracefully and keep all food items within plates and bowls. It will even be appreciated if we can clean up the table of food particles or drippings after meal. The next diner taking over the seat will be happy.
Another public place that we can help to keep clean is the public toilets. The same can be said about public toilets.
As we achieve economic success in this life time, we must not forget graciousness toward people living around us. If we can instill this attitude in our young children and get them to walk the same path as us, over time they will grow up with the habit of keeping our environment clean and livable. This is one aspect and a good start to solving the problems of dirty public places.