Raffles Institution Design for Change School Challenge 2011 KILLING OFF KILLER LITTER Team Leader : Lim Haw Jia (2L) Team Members : Lee Yu Howe (2L) Teo Xue Heng (2L) Teacher‐Mentor: Miss Stephanie Lee
Acknowledgement We would like to acknowledge and extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following persons who have made the completion of this Design of Change project possible: Our Research Education teacher in charge, Ms. Stephanie Lee for her guidance, vital encouragement and support throughout the course of the project. Mrs. Lim Yoke Tong, for helping us out with the first three days of our action week. Our survey respondents, for helping to complete both our pilot surveys and our surveys. Our classmates and members of the general public, for helping us to sign the petition. Raffles Institution, for agreeing to let us hold an exhibition at the junior block The Jurong town council, for giving us permission to stick up our posters. Our parents for guiding us along the way. Thank you for making this project a success! We are truly thankful and grateful for all the help and support that you have provided
Table of contents Chapter 1: Why this DFC journey? ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Chapter 2: Background Research ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Chapter 3: Preparation for action week ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Chapter 4: Our action week ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Chapter 5: Reflections ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Appendix ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Bibliography ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
We were inspired to embark on this DFC journey after watching the introductory video that was presented to us during a RE (Research Education) mass lecture. The video reminded us that we have the power to make a difference in bettering the lives of others in our community. Thus, we thought that it would be meaningful and interesting to take on DFC as our RE project. After brainstorming for ideas and reading up about some of the pressing concerns in Singapore, we have identified killer litter as a major problem posing a danger to the lives of many Singaporeans. Therefore, we have decided to do something to solve this issue. The two main focuses of our project are thus, to investigate the causes and possible solutions for killer litter and to also create awareness amongst the public about this issue. For the past few years, killer litter has been claiming the lives of many innocent Singaporeans. This is becoming a serious problem that must be solved immediately. Thus, this project will greatly benefit society as it will attempt to solve the problem of killer litter in Singapore and possibly saving lives, making Singapore a safer and cleaner place to live in. We are hoping to create a change in people’s mindset about the issue of killer litter. By showing them the adverse consequences of killer litter, we hope to influence them to become more civic‐minded Singaporeans and at the same time, cut down the number of casualties resulting from killer litter. According to our background research, there was a staggering amount of 4900 warning letters issued to residents living in HDB estates about placing objects in dangerous manners. This shows that the government’s efforts to educate Singaporeans have either been too insignificant or ineffective in creating a change in people’s mindsets. Our project is about creating awareness about killer litter and reducing the number of innocent lives lost because of killer litter. We plan to do this through the “7‐day action week” structure of DFC. We plan to spend 3 days of the action week holding an exhibition in our school to promote awareness about killer litter among our fellow schoolmates. We are also planning to hold another exhibition in a community centre to further reach out to the residents there. We would make a model of a HDB flat with litter hanging out of the windows. We would also make fake people at the bottom of the flat. We would then drop the various pieces of killer litter on to the fake people, showing those viewing our exhibition the adverse effects of killer litter and why we should not commit it. We believe that showing others a model of what is happening would be more realistic and would make them realize that killer litter would cause major injuries amongst others and that we should not commit such acts. Thus, we came out with this solution to tackle the pressing issues of killer litter.
For many years, killer litter has been the cause of deaths for many innocent Singaporeans. Reports of people throwing flower pots, fans, glass bottles and whatnot have been all over the news, resulting in unwanted injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to concussion and severe bleeding. Toddlers, teenagers, working adults, grandparents, nobody in Singapore are safe from killer litter. Also, plants and trees will be damaged; pathways will be stained, public areas such as playgrounds will be damaged and dirtied. Not only will these litters emit an unpleasant stench, but also it would attract insects and pests, which may carry and spread bacteria and viruses. Singapore’s reputation of being a clean and green society will be ruined, just because of a minority of uncivilized citizens. Litter throwing has been a problem in Singapore, where more than 80 percent of the population lives in high‐rise apartments, sometimes resulting in injury or death. The number of warnings served on residents by HDB and Town Councils for placing objects in a dangerous manner are 4,650 per month in 2008. In the first eight months of 2009, there was a slight increase to 4,900 warnings per month. This is an increase of five percent over eight months. Statistics have shown that despite 50 000 verbal warnings on killer litter, there were still such cases in Singapore. Joint surveillance operations by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and town councils have seen 14 litterbugs fined and/or sent for corrective work orders from 2007 to 2009. There are also many recent killer litter incidents that have caused injuries or have came very close to causing injuries. 16th June 2011: A 18‐Year‐Old boy was sentenced to ten days jail for hurling a flower pot down 11 floors for no apparent reason. 25th May 2011: A 14‐YEAR‐OLD boy was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly throwing a glass bottle from the sixth floor of a block of flats in Punggol Central. 11th and 12th January 2011: Two flower pots and a pair of slippers came flying down from a HDB flat. Fortunately no one was hurt. 15th December 2009: A woman threw a bottle of chilli sauce out of her 16th‐floor flat in Compassvale, disrupting a wedding below her block and injuring a guest who had to be hospitalised. The culprit was Thiang Ai Lian. 15th December 2009: Killer litter flowerpot injures guest at a wedding.
