Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Keep Clean, Singapore! 2022 Launch Event on 24 April 2022
Mr Edward D'Silva, Public Hygiene Council Chairman
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 Good morning, everyone. I am happy to join you again this year to launch Keep Clean, Singapore! This is an annual month-long community campaign organised by the Public Hygiene Council (or PHC).
2 Keep Clean, Singapore! is an important initiative to encourage and rally Singaporeans to take collective responsibility for keeping Singapore, our home, truly clean. The PHC's mandate complements the Government's efforts to transform Singapore into a green, liveable and sustainable city.
3 As we battled the global public health crisis of COVID-19 over the past two years, we have improved the cleanliness of our public and commercial spaces. We have worked closely with premises managers to disinfect and deep clean where COVID-19 cases were reported; raised cleanliness standards through new hygiene requirements; and required individuals to take responsibility by returning trays and binning litter. The SG Clean Quality Mark was launched in 2020 as part of our COVID-19 management measures to raise cleanliness and safeguard public health. As of 11 April 2022, more than 34,000 premises have obtained the Mark. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also rolled out an Environmental Sanitation (ES) Regime, which ensures that premises are properly cleaned and disinfected regularly. The regime has been introduced in 3,700 premises, and will be extended to 2,700 more. Additionally, since the Clean Tables Campaign and mandatory clean tables regime were implemented, the national average Tray and Crockery Return Rate (TCRR) in hawker centres has improved significantly, from 33% to 85%. We have also achieved a national average TCRR of above 85% in coffeeshops, and food courts.
4 We must build on this whole suite of initiatives and momentum to ensure a clean and safe Singapore for everyone — not just from COVID-19 but also future diseases and other existing threats, such as dengue.
Collective action key to keeping Singapore clean and safe
5 Close to 5,500 dengue cases have been reported so far this year, exceeding the total number of cases for the whole of last year. This is a worrying trend as we are only in April, and we expect a surge in the number of dengue cases in the coming months. We must take urgent collective action, and do our part to ensure good housekeeping, to prevent mosquito breeding. At home, we can do the Mozzie Wipeout regularly to block dengue:
Remember to Break up hardened soil;
Lift and empty flowerpot plates;
Overturn pails and wipe their rims;
Change water in vases;
Keep your roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticides in them.
6 Dengue is a serious health threat. Let us stay on guard against dengue even as we see improvements in the COVID-19 situation.
7 We must also collectively reframe our mindsets because our home does not end at our doorstep. The whole of Singapore is our home. It is where we practise sports, where we eat together, and where we go on a nice stroll. It is where we live therefore we have a responsibility to ourselves and to other users of these premises. Hence, community vigilance and involvement are key.
8 When we are out and about in our community, we should always bin our trash to prevent it from becoming unintentional mosquito breeding habitats. Even when we see litter that is not ours, we can do our part by picking it up and binning it properly.
9 This is in line with the PHC's aim to create a culture of good personal hygiene and social responsibility to keep Singapore clean, and not depend on an army of cleaners.
Launch of Neighbourhood Toilets Community Group initiative
10 Proper hygiene and clean sanitation are important basic necessities in life that we should not take for granted. It is in this spirit that the PHC will be launching its new initiative – the Neighbourhood Toilets Community Group.
11 I hope this initiative will provide the public and premises owners the opportunity to understand their respective responsibility towards cleaner public toilets. I look forward to seeing many partners joining this initiative!
Expanding the quarterly SG Clean Day initiative to new partners
12 The Neighbourhood Toilets Community Group is just one of many PHC initiatives made possible by the growing support of various community partners.
13 I am encouraged to hear that the PHC has successfully onboarded new partners to join the quarterly SG Clean Day initiative. These include tourist attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, Mandai Wildlife Group, Resorts World Sentosa and the Sentosa Development Corporation. I am optimistic that more organisations will join this meaningful initiative in upcoming quarterly SG Clean Days.
Feed My Trashemons Design Competition
14 Another important aspect of PHC's work is educating students on cleanliness and hygiene. To engage our youths on the importance of keeping Singapore clean, the PHC organised the "Feed My Trashemon" Design Competition 2021 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE). I am very happy that MOE is onboard to educate the new generation of Singaporeans on proper hygiene practices. Ten winning designs were selected from more than 340 entries. They will be used to produce functional bins, which will be placed in the winners' schools. The PHC is now in discussion with corporate partners to adopt these Trashemon bins so that they can place them at their premises as a reminder to keep the shared spaces clean.
15 My heartiest congratulations to the winners of the "Feed My Trashemon" design competition!
16 Keeping Singapore clean and safe requires collective action by every member of the community. Let us work together to rally and remind everyone to keep Singapore, our home, truly clean.
17 As we have experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic, cleanliness and hygiene were very important for individual and community health. Let us not forget this important lesson that COVID-19 has taught us. We hope that you can continue with the high level of hygiene and cleanliness, even beyond COVID-19. By the way, COVID-19 is not over yet. As we put on our masks and check our vaccination status, please remember that COVID-19 is still very much out there, and we have to be vigilant and mentally prepared that it may return to haunt us in a different form. Hygiene and cleanliness continue to be our first-line of defence against public health diseases. I urge everybody to continue with the good work. Thank you PHC for doing the important work out there. And do remember that community movements starts with every one of us. As individuals, we can do our part. As part of a family, we can do our part to encourage our family members. As part of our community - of schools, of businesses, of community groups, of religious organisations, of youth groups, of art performing groups – you can all have an influence on the people around you. As leaders of industries or educational institutions, you can have an impact on the people around you. I call on all of you to continue to support us, as we battle more public health threats going forward.