Coffee shop operators and users play a part to keep toilets clean

The Straits Times
Jan 17, 2021

Mr Jack Sim correctly pointed out that various stakeholders from across society are represented in the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) (Cleanliness of hawker centre toilets needs to be improved, Jan 2). They work with us to create a culture where everyone disposes of trash correctly and keeps public eating places and toilets clean.

In July last year, PHC announced our partnership with leading coffee shop chains – such as Broadway, Chang Cheng, Foodfare, GHK, Kimly, Kim San Leng, Kopitiam and S11 – to work towards achieving the SG Clean quality mark certification by ensuring higher cleanliness and hygiene standards for their premises and toilets.

The Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association, which represents more than 400 coffee shop owners, is another significant partner in this effort.

Coffee shop operators have also responded well to the Toilet Improvement Programme launched last October by the National Environment Agency for coffee shops and hawker centres. Under this programme, coffee shop owners are given grants to carry out improvement works to their toilets. Their toilet cleaners are also given training free.

Mr Sim asked why the hygiene standard of toilets in hawker centres and coffee shops is below that of toilets in shopping centres when the users are the same. We need to recognise that user behaviour varies on different premises. How a user behaves depends on the setting and surroundings of premises. Even so, if users play their part and keep the premises clean, it will lead to other users following suit.

Inculcating good habits takes time. It also takes everyone – not just the owners and operators of these public facilities but also those who use them – being responsible and doing their part to raise the standard of hygiene in our public toilets in Singapore.

Edward D’Silva
Public Hygiene Council