24th January 2009: A middle‐aged Chinese woman was hit by a broken fan thrown from above. She was later hospitalised. Although killer litter does not often fall, it is still a potential threat. We must not close one eye on a life threatening problem, as when it strikes, the consequences are severe. Some common examples of potential killer litter are Items placed precariously on ledges such as flower pots; Items placed horizontally on the bamboo pole holders such as brooms and mops Items hung from ceiling above the parapet wall such as bird cages. In general, objects or itemsplaced in a dangerous manner which could fall easily are considered potential killer litter. The main culprits of killer litter are children, mentally disabled adults and lazy residents. Children cannot be blamed, but their parents should take the blame. Without proper teachings, these innocent children may find it fun and interesting to watch things fall down from their house. But yet they are unknowingly committing the crime of killer litter, and even though they are young and innocent, their actions actually threaten the public. The next group of people is mentally disabled adults. These people also should not take the blame as they are mentally disabled. The HDB may consider moving these groups of people to the lower floors so as to reduce the impact of the killer litter they throw. The last group of people is the lazy residents. These people are insensitive to the needs of others as they put other people’s lives at risks just for the benefit of themselves. Every house should have a rubbish bin and instead of taking several steps to the bin, these people are too lazy to the extent that they would rather risk other people’s lives for convenience. The current law states that anyone convicted of throwing killer litter can be fined up to $2,500 and/or jailed for up to six months. The HDB can also acquire the culprit’s flat or terminate the tenancy of a rental flat if he or she flouts this law. Killer litter results in many consequences. Firstly, killer litter can result in serious physical injuries such as: Brain damage, broken bones, concussion, severe bruising. Next, killer litter can result in possible death. This can be caused by: blunt force trauma, excessive bleeding and fractured skull. Finally, killer litter can result in negative psychological effects such as phobia of HDB walkways. To every problem, there is a solution. After numerous sessions of brainstorming, we have designed a solution to this problem. Firstly, we are going to paste posters around Sengkang and Jurong, the two places that we have identified as killer litter hotspots. These posters will educate the public of the dangers of killer litter and also remind them to take safety precautions so as to prevent any accidental incidents of killer litter.
Next, we plan to hold an exhibition around the void deck to educate the public about the dangers of killer litter. This exhibition will also have some models and drawings related to killer litter. The third solution we have crafted is to build a ledge on the second floor of HDB flats. This ledge is one that will catch any killer litter that may have been dropped from above. Once a week, we will get cleaners to collect any litter. As for the issue of safety, these ledges will have steps connected to the main structure. This will make it easier for the cleaners to access the ledge, and will also drastically reduce the chance of falling while trying to get to the ledge. At the edges of the ledge, we will install small barricades. Not only will the ledges prevent the cleaners from falling over, it will also prevent strong winds from blowing the litter to the ground floor. Though it may be expensive, this ledge is sure to work. The safety of Singaporeans will be reassured with this ledge in place. Our last solution is to increase the penalty for throwing killer litter, whether intentionally or accidentally. As many Singaporeans are easily swayed by money, this increase in penalty for throwing killer litter will surely make Singaporeans think twice before throwing killer litter. Also, the NEA can assign some of their staff to conduct random spot checks on the HDB estates. These spot checks are aimed at residents who dangerously place potential killer litter objects. Small fines will be given to those which fail the spot check. These solutions will cater and benefit the majority of Singaporeans that live in HDB flats. We hope that with the solutions that we have crafted, we can help change the lives of our Singaporeans, and hopefully eradicate killer litter in Singapore.
Our survey results: Before we embarked on our Design for Change action week, we wanted to better equip ourselves to make a positive change in our local community. In order to so, we conducted a public survey to find out about Singaporeans’ current perception of killer litter. We had hoped that by conducting this survey, we would gain insight about the awareness and attitude towards killer litter among the Singaporean community. After compiling and analyzing our survey results, we have discovered much useful information that could aid us in our Design for Change journey. Some of this information include the effectiveness of government’s efforts to curb killer litter, possible solutions to solve the problem of killer litter, etc. The results of our survey are as shown: 1. Awareness of killer litter among Singaporeans: After compiling our results, we have discovered that many Singaporeans have a false perspective about killer litter. Many of them feel that they know what killer litter is, yet are unable to properly define the term. The first part of this conclusion is supported by the results from the question, “Do you know what killer litter is?” As shown in figure 1, 100% of our respondents are confident that they know what killer litter is. This figure is astoundingly large and shows us Figure 1: Awareness of killer litter among respondents that most Singaporeans are aware of what killer litter is. However, this initial assumption was later proven wrong when many of the respondents failed to provide an accurate explanation and definition of killer litter in the second part of the question. From Figure 2, we can see that many respondents are unable to accurately define the term “killer litter”. This result is contradictory to the previous finding as it shows that the Singaporean community lacks awareness about killer litter. From these two findings, we can infer that while many Singaporeans feel that they knew what killer litter is, more than half of the respondents gave a wrong explanation of killer when asked to do so. This finding, along with the previous one, shows us that while Figure 2: Awareness of killer litter among respondentsmany Singaporeans feel that they know what killer
litter is, they actually do not much. In fact, what they have is a false perception of killer litter that is inaccurate and unreliable. This may prove to be a problem as they would not know what is included within the boundaries of killer litter and thus, may commit such an act unknowingly. For example, one may not think that throwing a 10 cent coin out of a HDB flat is considered as killer litter. However, the momentum caused by gravity may exponentially increase the impact of the coin and may eventually cause injury to passers‐by. In order to solve this problem, we feel that we need to raise the awareness of killer litter among Singaporeans and educate them about what killer litter is. This is to ensure that do not develop a false perception of killer litter and unknowingly commit this heinous act. A few ways to do so would be to conduct talks about killer litter, organize exhibitions in local community centers, or even to put up simple posters educating the people about killer litter. These findings are further supported by the results of the mini‐quiz included in the survey that we distributed. This mini‐quiz requires the respondent to identify and tick 3 out of 5 pictures depicting cases of killer litter. The results of this mini‐quiz were very bad and illustrated how ignorant Singaporeans are about killer litter. From figure 3, we can see that 60% of our respondents scored 2 points or less out of a maximum of 3. For such an easy and straightforward quiz, these results are terrible and clearly shows the low levels of Figure 3: Results of mini‐quiz awareness among Singaporeans about killer litter. Furthermore, results from figure 4 shows that 80% of our respondents are not aware of the numerous cases of killer that have been happening in Singapore, some of which resulted in injury and even death. This could mean that there is not enough coverage of these cases by media. This lack of coverage could lead to the undermining of the seriousness of killer litter in the Singaporean community. One may feel that because it doesn’t appear in the news much, it is not as important or significant enough. However, this problem is actually Figure 4: Awareness of the numerous cases of killer littervery real and commonplace in the high‐rise HDB estates found around Singapore. Thus, a food for thought for us would be to include information about previous cases of killer litter in our posters and exhibitions.
