It’s been more than a month since I last jogged around my estate. With the recent publicity highlighted by the Ministers on litters in Singapore, I had expected a drop in littering, as was the case a few days after the news first appeared. Alas, it was not to be.
By the time I reached the bus-stop yesterday morning, less than 1km away from my house, my grocery trash bag was already full of hand-picked litters. In it were three empty drink bottles which could have been recycled by the drinkers, at least ten empty cigarette boxes, many plastic drink bags with straws still inside, empty snack packets, lots of tissues and a few yakult drink bottles suspected to be thrown from one house.
Every time I pick trash, I mentally sort them according to demography and I can’t help but note that other than the cigarette boxes and the butts (which I don’t pick) which spread across all demographic groups, these trash I feel are mostly contributed by foreign workers:
Drink bags – with left over coffee buried under cut grass along the steep slopes/along pavements/tied up and tugged into plants.
Telephone call cards –
Bagged dog poo – One tree had five bags around it. Why bother to bag then? Might as well let the poo disintegrate naturally right?
Mike and I cleared up most of the litter along Bukit Batok St 25 and disposed three bags of trash into the bin at the entrance of the car park outside Bukit Batok Nature Reserve along Hillview. He went for his walk and I proceeded with my jog, stopping now and then to pick litters and dump into the many bins along the PCN. A man came up to me and said ‘Thank you!’. I laughed and continued, secretly wishing more of these walkers could do the same.
As I jogged, I noted the vast improvement in cleanliness along Lam Soon Industrial Building and mentally made a note to write a letter of commendation to them. This stretch used to have the most litters but I am amazed at the improvement.
I reached the other end of the park. The side along Shell situation remains good after my complaint and further down, a sweeper was sweeping the back of Autobacs and I made another note to write them for the good job.
My jog ended inside the park and I saw a father and his two kids along a stream. Were they catching fishes? I moved nearer. The father looked up at me and I asked what they were doing (as if this was my stream)? He said they were releasing lonkang fishes, bought from aquariums into the stream to bring back wild life into nature. He must have spent a bomb. There were many bags of longkang fishes, a few bags of frogs, and even a dozen plastic containers of worms.
‘Why the worms?’ I asked.
He explained these worms are food for the birds and fishes. He had come all the way from Jurong West and wanted the kids to have a taste of what he used to do as a child, playing in the lonkang, but catching longkang fishes instead. I asked won’t these fishes die? He assured me they won’t as they are hardy and the stream is clean, as it flows down from the hill further up.
I wished them a good day and met up with Mike. As we left the park, we were horrified to see the trash we had picked just an hour before strewn all over the ground near the bin. Worst, two bagged-trash left by the cleaners were all torn open and trash flew all over. Two other bags of leaves remained in tact. The monkeys must had done it. We debated if we should clean up the mess as the monkeys might come back. We cleared the trash around the bin but couldn’t do much for the torn bags.
This has been a problem I had brought up with NEA. While the various agencies segregate the bins under NPark, LTA (at bus stops) and NEA (along PCN), the monkeys do not bother about all this segregation and will zoom in on the bins along the rim of the park, at the bus stop along Bukit Timah Road (over turning the bins many times) and now at targeting bins in the car park. The only bins not touched are the monkey-proof bins in the park. But haven’t the authority ever considered that monkeys venture out of the park? It is now quite obvious that bagged trash should not be kept along the road waiting for pick up where there are monkeys lurking around.
I have written to the agencies involved and now await, as I did last year, for things to change and improve. If we can’t stop humans from littering, the least we can do is to stop monkeys from contributing to the problem as well.