Singapore is among the cleanest countries in the world. This is possible because the country has maintained high standards when it comes to cleanliness. Laws ensuring the cleanliness of the Singaporean streets are heavily imposed.

This standard of cleanliness is deeply embedded in Singapore’s DNA. It has been around 50 years now since the Keep Singapore Clean campaign of then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

More than the strict implementation of the laws, we also owe the cleanliness of our streets to our cleaners tirelessly working in the background.

Behind the clean streets

There are more than 56,000 registered cleaners in the National Environment Agency (NEA), with most of them being elderly folks or foreign workers.

67-year-old Tan Huan Ah recounts her experience as a hawker cleaner in this video:

In this video, Wong Han Sun and Wang Qi Dong, cleaners in the East Coast Park which is cleaned 24/7 also shared their experiences:

Reclaiming responsibility

In both of these videos, we see the amount of work of these cleaners to make sure that Singapore remains clean. Working such long hours, these workers are relentless in making sure they fulfill their jobs.

One common observation from these two videos would be how some Singaporeans still leave behind litter, thinking that there are people to clean up after them anyway. By doing this, we are placing more burden on these cleaners who have other things to do other than just clean up our trails.

This is a reminder for us that Singapore’s cleanliness is our collective accountability. Cleaning is not only the task of these unsung heroes. We can easily aid them in maintaining the cleanliness of the country by making sure we don’t add to the litter that needs to be cleaned up. Be it hawker centres, parks, or wherever, let’s be mindful of the places where we  put our trash.

It is time for us to reclaim responsibility. Who cleans our Singapore. We do. We should all be cleaning our Singapore.

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