Singapore

Tea tree in Bukit Merah? Not quite

Tanjong Pagar GRC MP on hunt for litterer behind 'tea bag tree'. He likes Dilmah, she says

A "tea bag tree" has been seen in Bukit Merah View.

But it is not a tree that grows tea leaves.

The dozen or so tea bags that hang from it are used and discarded, believed to be thrown by an unknown person from the HDB block behind the 2.5m-tall palm tree.

Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah noticed it when she was making her rounds in the area, after a cleaner appreciation event on Monday morning.

She posted photos of it on Facebook, cheekily calling it a "tea bag tree".

The tea bags have since been removed.

Ms Indranee said in her post: "The tree has since been de-bagged. The culprit, though, has yet to be bagged.

"The only clues at the moment, given the location and the number of tea bags in the tree, are that the culprit lives at Blk 129 Bukit Merah View in one of the units facing Lower Delta Road and likes drinking Dilmah tea!"

Residents of the block were relieved the tea bags were taken down, especially those who claimed they had been putting up with littering in the neighbourhood for years.

One resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chen, 61, claimed that someone has been tossing litter out the windows on a daily basis.

The retiree, who lives on the second storey, said in Mandarin: "It's very inconsiderate. My clothes have been dirtied so often I don't hang them outside any more."

WORSENED

Mr Chen, who has lived in the block for more than 20 years, said the littering has been going on for more than five years but has worsened in the past year.

"They throw everything, from banana peels to cigarette butts and wet tissues. I've complained to the town council many times," he said.

Miss Jasmine Loh, 40, who works in purchasing, and has lived on the third storey of the 20-storey block for six years, said she first complained about the litter to the town council two years ago.

"I've been complaining to them and even the National Environment Agency (NEA) officers," she said.

When The New Paper team went to the block yesterday, a used coffee packet and wet tissue thrown from a height narrowly missed our heads.

A woman living on the 14th storey, who wanted to be known only as Madam Ling, 60, said leftover food has also been thrown from above.

"Once there was even curry which dirtied all my clothes," she said. "A wooden stick also fell onto the ledge, and we're fearful to remove it because it's hard to reach and might fall all the way down and hurt someone."

She added that she too, has complained numerous times to the town council.

Residents said the littering usually occurred before 6am, and a cleaner would have to clear it all up when he starts his shift at 7am.

An NEA spokesman said they were aware of the littering and are investigating.

The spokesman said: "If an offender can be identified, appropriate enforcement action will be taken."

First-time offenders can be fined up to $2,000 and/or be given a corrective work order of up to 12 hours for each offence.

Ms Indranee said she hopes the littering stops soon.

Asked how she thinks the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who represented Tanjong Pagar GRC, would feel about such littering, she told TNP last night: "I can't imagine he would have approved."

She said that it was important to educate the public, and for parents to educate their children.

"The ideal solution is for the person, or persons, to stop littering, and the environment will start looking better.

"This is your home, and you must take pride in your home."

It was like a Christmas tree except that instead of pretty ornaments, this poor tree was festooned with used Dilmah tea bags.

- Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah

Other high-rise littering cases

JANUARY 2015

A 38-year-old smoker who chucked 34 cigarette butts out of his flat window in Sengkang over four days was fined $19,800 and sentenced to five hours of corrective work.

JUNE 2013

Two women, aged 28 and 20, were fined $400 and $800 for littering at MacPherson and Hougang. The 28-year-old was caught throwing a bag of rubbish out the window, while the other woman threw a cigarette butt.

APRIL 2013

A 60-year-old man living in Toa Payoh was fined $800 for throwing a cigarette butt out his window.

JANUARY 2013

A woman was fined $950 for tossing a bag of rubbish from the kitchen window of her Punggol flat.

AUGUST 2012

A 29-year-old man was fined $1,000 for tossing a cigarette butt from the window of a sixth-storey flat in Bukit Batok.

SingaporeUncategorisedEnvironmentlitterBukit MerahIndranee RajahTanjong Pagar