Monday, June 1, 2009

Dirty Singapore

Singapore is very clean. That is always the first and foremost impression of visitors to this city state. Admittedly, the city areas (like Orchard, City Hall) are indeed clean. However, decades of foreign and elderly sweepers who clean up the mess have generated complacent populations. The heartland is mostly dirty. On my walk from my house to MRT station, I encountered void deck with torn paper. Looks like some kids got fed up with his/her notes and tore them. I saw cigarette butts here and there, paper planes in a parking lot and tissue and paper cups on the raised platform with vegetations.

People think that someone will clean up their mess so it is okay to throw them away. Indeed they can be fined but who is watching them? There is no inspector normally in the heartland and the cost of patrolling may even be higher than just getting someone to sweep and clean those rubbishes. But at times, the sweepers need someone to supervise to ensure their work quality and at times, certain areas are sweeped not every day. Hence, some times some areas are very dirty.

Indeed the country is in overall still cleaner than other countries in the world. Yet, I shuddered with the thought that this is just the tip of icebergs and rubbishes will pile up even more simply because of irresponsibility of the crowd after being pampered for decades. It is really time for citizens and residence to be engaged and involved more in caring about their environment. Simply putting up recycle bin far away and who-know-what-place and paying sweepers do not educate at all. Schools should also start with educating young children on cleanliness and responsibility. I think Indonesia at least is scoring a point in teaching civic. I still remember what it taught me even after these years!

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