In conclusion, we can summarize our findings into 3 points: Many Singaporeans have a false perception of killer litter. There is not enough coverage of killer litter cases in Singapore. We should try to raise more awareness about killer litter in the Singaporean community. 2. Reasons behind the rising trend of killer litter in Singapore To tackle the problem of killer litter effectively, we wanted to find out about the root cause of killer litter to begin with. Only after we have discovered the causes of killer litter are we able to nip the problem in its bud. It would also better equip us to select the best solutions to use to curb killer litter. Firstly, we wanted to know if people committed killer litter knowingly or unknowingly. If most Singaporeans commit killer litter unknowingly, it means that awareness levels about killer litter in the Singaporean community is low and it would be better to focus our project on educating the public on killer litter. However, if more Singaporeans commit litter knowingly, it would be better to come up with some sort of deterrence that would make Singaporeans think twice before throwing rubbish out of their high‐rise apartments. From figure 5, we can see that most of our respondents feel that Singaporeans commit killer litter intentionally. However, there is still quite a large proportion of respondents who feel that Singaporeans commit killer litter unintentionally, about 35%. We feel Figure 5: Intentions of killer litter that this figure is significant enough for us to focus our project on both aspects of educating the public about killer litter, and to come up with deterrence for killer litter. But to come up with more detailed solutions to the problem of killer litter, we would have to identify specific reasons as to why people commit this heinous act. Figure 6 shows the different reasons as to why people commit killer litter intentionally. As we can see, Figure 6: Reasons for intentional killer littermany culprits of killer litter either do it to purposely hurt someone, possibly out of anger or as a prank. Such
cases can be considered as a crime and thus, a possible solution would be to increase the penalty for killer litter. Another main reason for intentional killer litter is that people knowingly place objects in a dangerous position. This demonstrates how uncivilized and ill‐mannered our Singaporean community is. In order to prevent such cases from happening, we suggest organizing frequent spot‐checks around the HDB estates to catch and identify possible killer objects placed in dangerous positions. If people still refuse to change their bad habits, a last resort would be to install a protective ledge1 on new HDB flats to “catch” any falling rubbish or debris and prevent them from falling onto passers‐by. According to our findings, as shown in figure 7, there are two main reasons as to why people unintentionally commit killer litter. The first is carelessness, which is voted by 68% of the respondents to be the most pressing reason. The second is that many Singaporeans do not know the consequences of killer litter and thus, feel that it is alright to do so, despite having no intentions to hurt anybody. In order to solve the problem of carelessness, an effective solution would be to put up posters around the HDB estates to constantly remind residents to be careful not Figure 7: Reasons for unintentional killer litterto throw any litter from their high‐rise apartments. Another effective solution targeted at those who are unaware of the dire consequences of killer litter would be education. Through organized talks and exhibitions, we can educate the general public on the dangerous effects resulted from killer litter. In conclusion, we have identified a few possible solutions to curb the problem of killer litter: Increase penalty for killer litter Conduct frequent spot‐checks around neighborhoods Install protective ledges on HDB flats Organize talks and exhibitions about killer litter Put up posters 3. Public views on killer litter Killer litter has always been a pressing problem that the government has yet to solve. In order to get rid of this problem, HDB (Housing Development Board) has launched an anti‐killer litter campaign to urge Singaporeans to adopt a zero‐tolerance policy towards killer litter. As part of its plan, HDB have sent advisory letters to HDB households; put up displaying posters on all notice boards; and worked with town councils, grassroots organizations, and even religious groups to educate Singaporeans on the consequences of killer litter. However, according to our 1 Refer to proposal to HDB (Housing Development Board) in appendix
survey results, these efforts have either gone unnoticed among the Singaporean community or stirred little interest amongst Singaporeans. Figure 8 shows the public’s response to the question “Have you noticed the government’s efforts to curb killer litter?” From the graph, we can see that a large number of respondents, about 55% have not noticed the government’s efforts to curb killer litter at all. This might be because the government has not been proactive enough in engaging the general public. Instead of relying on posters and flyers, face‐to‐face exhibitions and talks might be more effective in coaching the public into adopting a zero‐tolerance policy towards killer litter. These figures are very disappointing and we hope to be Figure 8: Public views on government efforts able to make an impact by helping to curb the problem of killer litter. This result justifies our project and shows us that there is a need for a solution to stop killer litter once and for all. Through our Design for Change action week, we hope to be able to create a positive impact in this field and change Singapore for the better. Figure 9 shows that majority of our respondents feel that killer litter is a pressing issue that must be solved immediately. This also shows us that many Singaporeans are willing to change for the better and help to solve the problem of killer litter. Thus, as long as a proper action plan is implemented, we feel that it is possible to curb the problem of killer litter. This is also another justification for our project as killer litter is a pressing problem that we should all work to solve as soon as possible. Figure 9: Public views on killer litter After the survey analysis was done, we came up with the 3‐part action plan to help curb the problem of killer litter. The three parts include education (raising the awareness of killer litter among Singaporeans), deterrence and physically stopping killer litter. These 3 parts eventually branch off into finer tasks that we aim to complete as part of our action week. By tackling the problem of killer litter from such a broad perspective, we hope to eradicate the problem as effectively as possible.
