Fridge dumped in Clementi Forest not removed due to miscommunication between agencies: Sim Ann
The National Parks Board was first alerted to the case in 2022 but the fridge was cleared only about a year later.
SINGAPORE: A fridge that had been discarded in Clementi Forest had not been removed by the authorities due to a miscommunication between government agencies and the case was closed prematurely, Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann said on Monday (May 8).
She was responding to a parliamentary question about the incident and how the government handles cases involving electronic waste.
TODAY reported last month that an abandoned fridge in Clementi Forest was only cleared on Apr 21, about a year after a hiker stumbled upon it and informed the authorities through the OneService mobile application.
The mobile app is a platform through which government agencies receive and respond to public feedback, and is owned by the Municipal Service Office (MSO).
Ms Sim said in parliament that the National Parks Board (NParks) was first alerted to the case in March 2022 through the OneService app and sought to arrange for the fridge to be removed.
"Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication between agencies, the removal was not done and the case was closed prematurely. There was also no follow through to check that the refrigerator had indeed been cleared," she said.
"Upon being notified a second time, in 2023, NParks worked with the National Environment Agency (NEA) to clear the refrigerator on Apr 21, 2023."
In response to questions from Member of Parliament Tan Wu Meng (PAP-Jurong) on cases of electronic waste in Clement Forest and other green spaces, Ms Sim said there have been two instances of feedback on improper disposal of bulky electronic waste in forested areas and which the agencies acted on from January 2021 to March this year.
She noted that the illegal dumping of electronic and other waste in public places is an offence under the Environmental Public Health Act.
Addressing a question about the potential learning points from the case involving the fridge in Clementi Forest, Ms Sim said "lapses in communication and coordination between agencies sometimes occur".
"MSO has been working with stakeholder agencies to strengthen inter-agency coordination, and this includes NParks and NEA," she added.
This is done through staff training to ensure that feedback involving multiple agencies is referred correctly through the inter-agency feedback management system.
According to Ms Sim, agencies are also requested to close straightforward cases only when any works on the ground have been completed.
"MSO will continue to help our partner agencies in attaining a high level of responsiveness to public feedback," Ms Sim said.
She added that Clementi Forest is currently not intended for public recreational use and encouraged people to keep to the designated trails within public parks and nature parks for their own safety, and to minimise impact on the natural environment.