The National Environment Agency (NEA) kick-started an “SG Clean” campaign to galvanise collective action, from individuals to local businesses, to work together to keep our public toilets, hawker centres, community spaces and other premises clean.

Speaking at the Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (EWR), Mr Masagos Zulkifli, pointed out that we have good public hygiene standards today, but we can do more. The “SG Clean” campaign calls on members of the public to adopt good personal and environmental hygiene habits, to help keep Singapore clean. It also calls on organisations to adhere to sanitation and hygiene checklists by the authorities. These measures to elevate cleanliness and public hygiene in Singapore will help safeguard public health. NEA hopes to sustain the campaign beyond the current outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), and make keeping Singapore clean a way of life.

Call to practise the “7 Habits of Good Public Hygiene”

3 NEA had earlier launched the “7 Habits of Good Public Hygiene”, to remind members of the public about the importance of upholding good personal hygiene practices, and to instil a greater sense of responsibility for the cleanliness of shared spaces, in particular at high-traffic public spaces such as public toilets, hawker centres and community spaces. While these habits are not exhaustive, they represent some simple, everyday steps that everyone can take to be socially responsible, and contribute to better personal and public hygiene standards around us. Members of the public are encouraged to adopt the following “seven habits” of good public hygiene practices at all times:

  1. Keep premises clean and pest-free;
  2. Return tray and keep table clean;
  3. Keep toilet clean and dry;
  4. Wash hands regularly with soap;
  5. Take temperature and see doctor if unwell;
  6. Use tissue when sneezing or coughing; and
  7. Bin litter and soiled tissue.Nationwide “SG Clean” Quality Mark to be rolled out by sectors

To elevate good hygiene practices to a national level, NEA, together with Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Transport (MOT), and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), will rally various sectors to commit to upholding good sanitation and hygiene practices, though the “SG Clean” campaign.

Under the campaign, the “SG Clean” quality mark will be progressively rolled out to various sectors, covering premises with high human traffic. The “SG Clean” quality mark will first be rolled out to hawker centres, and subsequently to public transport nodes such as train stations and bus interchanges. The plan is to also cover preschools, schools, government buildings, hotels, conference venues, tourist attractions, cruise and ferry terminals, airport terminals, the integrated resorts, shopping malls and F&B outlets. Each Government agency will champion the adoption of the “SG Clean” quality mark amongst the stakeholders within their sectors.

Stakeholders will have to commit and adhere to sector-specific sanitation and hygiene checklists, covering areas such as management oversight, cleaning methodology, toilet cleanliness, and general public hygiene. These checklists will be tailored to the requirements and operations of the various businesses. Premises with the “SG Clean” quality mark will have their premises audited by agencies or appointed third-party assessors, so as to ensure that they maintain a high level of cleanliness and public hygiene (see Annex B for “SG Clean” campaign visual). Members of the public can also contact NEA at the 24-hour hotline at 1800-2255 632, to provide feedback on the hygiene conditions of these premises.

Combined ground-up efforts through partnerships to safeguard public health

To complement the Whole-of-Government (WOG) efforts, Grassroots organisations (GROs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) – such as the Public Hygiene Council (PHC), Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS), and the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) – will leverage their networks to rally the community to take ownership and commit to upholding good personal and environmental hygiene practices. A series of activities will be planned across Singapore, to reach out to members of the public to exercise greater social responsibility, and to work together to raise the level of cleanliness and public hygiene standards in Singapore. These efforts will be focused on key high-traffic public spaces such as public toilets, hawker centres and community spaces.

Sustaining good habits of personal and public hygiene

Since the end of January 2020, NEA has stepped up the inspection of public toilets, and hygiene gaps like inadequate or missing soap lotion have been found and fixed. Also, since early February 2020, cleaning of public places with high human traffic has also been stepped-up. For example, table-tops and toilets in hawker centres are cleaned as regularly as every two hours, and contact surfaces of rubbish bins in high footfall public areas are being wiped-down every day. At the same time, NEA has also increased its enforcement against public hygiene offences, like spitting and littering.

To make a real difference to public health outcomes, collective actions will be needed. While the “SG Clean” campaign will help to reduce any public health risks from the current COVID-19 situation, the longer-term objective is to instil greater awareness of good hygiene and cleaning practices, and to ensure that these are sustained at high levels beyond the current outbreak of COVID-19. The campaign will also bolster public confidence in local businesses, by showcasing the rigorous measures that have been taken.

Through collective action by all stakeholders, we can contribute towards safeguarding public health and making Singapore a cleaner, more liveable and pleasant environment for all.

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