Action plan/work allocation: Under the education branch, we hope to raise the awareness of killer litter among the community, especially after discovering that many Singaporeans have a false perception about what killer litter is. In order to do so, we organize an exhibition about killer litter to educate the public about the whats, whens, wheres, whys and hows of killer litter. After the exhibition, we also plan to put up posters around HDB estates to warn people about the dire consequences of killer litter and remind them not to commit this heinous act. Under the deterrence branch, we plan to propose and petition for an increase in the penalty for killer litter. Hopefully, this would make Singaporeans think twice before disposing their rubbish in such a dangerous manner. Other than that, we also aim to petition for more frequent spot checks around HDB estates by the town council and grassroots members to identify any potential killer litter and penalize the culprit before it can cause any damage. In order to solve the problem physically, we also plan to petition for the government to install ledges underneath the windows of new HDB flats to “catch” any possible killer litter thrown from the high‐rise apartments. Design for change "Killing Off Killer Litter" Education Physical Deterrence Exhibition to Petition for safety Petition for Posters to remind Petition to educate modification of more frequent Singaporeans increase penalty Singaporeans HDB flats spotchecks In terms of work allocation, we hope to be as equal and fair as possible. As such, we have come up with a table to illustrate how the work throughout the whole project was distributed and completed throughout the course of our Design for Change journey.
Prelimina Group Posters Exhibition Proposal Written Oral ry Project for Design and Report Presentation Idea Proposal Action petition week Lim Haw Jia: √ √ √ √ √ √ Teo Xue √ √ √ √ Heng: Lee Yu Howe: √ √ √ √ √ After allocating the different tasks and jobs, we decided to plan out a timetable to follow for our 7‐day Design for Change action week. This timetable would help us keep track of our progress and would also enable us to be better‐organized and more efficient, enhancing the effectiveness of our action plan as a whole. Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 •Held in •Held in •Held in •Create and •Create and •Hold •Submit School school school put up put up exhibition on proposal and Atrium Atrium Atrium posters in posters killer litter in petition to •Raise •Raise •Raise school around community respective awareness of awareness of awareness of Singapore center government Design For Design for Design for agencies Change Change Change
Risk management: However, carrying out our 7‐day action week, as with any other project, would involve certain risks. Firstly, we may not be able to get the approval of a local community center to conduct our exhibition with our low status as secondary school students. If this is the case, we plan to conduct the 2nd day of exhibition in our school too. Although it is a shame to be unable to reach out to other Singaporeans outside our school walls, we would still have to finish up our 7‐day Design for Change action week. Another possible risk is that our proposal would get rejected by the respective authorities that we submit them to. If this occurs, we would put it up as a suggestion instead. Hopefully, our plan would be successfully implemented and help to save lives.
Our action week: • Held in Raffles Institution main atrium • Put up poster for mass exhibition to raise awareness about Design for Day 1 Change • Held in Raffles Institution main atrium • Put up poster for mass exhibition to raise awareness about Design for Day 2 Change • Held in Raffles Institution main atrium • Put up poster for mass exhibition to raise awareness about Design for Day 3 Change • Held around Raffles Institution • Put up posters to raise awareness about killer litter Day 4 • Held around HDB estates in Jurong • Put up posters to raise awareness about killer litter Day 5 • Held in Raffles Institution • Hold exhibition to create awareness about design for change Day 6 • Held at Jurong Point and Raffles Institution • Collect signatures for our petition Day 7 Setbacks and Obstacles faced:
The table above represents the steps that we have taken during the course of our Design for Change journey to help curb the rising trend of killer litter in Singapore. As you can see, this action plan is different to that in the previous chapter. This is because we met with a few set‐backs while trying to complete our project. These set‐backs were truly frustrating for us to accept. However, there is a famous saying that “failure is the mother of success”. We could only grit our teeth and make the most of these set‐backs by learning from our mistakes. The first major obstacle that we faced was getting approval to organize and conduct an exhibition in a local Community Centre in Singapore. However, this was one that we could not overcome. Despite our repeated efforts to get approval from various Community Centres around Singapore, they constantly rejected our proposals and refused to lend us a space in their premises to conduct our exhibition. We felt very disappointed as we had not been given a chance to raise awareness about killer litter among the general public. This was probably due to the fact that we were only secondary school students so they were hesitant about trusting us with their premises and did not have faith in our abilities to pull off such an event. This greatly compromised the success of our project as we had hoped to cure the “false perception” that majority of the public have about killer litter. However, we did manage to get approval to conduct an exhibition in school. Although the area of influence is not as wide compared to an exhibition in a Community Centre, it was still better than nothing and it was a great experience for our RE group. After all, every step counts whether big or small. Thus, a potential area for improvement is to be more effective in raising the awareness of killer litter in Singapore and have access to a medium by which we can have a wider area of influence on the general public. This would allow us to reach out to more Singaporeans and hopefully change their current mindset about killer litter. We hope to encourage more Singaporeans to become more civic‐conscious and socially responsible citizens by influencing them to adopt a zero‐tolerance attitude towards killer litter. This is also an area for further development that we suggest to anyone who wants to continue with this project. Another major set‐back that we faced was that we were unable to prepare the proposal on time to submit it to the respective government agencies. This was due to our own wrongdoing and failure to manage our time well. As we were organizing our exhibition and creating our posters, we neglected the proposal and left it to the last minute. Although we were successful in getting signatures for our petition, we did not have enough time to pitch our idea to the respective government agencies that are involved in the field of killer litter in Singapore. We feel that this could have been avoided if we had planned and managed our time properly. Our Research Education teacher‐mentor did request of us to create minutes during the weekly RE meetings, in which we were supposed to include our tasks to be completed and its deadlines. However, as we were too excited and caught up in creating the posters and conducting the exhibitions, we neglected the proposal and often missed the deadlines to complete it. Eventually, we paid the price for our procrastination and were unable to submit the proposal before the final deadline for the report. Nevertheless, we are still submitting it
