NEA issued 1,090 tickets for smoking in HDB estates in 2020 as more people home due to Covid-19

The perils of not going out as much.

Belmont Lay | February 04, 2021, 05:48 PM

Twice as many enforcement actions were taken against smoking in prohibited areas in HDB estates in 2020 compared to 2019.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it issued 1,090 tickets in 2020 for smoking in prohibited areas, such as common corridors, staircases and lift lobbies.

This marked a 112-per-cent increase from the number of tickets issued in 2019.

In 2020, NEA received 25 per cent more feedback for smoking in HDB estates, which can be attributed to more people working from home, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In response to behavioural and work-life changes arising from Covid-19, NEA adjusted its enforcement posture and prioritised resources to focus on areas with higher feedback,” the agency said in its media release.

High-rise littering also up

NEA also received 45 per cent more feedback pertaining to high-rise littering in 2020, compared to 2019.

In response, NEA increased its high-rise littering camera deployment by over 50 per cent last year.

This resulted in 1,120 enforcement actions taken so far against high-rise litterbugs.

This is an increase of about 80 per cent from the number of enforcement actions in 2019.

Overall, tickets issued fell

However, the number of tickets issued for littering and smoking offences dropped from more than 49,000 in 2019 to more than 36,000 in 2020.

NEA explained: “The decrease in 2020 is attributed to the Covid-19 measures implemented, such as during the two-month circuit breaker period, which led to fewer tickets being issued for littering and smoking offences overall.”

The agency said there were also less enforcement actions for littering offences in traditionally high footfall locations, such as transport nodes and congregation areas outside of malls or open fields.

But more enforcement actions were taken against smoking at prohibited areas in HDB estates and for high-rise littering offences.

Abuse of NEA officers up

Abuse of NEA enforcement officers in the course of engagement with offenders have also increased in 2020.

There were 90 such cases in 2020.

Out of these, more than 70 cases occurred when officers engaged smoking or littering offenders.

This is about a 10 per cent increase from the 79 abuse cases in 2019.

“Cases of abuse are reported to the police, and we strongly urge members of the public to cooperate with our enforcement officers if approached,” it said.

Top photo via