Many Diners Still Do Not Return Meal Trays

Getting people to return their trays after a meal remains a big priority for the Public Hygiene Council (PHC).

It set up a drive encouraging people to do so in 2013, but in an informal assessment requested by The Straits Times on how Singapore fares in various aspects of hygiene, council chairman Edward D'Silva rated tray return the most poorly, giving it just four marks out of 10.

When trays are not cleared quickly enough, especially in non- air-conditioned food places, birds come and pick at the food, which can also spread diseases, PHC said.

The PHC held its annual Operation We Clean Up event yesterday (8 May), which saw larger participation than last year and an expanded number of locations for clean-ups. Over 11,000 participants collected more than 7,200kg of litter as of yesterday.

Patrons at 31 Kopitiam outlets were also reminded to return their trays as part of the initiative. Kopitiam said diners have the misconception that clearing their trays will leave cleaners out of work, when this would actually lessen the work burden especially for older workers. It did admit however that tray-return facilities are still lacking.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said, "I was told that it takes just two minutes to clear up the bins for the cleaners. However, if the litter is thrown all over the place, it takes 20 minutes of back-breaking work."

How can we all play our part better to improve public hygiene and meal tray return? Share your thoughts with us!

Source: “Singapore diners still fare poorly in returning trays” (The Straits Times, 9 May 2016)

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