Monday, July 19, 2010

Look for alternative ways to deal with the problem of littering

Raymond's letter on the above matter is published in the New Paper today, Monday 19 July 2010

I refer to the report,, “Govt gets tough about high-rise littering” (The New Paper, July 12).

The idea of shaming litterbugs by placing their photographs at the HDB blocks or in the town council's newsletter is not only heavy handed, but may add more social problems within the community.

As it is, there is much discord among neighbours. If residents who litter are humilated in the manner suggested, they and their families will face resentment from neighbours who are bound to shun them.

Once the litterbugs becomes isolated, they can also become depressed. They may even have to consider relocating.

Why is there a need to always punish people for doing the wrong thing. Can't we, instead, catch people doing the right thing and find more innovative ways to curb littering?

These are some suggestions for alternative ways of dealing with the problem.

1. The Member of Parliament and his grassroots leaders could organise a sponsored Commmunity Clean Up Day and get residents involved. Have a quiz segment with prizes and round it up with a light tea session and finger food.

Such an event could help to raise awareness of the need to keep our environment clean and green, and it will be an excellent way of bonding with neighbours. Good food and prizes can be a good way to promote neighbourliness and “sell” a policy.

2. Grassroots leaders can be on the look out for role model residents who are environment friendly. Place their photographs on the notice boards and town council's newsletters and reward them with rebates on both service and conservancy charges as well as on their PUB bills.

3. Besides Corrective Work Orders, the litterbugs can be made to undertake
some community work.

When we use reverse psychology, we not only prevent resentment, but we also can educate our residents to support good Government policies.


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