High-rise littering refers to throwing or dropping objects from a high level, such as a balcony or window. The objects may range from something innocuous as tissues or snack wrappers, to dangerous items like lighted cigarette buds, glass beer bottles, and flower pots. Such conduct will not only result in environmental pollution but may cause harm and damage to property and/or persons below.
It has been reported that high-rise littering has increased by more than 60% – from 2017-2019, there were an average of 19,000 cases, and from 2020-2022, there were an average of 31,200 cases.
To further deter such conduct, starting from 1 July 2023, under the Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA) amendments, a statutory presumption will be in place whereby the registered owner or tenant of a residential unit from where the high-rise littering occurred will be automatically presumed to have committed the offence.
Evidence obtained through surveillance cameras or submitted by the public may be used to identify the occupants and/or the residential unit responsible for high-rise littering. The owner or tenant must then, within 14 days, prove to the relevant authorities that they are not the offender.
It should be noted that when children, the elderly, or persons with disabilities commit high-rise littering, the authorities will review the matter on a case-by-case basis.
Thus, Singapore has implemented stringent laws and measures to combat high-rise littering. Depending on the number of convictions and the severity of the offence, the punishment for a person found guilty of high-rise littering may include Corrective Work Orders, fines, and even imprisonment.
What is the Penalty for High-rise Littering?
Under EPHA, any individual who commits a high-rise littering offence is liable to a fine of up to:
- $2,000 for a first conviction,
- $4,000 for a second conviction, and
- $10,000 for the third and subsequent convictions.
The highest fine meted out for high-rise littering was in 2015 when a man was fined S$19,800 for repeatedly flicking cigarette butts out of his flat.
By: Noelle Teoh