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Singapore to use surveillance cameras to catch litterbugs

SINGAPORE, Aug. 30 — Singapore will set up more surveillance cameras at 100 locations in the next three months to catch litterbugs who throw items from high-rise housing blocks, the National Environment Agency said Thursday.

Some of the new cameras, which came after trial runs, will be targeting the housing estates in districts such as Bukit Panjang, Pasir Ris, West Coast, Hong Kah and Sembawang, where littering issues have been comparatively more serious.

Those caught littering on camera will be charged in court and have their cases publicized, the agency said.

Singapore has been known for its clean environment, partly thanks to strict rules against littering.

The National Environment Agency said the surveillance cameras, together with video analytic software, have proven effective in trials conducted in high-rise housing estates.

In an earlier pilot run, two offenders were caught on camera throwing cigarette butts out from their windows at night.

They were charged in court and fined 800 Singapore dollars (640 U.S. dollars) and 1,000 Singapore dollars (800 U.S. dollars), respectively.

Under the law, such offenders are liable to be fined a maximum of 1,000 Singapore dollars and/or be given a Corrective Work Order not exceeding 12 hours.

The National Environment Agency said the cameras will be deployed after careful assessment of the situation and at least two rounds of educational efforts by the town councils and the agency.

As for the concerns of privacy, the agency said the cameras will only survey the areas near to the window of the unit.

Residents of the affected blocks will be kept informed before the deployment of the cameras.

Only authorized personnel will be allowed to view and analyze the video footage. (PNA/Xinhua)

HBC/UTB

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