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Singapore’s National Environment Agency Responded Fast to Feedback

On 22 May, 2010, a very inconsiderate man held a lighted cigarette in between his lips while doing his job in distributing the National Recycling Programme’s bag. Along the common corridor of the Singapore HDB flat, the smoke went into each of the house as the man passed by.

The National Recycling Programme is an environmental-friendly project initiated by the National Environment Agency (NEA). A big plastic bag is distributed to each family for them to collect their unwanted but recyclable items, and leaving it at the door for collection on a certain day of every month. In this way, it helps the earth by reducing waste.

The deliveryman had strongly violated both the government sector (National Environment Agency) and his company’s (Veolia ES Singapore Pte Ltd) rules of not smoking while working. His actions had not only caused great discomfort to the residents who were non-smokers, but also badly reflected on the environmental-friendly project.

An email was sent to the company in charge of the environmental friendly project as well as NEA, on a Saturday (non-working day) to feedback about the incident. Within the second working day (Tuesday), both NEA and Veolia ES Singapore Pte Ltd responded to clearly indicate their stand that their staffs were not allowed to smoke while carrying out their work. The staff who had violated their rules had faced disciplinary actions and the entire team was issued warning.

Though the exact punishment is not stated, we can see both NEA and Veolia ES Singapore Pte Ltd’s efforts in making the National Recycling Programme a success.

Email sent by resident

Saturday, 22 May, 2010

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I'm a resident of Tanjong Pagar Plaza (block #).

A moment ago, a man just dropped a yellow recycling bag for National Recycling Programme at my door. I love the idea of recycling items for a better environment and I believe it will also show the world Singapore's effort to promote green life. However, the man had a lighted cigarette in his mouth and the awful smoke came into my house and lasted for a few minutes. My entire family is very sensitive to cigarette smoke and it will affect our health a lot.

I wish to point out:
- it is very unfair to non-smoking residents
- the delivery man who smokes while doing his job has badly reflected the environmental-friendly project

Please kindly do something to solve this problem. I would strongly recommend:
- a smoking ban in all HDB corridors
- delivery-men of the recycling bags to not smoke while doing their work

Thanks and Regards,

Response from Veolia ES Singapore Pte Ltd

Tuesday, 25 May, 2010

Dear Customer,

We regret for the distressed caused by our contractor whom had violated our operational procedures of not smoking at all times while working. Please be assured that we take this matter seriously and had issued a stern warning to the entire team including penalty to the wrongdoer. All our workers were also reminded again or will face similar consequences which could lead to termination of service. We apologize for the inconvenient caused. Thank you.

Best regards,
Customer Service
Veolia ES Singapore Pte Ltd

Response from National Environment Agency (NEA) Singapore

Tuesday, 25 May, 2010

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I refer to your feedback on 22 May 2010.

We have investigated the feedback with the public waste collector in-charge of the area, Veolia ES. It was found that the staff had violated the operational procedures of not smoking at all times while working. We have been assured by Veolia that they are taking this matter seriously. Veolia has already issued a stern warning to the entire team including a penalty to the staff who was smoking. In addition, we were informed that all Veolia staff have been reminded of this operational procedure and will face similar consequences which could lead to termination of service.

We apologise for any inconvenience and discomfort caused to you and your family.

Thank you for your feedback and support of recycling.

Best regards and have a good day.

You may also be interested in:
- High Rise Flat Littering of Cigarette Butts
- Ways for Governments to Help Their Citizens to Quit Smoking
- Smoking in Corridor

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