SG Clean Taskforce to galvanise collective action to raise standards of hygiene and cleanliness in Singapore
A multi-agency taskforce has been formed to galvanise a whole-of-nation effort to raise standards of cleanliness and public hygiene in Singapore. The SG Clean Taskforce, chaired by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, is set up under the purview of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19. (See Annex for the list of members in the SG Clean Taskforce.)
The SG Clean Taskforce builds on the work that has already started with the SG Clean campaign, to instil a ‘keep Singapore clean’ culture, beyond the current COVID-19 outbreak. The Taskforce will drive and galvanise collective action to: (a) ensure cleanliness of public spaces; (b) encourage good personal hygiene; and (c) adjust social norms to reduce the spread of diseases.
“Although Singapore is generally considered a clean and green city, we want to further step up cleanliness and hygiene standards in all facets of our lives, and make these our new norms, beyond the immediate COVID-19 situation. This will help keep our families and communities safe and healthy. Let us each practise good personal hygiene and social responsibility, and do our part to keep Singapore clean and safe,” said Minister Masagos.
Ensuring cleanliness of public spaces
Ensuring cleanliness of public spaces is a shared responsibility. While the Government puts in place standards and enforcement actions, premise owners have to ensure that they maintain high standards of cleanliness, and users have to use the spaces responsibly.
To rally stakeholders and members of the public to do their part to keep Singapore clean, Minister Masagos had earlier launched the SG Clean campaign on 16 February 2020.
An important component of the campaign is the SG Clean quality mark, which serves as a premise-based sanitation and hygiene indicator. The SG Clean quality mark requires organisations to commit to sector-specific sanitation and hygiene checklists to safeguard public health in Singapore.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Food Agency have been working with hawker centres and coffee shops to be part of the SG Clean quality mark certification programme. To date, 1,907 hawker and market stalls, and 345 coffee shop stalls have been awarded the SG Clean quality mark. In addition, 13 hawker centres and 49 coffee shops have also been awarded the quality mark.
Other agencies such as Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board, Land Transport Authority, the Early Childhood Development Agency, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport have also been working with NEA to audit their respective premises and related areas such as retail, hospitality, transport nodes, educational institutions and preschools. Some of the premises under the purview of these agencies are already SG Clean certified. NEA aims to roll out the SG Clean certification programme to premises with high human traffic and more vulnerable segments of the population by the end of 2020.
To catalyse shared accountability and high standards of cleanliness in Singapore, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources will make amendments to the Environmental Public Health Act later this year. Mandatory cleaning standards will be introduced, including a regime for pro-active routine cleaning and disinfection at prescribed frequencies. These include standards for public cleanliness such as: (a) frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high contact areas, in particular toilets; (b) pest management, including a mosquito control regime; and (c) back-of-house waste management such as bin centres.
Greater accountability will also be placed on premise managers for the cleanliness of their premises. They will be required to submit and implement an environmental sanitation programme, and remedy any lapses in public cleanliness on their premises. They will also be required to appoint a trained Designated Person to assist them to develop and implement the environmental sanitation programme
NEA will work with sectoral leads to progressively implement the new requirements from 2021, starting with higher-risk premises with high footfall and immuno-vulnerable occupants. These include preschools, schools, eldercare facilities and hawker centres.
Adopting good personal habits
- Everyone can play a part in keeping themselves and others around them safe by adopting good personal habits. NEA has been encouraging “7 Habits of Good Public Hygiene”, which include:
a) Washing hands frequently with soap and taking temperature daily.
b) Using a tissue whenever sneezing or coughing, and binning own litter and soiled tissues. This will prevent individuals from adversely affecting the health and well-being of family, friends, colleagues and those around them.
c) Keeping public toilets clean and dry. This will reduce the risk of spreading diseases and viruses such as COVID-19 and dengue within the community.
Adjusting social norms
To help prevent community spread of COVID-19, it has been necessary to make adjustments to social norms in Singapore. For instance, many have refrained from shaking hands during this period. The SG Clean Taskforce will also encourage people to use serving spoons when sharing food, eat from trays and return trays in public dining places, and to keep their tables clean.
The SG Clean Taskforce will rally members of the public, partners and stakeholders across sectors in Singapore to work together to make SG Clean a new way of life.
MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES 6 MARCH 2020
SG CLEAN Taskforce Members
Mr Masagos Zulkifli Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
Mr Desmond Lee Minister for Social and Family Development Second Minister for National Development
Dr Amy Khor Senior Minister of State for Health, and the Environment and Water Resources
Dr Janil Puthucheary Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Transport
Ms Low Yen Ling Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Mayor of South West District
Mr Baey Yam Keng Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, and Transport