‘Cash incentive not long-term solution to litter issue’

National 2 minutes, 38 seconds


MONETARY incentives for residents to keep their villages clean is not a long-term solution to the littering problem in Kampung Ayer, said an officer at the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe).

The JASTRe officer, who declined to be named, said monetary rewards will discourage residents to participate in cleaning campaigns.

“When you pull out the carrot (cash incentive), the (cleaning up behaviour) will disappear. It is not a long-term answer to the littering issue in Kampung Ayer,” she told The Brunei Times recently.

“Offering money to clean one’s village will destroy the spirit of volunteerism and this will only put off our younger generation from joining cleaning campaigns, which is organised solely to promote healthy environment through teamwork and sense of responsibility in the community,” she said.

The officer said this in response to suggestion made by the village head of Kg Setia A in Mukim Sungai Kebun, Hj Asli Hj Mamut.

Hj Asli suggested in an earlier interview last week that JASTRe should pay residents to collect litter and rubbish underneath and around their houses.

The former administrative officer believed that residents, when paid to pick up litter do a better job than contract cleaners hired by JASTRe.

He said there would be two groups of contract cleaners tasked to keep the village clean.

One group is hired to collect trash bags from each household in the water village, while the other group is tasked in cleaning litters and rubbish floating on water, said the village head.

“The cleaners tasked to pick up floating rubbish do not come daily. There are five of them and they go around different areas of the Kg Ayer,” said Hj Asli.

He noted that while observing the five contract cleaners last year, they could only collect one trash bag each in an hour.

Hj Asli has made several social experiments by hiring unemployed individuals from the village to clean up floating rubbish.

“I pay $1 for each trash bag the residents collected. The amount of garbage collected in few hours surpassed those trash bags collected by contract cleaners,” said the village head, adding that one resident can collect 10 trash bags in an hour.

“The contract cleaners are paid hourly. So, it doesn’t matter how much trash bags they collect. The residents work harder because they are paid based on the number of trash bags,” said Hj Asli.

According to a student at Sayyidina Umar Al-Khattab Secondary School who participated in the cleaning incentive by Hj Asli, he managed to collect $20 worth of rubbish.

“It’s really easy to collect rubbish here. I can fill up one trash bag in a minute just by collecting the litters at the edge of the river,” said the student who only wants to be known as Bai.

Another resident, who declined to be named, said he supported the village head’s idea.

“The village head hired me to clean rubbish around the jetty two years ago,” said the 39-year-old who currently receives monthly welfare benefit from the Community Development Department.

When approached by The Brunei Times in December, contract cleaners declined to give comment on the matter.

The Brunei Times