after our RE project is completed. Hopefully, the respective government agencies would acknowledge the effort that we put into our project and implement a few, if not all of our solutions. We truly believe that more action needs to be taken by the government to help curb the rising trend of killer litter. Perhaps we could have been stricter with each other about meeting our task deadlines and press each other to finish our work. By being more stringent, we could have been more focused on our project and avoided such a situation. Lastly, we realized that many Singaporeans seemed uninterested or were put off by the mention of killer litter. This caused many difficulties for us during our exhibitions as people were not even attracted to look at our work in the first place. Thus, we had to approach the general public and persuade them to take a look at our exhibition. This required a great deal of effort and was really tiring for all of us. However, it was worthwhile to be able to educate the general public about killer litter and deter them from committing this act in the future. The exhibition was well‐received and many people were impressed by the quality of work coming from secondary two students. Details of action week:
1. Mass exhibition to raise awareness for Design for Change As part of the 7‐day action week program that we have to complete throughout the course of our “Design for Change” journey, our overall teacher‐in‐charge had kindly booked our school’s main atrium to hold a mass exhibition for all the “Design for Change” project groups. This mass exhibition was conducted to increase awareness about “Design for Change” among the staff and students of Raffles Institution. Hopefully with the buzz and excitement created from this exhibition, we sincerely hope that there would be more participants in the “Design for Change” project competition next year. This mass exhibition took up 3 whole days of our action week and took a huge burden off of our shoulders. For this mass exhibition, we were required to create a poster2 to introduce our topic and our research to the rest of the school. We had put in a lot of effort into creating the poster and were very proud of the end‐product. Not only was it informative, it was also aesthetically appealing and the information was systematically organized. As our base, we used a rectangular Styrofoam board with dimensions of approximately 45cm by 30cm. We then covered half of it with black colored paper and the other half with red colored paper. Also, we bordered the edges with a silver duct tape for a polished and trimmed effect. On the side with black colored paper, we included a brief introduction to “Design for Change” and killer litter. We also included the dire consequences of killer litter, possible solutions and relevant statistics on the black side. On the red side, we included research of our own, ranging from our survey results to our survey analysis. This method of organization is not only systematic, but is also pleasing to read for the audience. For aesthetic effect, we included many pictures and even had an interesting cartoon advertisement about killer litter. 2 Refer to Figure 10
Figure 10: Our poster on display during the mass exhibition List of information included in our poster: Brief introduction to killer litter Statistics about the rising trend of killer litter and its previous cases – By showing the audience this piece of information, we hope to enlighten them to the increasing trend of killer litter and illustrate how real this issue is. Hopefully, when they are able to relate to the severity of the issue, they would make a conscious effort to adopt a zero‐tolerance attitude towards killer litter. Consequences of killer litter – By educating the audience about the consequences of killer litter, we hope that they are able to empathize and relate to the victims of killer litter. This would then cause them to think twice before throwing killer litter, knowing very well that they may cause harm and even death to others. Survey analysis and results – We hope that by showing our survey results, we can share our research with other students in our school. We also hope that the results would be a wake‐up call to many in the audience. Certain results reflected very badly of Singaporeans and clearly showed our ignorance, ill manners and social irresponsibility. E.g. many Singaporeans have “a false perception” of killer litter.
Conclusion – We had concluded by reiterating the main points in the poster and by emphasizing the importance of curbing killer litter. As for work distribution, each one of us had to be present for at least one day of the exhibition. Thus, we split the three days among ourselves, each one of us being in charge of a particular day. We had to report to the main atrium after school for about an hour to tend to our “booths” and explain our projects to any interested passers‐by. There were also short quizzes given out to the audience in order to test their knowledge after exploring the exhibits. The results from the quizzes were great and has shown that many passers‐by did learn a lot about “Design for Change” and community service from our posters. However, there were also many uninterested passers‐by who simply ignored our exhibition at the main atrium. Thus, we had to persuade and entice people to explore our exhibits. 2. Putting up posters to raise awareness about killer litter In order to raise awareness about killer litter in Singapore, our group has designed an awareness poster to put in various HDB estates in Singapore and around our school. This poster serves to remind Singaporeans about the dangers of killer litter. As such, we added in a picture of a falling axe to illustrate how dangerous killer litter can be. At the high altitude that killer litter is thrown from, even a small pencil can gain enough momentum and force to physically injure someone.
