A mandatory tray-clearing initiative was announced by the National Environment Agency (NEA) in May this year.
This means that the returning of trays and crockery by diners is now a must at public dining places in Singapore.
Advisory period ending soon
However, the punitive measures did not kick in immediately. The initiative comes with an advisory period from June 1 to Aug. 31, 2021.
In the past few weeks, Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs), SG Clean Ambassadors, Community Volunteers and NEA officers were deployed at hawker centres to remind diners to clear their trays and also get rid of litter, such as used wet tissues, wrappers, and food remnants.
This new restriction is not a new law, NEA said, as leaving litter on dining tables is already enforceable as a littering offence under the Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA).
Posters and banners have been progressively put up at hawker centres, and more tray return infrastructure have been gradually installed.
Fines will kick in from Sep. 1, 2021
Enforcement action will start taking effect from Sep. 1, 2021 at all hawker centres and will be carried at other public dining places such as food court and coffeeshops from the fourth quarter of 2021.
Enforcement officers will continue to advise diners to properly clear their dirty trays, crockery and litter during this time.
Accidental spillages of drink or gravy on the table is not an offence, according to NEA.
Enforcement will apply to recalcitrant diners who do not heed the officers’ advice. First-time offenders will then be issued with a written warning.
Second-time offenders will face a composition fine of S$300, while subsequent offenders may face court fines.
The elderly and children under the age of 12 can get help from others in clearing their trays if they cannot do so by themselves.
Top image by Jane Zhang
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