Whatever happened to Clean and Green?

Singaporeans should start to put their litter into the bins. And seriously, what happened to the values and morals we learnt during our primary school education?

civics

Primary school students had to go through Civics and Moral Education which was conducted in Mother Tongue (i.e. Chinese, Malay or Tamil). It taught us how to be better citizens and neighbours to one another by imparting morals and virtues.

I recall one of the morals and virtues that was taught as part of the curriculum was the virtue of playing a part in keeping the environment clean and green.

Yes, clean and green. It is about doing our part to make the environment we live in clean and green. For too long, we have been too reliant on our cleaners who work long hours clearing up after us.

laneway thrash

In recent weeks, we have heard from three politicians including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pointing out the rubbish left behind after the Laneway Festival 2015. He urged that Singapore needs to progress from being a “cleaned city to a truly clean city”. Even Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has commented that Singapore is becoming a “garbage city”, if not for the foreign cleaners who help to pick up the rubbish we leave behind.

Talking about cleaners, how do we expect them to keep up with our littering if we were to rely on them to clear up our rubbish? There’s only so much they can do in large areas like the Meadow at Gardens by the Bay, where the Laneway Festival was held. And to make matters worse, our Singapore cleaners earn a meagre $1,000 as basic wage.

roadcleaner

This amount was worse before. Some two years back, a cleaner’s wage on average was only $850. Then in 2014, the Government required all cleaning businesses to pay a salary of no less than $1,000 in order for the business to be licensed.

So, thanks to the new requirement as part of the Progressive Wage Model, all cleaners can now earn at least $1,000. But when they upgrade their skills and learn how to use a motorised ride-on equipment for example, they can receive a higher wage of say $1,400. An increase in productivity will also allow them to earn more.

Imagine how our streets and public places will look like if we did not have cleaners doing their job and if we continue to be so careless with the environment. When can we begin to take responsibility for the cleanliness of our own streets and environment? Will we ever take ownership of our own space and take care of it by not leaving our thrash and litter everywhere we go?

 

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Arthur Lee

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