Serangoon resident sees contractors disposing of paint on grass patch frequented by dogs, calls for more enforcement

When confronted, the contractor allegedly said they would be fined if they disposed of it in the drain.

Daniel Seow | February 08, 2024, 05:24 PM



A dog owner was out for a walk with his pet at Sunshine Park in Serangoon on Feb. 2 (Friday) when he noticed a worrying sight.

The owner, who wished to be known as Chong, saw contractors washing off leftover paint from their pails in the middle of a grass patch, after painting the park's running track.

He's concerned for pets that visit the park, as they might get sick from the residual chemicals.

The grass patch is frequented by pet owners, particularly in the mornings and evenings, he told Mothership.

The incident

Chong, 31, who lives around the area, said he visited the park at around 11am that day.

An exercise area at the park had been cordoned off for maintenance works.

Image courtesy of Chong.

Workers were applying a fresh coat of paint to the running track in the park.

As Chong lingered in the park, watching his dog run around, he saw one of the contractors bring two pails into the middle of the field.

Image courtesy of Chong.

The man then used a hose to wash off leftover paint and paint residue from the pails onto the grass.

Image courtesy of Chong.

The red paint left a noticeable stain on the grass patch.

"I don't know what is the proper way to dispose of such chemicals, but it's definitely not in the middle of this field," Chong shared.

Chong immediately brought his dog close to him, to stop it from going near the stained patch.

He questioned the worker, who said he was just following instructions from his supervisor.


Chong then confronted the supervisor, and gathered that the disposal of paint on the grass was to avoid getting fined by the National Environment Agency (NEA) for doing so in the drain.

Chong said the supervisor's plan was to spray more water on the paint residue so that it would "dissipate" into the ground.

However, Chong argued that the particular field was frequented by dogs, which typically would sniff around and eat things off the ground.

"Are you going to be responsible for the dogs?" he asked.

During the conversation, Chong understood that the contractors had been engaged by Marine Parade Town Council.

He also said that when he tried to take photos, the worker tried to wash off as much of the paint from the grass as possible.

A vibrant gathering spot for dogs and owners

Chong later reported the incident to the Town Council.

He's hoping that enforcement action can be taken against the company involved, and that companies will dispose of potentially hazardous substances in a safer manner.

Chong pointed out that the area serves as an informal dog park — where dog owners in the community bring their furkids on a regular basis.

Image courtesy of Chong.

He has also warned other pet owners to avoid the spot where the paint was washed off, as he doesn't know if it's still contaminated with chemicals.

Chong said that he went back a few days later to find the paint stain gone, but has doubts over whether the patch of grass is safe at the moment.

"I won't dare to bring my dog there until it rains a little more," he added.

Mothership reached out to Marine Parade Town Council for comment on Feb. 2, and will update this article if they reply.

Most paints harmful to dogs, can cause vomiting, seizures

Most paints are harmful to dogs. This because they contain chemical compounds, such as lead and ammonia.

Freshly applied paint, or flakes of peeling paint, may irritate a dog’s digestive system if swallowed.

Paints that were recently applied can also be dangerous if inhaled by dogs for a long time.

Some types of paint are classified as toxic industrial waste and should be disposed of according to NEA guidelines.

As for latex, acrylic or water-based paints, Nippon Paint says they should not be poured into drains, sinks or onto the ground as they can contaminate the environment.

Instead, these paints should be allowed to dry before it is put in the regular trash in solid form.

Not the first time

This isn't the first time concerns were raised in Singapore over dog safety due to contaminated fields.

In October 2023, three dogs died after visiting an informal dog park in Kovan, with pet owners alleging that a construction project there had contaminated the field.

Authorities later stated that poisoning was "most likely" what caused two of the three dogs to die.

However, investigations found no evidence that the field was contaminated.

Top image from Chong