SINGAPORE: Amid a spike in littering offences, Corrective Work Orders (CWOs) are being made more visible with new, brighter vests and signs put up at CWO locations.
Introduced in 1992, CWO involves making recalcitrant litterbugs pick up trash at public areas for between three and 12 hours. The penalty "carries an element of shame" which helps deter littering, according to Singapore authorities.
About 2,600 CWOs were issued last year, a 30 per cent rise compared to 2,000 cases in the previous year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Tuesday (May 7).
A total of 39,000 tickets for littering offences were issued during the year – an increase of nearly 22 per cent compared with 32,000 cases in 2017.
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The new CWO vests, which are worn by offenders while picking up litter, are luminous pink and yellow, making them more easily distinguishable, NEA said.
“The CWO vest was previously luminous yellow, making it appear similar to other safety vests worn by personnel carrying out work in public areas,” it said.
Starting this month, signs will also be displayed at CWO locations "to highlight an ongoing session so as to raise public awareness", the agency said.
NEA said littering commonly occurs in neighbourhood centres, areas around hawker centres, MRT stations and shopping malls. The majority of offenders are men between 18 and 35 years old.
In addition to regular enforcement blitzes by both uniformed and non-uniformed officers, NEA said it has also deployed cameras and video analytics to better monitor littering and smoking hotspots.
Those caught littering face a fine of S$300 for their first offence. Recalcitrant offenders prosecuted in court could be issued a CWO in addition to or in lieu of a fine.
Under the Environmental Public Health Act, the maximum fine for a littering offence is S$2,000 for the first court conviction and S$4,000 for the second conviction. The maximum fine for the third and subsequent convictions is S$10,000.