'I just threw my rubbish on grass'
From afar, it looked like The Meadow at Gardens by The Bay was covered with colourful flowers to celebrate the end of the wildly successful music festival last Saturday night.
But as an army of cleaners marched in after the Laneway Festival concert-goers were gone, it was apparent that the place was really filled with heaps of litter - ponchos, empty plastic cups and half-eaten food.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned the ugly mess in a Facebook post yesterday.
Contrasting the situation with how Myanmar sports fans had picked up litter at the National Stadium after their team lost to Singapore at an AFF Suzuki Cup match last November, he wrote: "It takes continuous effort to keep Singapore clean. We need to progress from being a cleaned city to a truly clean city.
"All of us can play a part - picking up our own litter, educating our children and grandchildren, and reminding others to do the right thing. Visit the Public Hygiene Council's page to find out how you can help."
Laneway Festival Singapore, which has been running annually since 2011, attracted a record 13,000 people this year.
When contacted, the organisers said that they were looking into ways to improve the waste management situation and possibly include recycling efforts.
PHOTO: FACEBOOK/LEE HSIEN LOONG
Such sustainability practices are common in major overseas music festivals such as the Glastonbury Festival in the UK and Coachella in the US. (See report, above.)
"It is inevitable that for a festival of this scale, a lot of waste is collected and it is our utmost wish that we can get support from agencies to aid in recycling as it is not an effort that an organiser can do independently," a spokesman for Laneway said in an e-mail reply to The New Paper.
"While we have ensured the logistics required to create and maintain a clean environment for our patrons are in place, we will also need the patrons' cooperation to help keep the festival environment clean, because keeping the festival grounds clean requires everyone's involvement."
Concert-goers approached by TNP thought that the litter problem could have been due to the larger-than-usual turnout and what they said was a lack of rubbish bins.
And at least one of them, who declined to be named, admitted she was a litterbug.
The 26-year-old writer, who has been going to Laneway since 2011, said: "I couldn't find any bins within walking distance, so I just threw my rubbish on the grass.
"Anyway, I think people who attend such festivals don't bother to look for bins."
Another concert-goer, who wanted to be known only as Arisya, 27, a media planner, kept her litter and searched for a bin whenever there was a break in the acts.
She said: "I think the littering intensified at night because it was harder to find the bins.
"It also boils down to the reluctance of Singaporeans to clean up after themselves. For example, most people don't clear their trays after their meals."
Ms Zhang Yun Xi, 27, who is unemployed, said the organisers could have added more bins, but she did not find it overly inconvenient to dispose of her litter.
"I think the lack of monitoring encouraged litterbugs, but I don't think Singaporeans need to have people watching to ensure they don't litter."
The penalties for littering have become twice as harsh since April last year.
Offenders can be fined up to $2,000 for the first conviction, $4,000 for the second and $10,000 for the third and subsequent convictions.