SINGAPORE — Diners at public eating areas are not required to wipe their tables after use, but they should not leave behind litter on or around the tables, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Tuesday (Oct 17).
The agency issued this clarification in response to a video on social media showing an exchange between two NEA enforcement officers and a diner outside Tekka Market and Food Centre in Little India on Saturday.
The video shows two enforcement officers dressed in black speaking to a diner outside the food centre. One of the officers is seen holding onto the diner’s identity card and taking down his particulars.
The officers are then heard telling the diner to “clean the table” before leaving and reminding him to return his used tray and crockery to the tray return area.
The diner then asks the officers if he is required to wipe any spillage on the table, to which the officers reply “yes”.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, NEA said that it was aware of the video and clarified that the diner had been issued a warning for not clearing his glass and drink can when he left the table.
“While diners are not required to wipe the tables after use, we would like to remind diners that no one should leave behind any litter on or around the tables. These include tissues, wet wipes, drink cans, shells, and bones,” the agency added.
In June, NEA and the Singapore Food Agency announced that enforcement officers would start taking down the particulars of diners who do not return their used trays and crockery and any litter after finishing their meals at hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts.
First-time offenders will be issued with a written warning, while repeat offenders will be fined or charged in court. The stepping up of enforcement action is part of efforts to enforce the tray-return rule, introduced progressively in 2021 and 2022.
Diners who do not pick up wrappers, straws, tissues or anything that has dropped off the table onto the floor are also considered to have broken the law.
“We encourage diners to keep the table clean as a gesture of courtesy to the next diner,” NEA said.