In Singapore, you can get fined for spreading fake news. Do you know what else you can get fined for in the city-state? Dropping a rubber band on the floor. And the fine isn’t some short change either. It’s $300 Singapore Dollars (approximately $220 USD).
Yes, you read that correctly. Someone threw a rubber band on the floor, and an environmental officer’s eyes were sharp enough to catch them in the act and make them pay. News of the occurrence went viral online after user @khrluffy posted a photo of the fine slip on Twitter:
Under the Environment Public Health Act, first-time offenders receive a introductory warning fee of $300 SGD. And the law doesn’t discriminate for the severity of the crime, which is bad for butter fingers, but good for the environment. If someone can get used to throwing rubber bands away without consequence, soon they may start chucking cigarette butts into drains, and plastic bottles into our oceans. And we know the detrimental effects those actions have.
Hold tight to your trash, because laws don’t seem to be loosening up either. Last year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) issued 39,000 fines for littering, which was 7,000 more than in 2017, The Straits Times reports. If we assume those are all warnings given to first-time offenders, the fines add up to at least $11.7 million SGD ($8.5 million USD). However, the number is probably much higher, considering that fines for throwing cigarette butts from high-rise buildings have gone as high as $19,800 SGD ($14,400 USD).
Smart move. We have to give it to Singapore’s strict laws for this one.
Things get even more personal if you get charged with a Corrective Work Order (CWOs), a form of community service that requires you to clean the streets. The NEA has perfected a shaming technique to punish offenders, making them wear neon pink and yellow vests while sweeping public places, resulting in a pretty loud anti-littering announcement.
So if you ever needed a reminder - throw your cigarette butts in the bin, or you might become the butt of all jokes.