As you can see, our poster was designed using Adobe Photoshop. The green glass bottles represent very common killer litters that are thrown down from high rise HDB apartments. These objects unknowing turn into dangerous weapons, such as the axe, as it gains momentum from falling off a high altitude. After seeing this representation of killer litter, we hope that the general public would be reminded of its severe consequences and deter from committing this heinous act. In order to put these posters up, we had to get permission from both the school and various town councils around Singapore. After getting the school’s approval, we put the posters up in “hotspots” where a lot of students and staff pass by. We put them up on the 26th of July and left them for about a day for people to read and interpret our posters. As for the posters around the different HDB estates, we put them up on the 27th of July and left them for one day so that people could read and interpret. It was something that we had never done before and thus, we were unsure of how to stick the posters on pillars and walls. Eventually, we decided that double‐sided tape was the best option to use as it was durable, strong and convenient to use (as compared to glue). The poster was generally well‐received and many of our classmates who saw it described as “a creative way to represent killer litter” and it “reminded” them of its “severe consequences”. Thus, we feel that the poster was generally a success and that it was effective in achieving its intended purpose, to remind Singaporeans to deter from committing killer litter. 3. Conducting exhibitions to create awareness about killer litter in Singapore. Although we could not get approval to conduct an exhibition in a community center, our teacher‐mentor has managed to book the junior block atrium in our school for us to create a small booth to educate our fellow schoolmates about killer litter. It was held on 5th August from 2.30pm – 5.00pm. However, the timing of our exhibition happened to clash with an Australian Math Competition that was held in school and made compulsory to all students, which was held from 2.30pm – 4.00pm and 5.00pm to 6.00pm. Therefore, we had to take turns in tending the stalls. Haw Jia was in charge of the first shift (2.30pm – 4.00pm) and was also tasked with setting up the booth. Yu Howe and Xue Heng was in charge of the second shift (4.00pm – 5.00pm) and had to dismantle the booth afterwards. It was truly a challenge for Haw Jia to set the booth up himself but we were all quite pleased with the end result. Figure 12: PP Hollow Plastic boards
Our exhibition consisted of two large poster boards that were designed to educate our fellow schoolmates about killer litter. For the base of these posters3, we used big plastic boards of about 100cm by 74cm. On these plastic boards, we included a variety of information, ranging from the consequences of killer litter to our survey results and analysis. We also bordered the edges with colored duct tape for a more polished and trimmed effect. It was more or less a more detailed and informative version of the poster that we did during the mass exhibition. The content of the poster4 included: Introduction ‐ to give the audience a brief outline of our project Examples of killer litter – to educate the audience about what killer litter is and clear the “false perception” of killer litter that we have discovered during our research. By doing so, we hope that the audience would learn to deter from committing killer litter Statistics and cases about killer litter – by showing the audience this piece of information, we hope to enlighten them to the increasing trend of killer litter and illustrate how real this issue is. Hopefully, when they are able to relate to the severity of the issue, they would make a conscious effort to adopt a zero‐tolerance attitude towards killer litter. Consequences of killer litter – by educating the audience about the consequences of killer litter, we hope that they are able to empathize and relate to the victims of killer litter. This would then cause them to think twice before throwing killer litter, knowing very well that they may cause harm and even death to others. Solutions/proposed action plan – by showing them our solutions and proposed plan to stop killer litter, we hope to garner the support of the audience and convince them of our cause. When they are convinced, not only is it easier to influence them to adopt a zero‐tolerance attitude towards killer litter, it would also be easier for us to obtain signatures for our petition. Survey analysis and results – by showing our survey results, we can share our research with our audience. We also hope that the results would be a wake‐up call to many in the audience. Certain results reflected very badly of Singaporeans and clearly showed our ignorance, ill manners and social irresponsibility. E.g. many Singaporeans have “a false perception” of killer litter. Conclusion – to highlight and reiterate the focus of our project. It is also a final appeal to our audience to avoid throwing killer litter. 3 Refer to figure 124 Refer to Annex 1 for exact details
Other than the two poster boards, we also brought a laptop to screen a timed PowerPoint presentation on killer litter. This is a more interactive alternative to the poster boards and may appeal especially to the younger generation who are more IT‐savvy. These youngsters may find our poster boards a bore and the PowerPoint slides would definitely be better in educating them about killer litter. The information on our slides is pretty similar to that on the poster boards. However, it is definitely more concise, vivid and contains more pictures, drawings and such. The content of our PowerPoint presentation include:
Figure 13: Our small exhibition on killer litter in the junior block of our school Overall, the exhibition was very successful. Although the crowd on that day was small, our exhibition still attracted many passers‐by to take a look. Furthermore, majority of them were impressed by the quality of our work, taking into consideration the fact that we were “still juniors in the school”. One teacher even said that our exhibition has “given him a new insight into killer litter” and has “encouraged” him to “deter from committing killer litter”. However, we are still disappointed by the fact that we could not hold a bigger‐scale exhibition in a Community Centre. Upon seeing how smoothly this exhibition went, we could have made an even larger positive impact on our Singaporean community if we had been given the chance to utilize the premises of a Community Centre and be able to reach out to a larger spread of Singaporeans. 4. Petitioning for HDB to step up its efforts to curb killer litter The last component of our 7‐day action plan is to petition5 for the government to be more proactive in its campaign to stop killer litter. As we can see from our survey results, the government’s efforts to curb killer litter have mostly gone unnoticed among the general public. 5 Refer to Annex 2 for full proposal
