Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on High-rise Cigarette Butt Littering by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) whether the Ministry collects data on high-rise cigarette butt littering cases specifically; (b) if so, whether the surveillance cameras deployed by NEA at HDB blocks have been effective in catching offenders of these cases; (c) how many offenders of high-rise cigarette butt littering have been caught in each of the last three years and in 2022; and (d) whether NEA will be looking at other technologies such as DNA testing to identify the culprits.
1 The National Environment Agency (NEA) takes a serious view of high-rise littering, including that of cigarette butts which dirties the environment, could be challenging to clear and poses a potential fire hazard.
2 In the past four years, 54% of total high-rise littering offences enforced by NEA were for high-rise cigarette butt littering. Of these, about 95% were caught on the surveillance cameras deployed. Enforcement actions were taken against about 400 high-rise cigarette butt littering offenders per year between 2019 and 2021. From January 2022 to September 2022, enforcement actions were taken against close to 130 offenders.
3 DNA testing is not being considered for high-rise littering enforcement. Matching DNA evidence from the cigarette butt to a specific offender would require the collection of DNA information from selected residents in the implicated building stack or unit and raise significant privacy concerns. NEA will continue to study other approaches and technologies to address high-rise littering.