This could be a reason why the number of killer litter cases has been increasing steadily over the years. Thus, we have come up with a proposal for HDB (Housing Development Board) to implement 3 effective solutions that will help to drastically reduce the trend of killer litter in Singapore. After all, with so many Singaporeans living in high‐rise HDB flats, this issue could pose serious problem to the safety and health of many citizens. The least that the government could do is to ensure the wellbeing of its citizens. The three main solutions that we plan to propose are increasing the penalty for killer liter, conduct frequent spot checks around HDB estates and to install a protective ledge underneath windows to catch and collect any litter thrown from high‐rise HDB apartments. Increase penalty for killer litter: The first solution that we propose is to increase the penalty for cases of killer litter. Currently, warning letters are first sent to offenders before any fine or punishment is imposed on them. However, damage could have already been done and thus, we feel that no warnings should be given and the offender should be fined immediately. Such stringent and unforgiving punishment would definitely deter people from throwing killer litter. Also, the current system of punishment for repeat offenders is a $1000 fine. We feel that this is insufficient and that the penalty for killer litter should also include doing time in prison. Considering the fact that killer litter endangers the lives and safety of others, it is as bad as drink‐driving and thus, it is justifiable for the offenders to do time in prison. Perhaps it would not be for a long time, but the thought of spending time in prison would be a very strong deterrence and make people think twice before throwing killer litter. Conduct more frequent spot‐checks in HDB estates: The second solution that we are proposing is to conduct frequent spot‐checks around HDB estates to catch any potential killer litter. There are a few town councils who organize such spot‐checks but, we feel that the frequency of these checks are not sufficient enough to deter people from committing this heinous act. Perhaps town councils could assign volunteers from HDB estates to perform weekly patrol duties around the HDB estates to spot for killer litter. The town council could also consider allowing the elderly to perform these duties. There are many active aging citizens in HDB estates and this could be a way to get them involved in their community. Through this, not only can they maintain an active lifestyle, they can also make new friends along the way, allowing them to spend their free time in a very positive way. Town councils could appoint a socially responsible resident as “litter guard”, who constantly looks out for potential killer litter. Knowing that someone is keeping an eye on them would deter those tempted to throw killer litter.
Install protective ledge on HDB flats The final solution that we are proposing is to install an over‐hanging ledge on all HDB flats under the windows of the apartments. Although this plan is hard to implement, we feel that it is the most effective and direct solution to killer litter. With this ledge to trap and collect any falling objects, we can effectively protect residents from killer litter and drastically reduce the number of casualties from it. If it is feasible, we hope that the government would not hesitate to implement this as it is a sure way to stop more innocent lives from being taken by socially irresponsible Singaporeans. Figure 14: Illustration of “protective ledge” As you can see from the diagram above, the ledge is effective in trapping and collecting any rubbish disposed by residents living in high‐rise HDB flats. It can also serve another purpose by providing shelter for the void deck and blocking out any direct sunlight. This would help to keep the void decks cool too.
We feel that for our proposal to go through smoothly, a petition is needed as we have to garner the support of the general public. As this project directly concerns the general public, letting them know about our project will remind them about killer litter and its effects, as well as joining the cause to stop killer litter. Earlier in our project, we have identified Jurong and Sengkang as killer litter hotspots and went to shopping centers and Community Centres around that district to get signatures for our petition. Our proposal was very well received and we successfully obtained the 100 signatures that we targeted. After reading through our proposal, many Singaporeans described our solutions as “practical and feasible”. Others also said that it would be great if the government was able to implement the solutions. We are very pleased with this feedback and sincerely hope that the government would take our solutions into consideration and implement them. This would be a huge step towards eradicating killer litter from our Singaporean community. In conclusion, we felt that our “Design for Change” journey has been a truly unique and meaningful experience. It has combines community service and research education, allowing you to serve the community while learning new research and project‐related skills. It also allows you to develop your creativity and think out of the box while planning and designing our 7‐day action week. Although we met a few setbacks and obstacles, we feel that our project was still generally a success.
We started this project on a high note, having a clear direction on what to do. We came out with our topic about stopping killer litter promptly and set off on the project. Throughout the course of this project, we carried out a survey and held several exhibitions. We also wrote a proposal of our ideas as we hope that it could be carried out to save many more lives. We learnt a lot during the course of this project. We found out more about the pressing issues of Singapore and took a step further to investigate more. This project also helped us develop our presentation skills as there were several exhibitions on the way. We learnt to interact with people of authority who came to view our project. It was a very enriching experience to be able to share our ideas with everyone else at the Design for Change exhibition. However, we also faced many obstacles. Sometimes, there are many other projects weighing us down and certain group members just could not find the time to meet up. The report writing was tough as well. We also found it hard to fulfill the requirement of the seven days of action week as most of the time after school we had third language or music elective programme. These extra activities made it hard for us to hold an exhibition together. We solved these problems by taking turns to hold the exhibition and splitting up the work evenly such that it would be easier to complete the project. We also adjusted our schedule and made sure that we have time to meet up to discuss. Amidst our heavy work schedule, we feel that this was the right way to go. There was not much problems amongst the group mates and there were no major arguments. Whenever there is a minor disagreement, we would try to compromise our own ideas and listen to others more. This made our group discussion more organized, efficient and fruitful. Overall, we enjoyed this project and hope to be able to serve the community in other ways in the future. This project developed our interaction skills and we indeed have learnt a lot from it. We are inspired to take on another service learning project for our research education next year.
ANNEX 1: Content of our exhibition poster boards
Introduction For many years, killer litter has been the cause of deaths for many innocent Singaporeans. Reports of people throwing flower pots, fans, glass bottles and whatnot have been all over the news, resulting in unwanted injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to concussion and severe bleeding. Killer litter refers to the litter thrown from above, usually occurring when high‐rise HDB owners throw litter out of the window. Over the years, the number of cases of killer litter has been rapidly rising, and is becoming a very serious problem for our society. Many people living in HDB flats throw litter down without a second thought; without thinking about the consequences, endangering the lives of our fellow Singaporeans. We feel that this behaviour should be changed immediately. Thus, we have decided to do our Design for Change project on killer litter.
Statistics and cases of killer litter Statistics have shown that despite 50 000 verbal warnings on killer litter, there were still such cases in Singapore. Joint surveillance operations by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and town councils have seen 14 litterbugs fined and/or sent for corrective work orders from 2007 to 2009. HDB has also served warning letters in the same period to 12 residents who threw killer litter. The number of warnings served on residents by HDB and Town Councils for placing objects in a dangerous manner are 4,650 per month in 2008. In the first eight months of 2009, there was a slight increase to 4,900 warnings per month. This is an increase of 5 percent over eight months.
Statistics and cases of killer litter th 25 May 2011: A 14‐YEAR‐OLD boy was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly throwing a glass bottle from the sixth floor of a block of flats in Punggol Central. 11th and 12th January: Two flower pots and a pair of slippers came flying down from a HDB flat. Fortunately no one was hurt. 15th December 2009: A woman threw a bottle of chilli sauce out of her 16th‐floor flat in Compassvale, disrupting a wedding below her block and injuring a guest who had to be hospitalised. The culprit was Thiang Ai Lian. 15th December 2009: Killer litter flowerpot injures guest at a wedding. 24th January 2009: A middle‐aged Chinese woman was hit by a broken fan thrown from above. She was later hospitalised.
Consequences Killer litter can result in serious physical injuries such as: Brain damage, broken bones, concussion, severe bruising. Killer litter can result in possible death. This can be caused by: blunt force trauma, excessive bleeding and fractured skull. Killer litter can result in negative psychological effects such as phobia of HDB walkways.
Solutions Increase fines and jail terms to killer litter offenders. o This would ensure that offenders would not repeat their crime. Due to the seriousness of the crime and the heavy punishments, residents would not dare to commit the crime. Install a ledge at the 2nd floor of all HDB buildings to ‘catch’ and collect killer litter. Once a week, we will get cleaners to empty these ledges o Regardless of how inconsiderate people are, when they throw killer litter down from the high storeys of a HDB building, the objects would be contained in these ledges. This ensures that innocent people would not get injured and is by far our best solution. Put up posters around Sengkang and Jurong, the two places we have identified as killer litter hotspots. o This would discourage people from committing killer litter, as the posters would show the adverse consequences of it. These posters would also instil into the residents a sense of responsibility. Raise awareness of killer litter through exhibitions o Members of the public can visit this exhibition, ask questions and find out more. Once they have known the consequences of killer litter, they would not commit it. They may also encourage people around them to be more civic‐conscious as the statistics on the number of killer litter cases are intimidating. 5. Create a website o When anybody visits this website, they would be presented with information about killer litter and its consequences. This would discourage them from committing killer litter. The website would also contain a survey to gather public opinion about killer litter. The results from this survey would help us find more appropriate solution to curb this pressing problem.
Survey Analysis To find out the knowledge of killer litter among Singaporeans, we decided to come up with a survey. Our Survey consists of 11 questions, questioning Singaporeans about killer litter. We hope that by conducting this survey, we would gain insight about the awareness and attitude towards killer litter among the Singaporean community. Our survey went well and after compiling and analysing our survey results, we have discovered much more about Singaporean’s knowledge of killer litter. Many Singaporeans feel that they know what killer litter is, but most are not able to give a valid explanation on what killer litter is. 60% of our respondents were not able to correctly identify 3 out of 5 different cases of killer litter. Majority of Singaporeans are not aware about the numerous cases of killer litter in Singapore. More Singaporeans think that killer litter is thrown intentionally, although there are still quite large proportions who think otherwise. The two main reason why people commit killer litter intentionally is to purposely hurt someone, and to knowingly place objects in a dangerous position The two main reasons why people commit killer litter unintentionally is carelessness and not knowing the consequences of killer litter. Majority Singaporeans feel that killer litter is a pressing issue.
Conclusion We feel that killer litter is a pressing issue that must be solved immediately. It would result in more and more lives being lost if not solved and would become a big community problem. We have decided to step in and tackle this problem as we do not see much effort to curb it. We think that the government can adopt our solution of adding a ledge above the ground floor of HDB flats as to contain the killer litter falling down. We feel that there are lots more to be done and that we can make a change to better our society.
Proposed Action week Design for change "Killing Off Killer Litter" Education Physical Deterrence Exhibition to Petition for safety Petition for Posters to remind modification of Petition to Singaporeans educate more frequent Singaporeans increase penalty spotchecks HDB flats Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 •Held in •Held in •Held in •Create and •Create and •Hold •Submit School school school put up put up exhibition proposal Atrium Atrium Atrium posters in posters on killer and petition •Raise •Raise •Raise school around litter in to respective awareness awareness awareness Singapore community government of Design of Design for of Design for center agencies For Change Change Change