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37% Of S'poreans Don't Clean Their Table At Hawker Centres, Some Cite Lack Of Tissues

63% Of Singaporeans Clean Their Table After Dining: MS News Poll

Most people now know that they need to return their trays after dining at a public eatery, with tray return rates at 91% in May 2023.

However, it seems that fewer people are aware that they must clear the table of litter as well.

In a poll conducted by MS News with 2,382 people, almost 40% of respondents said they do not clean their table after eating.

This might go some way to explain why a man talking to an NEA officer thought his “duty” ended with clearing his tray.

NEA has since clarified that diners must clear their tables of litter though cleaning and wiping tables is “encouraged”.

Poll reveals 37% of Singaporeans do not clean their table after dining

MS News polled over 2,300 people to find out how many of them clean their table after dining at a hawker centre, coffeeshop, or food court.

While 63% said that they did, over a quarter of the respondents voted otherwise.

12% of the respondents also noted that they do not carry tissues or wipes with them. As such, it makes it difficult to clean the table.

Meanwhile, online sentiments pointed to the notion that it’s not fair to expect this of diners.

Source: Facebook

One user also highlighted that most of the tables in hawker centres aren’t clean in the first place.

Readers ask if they should be made to clean others’ mess

Some Singaporeans also noted instances when their dining experience had been affected by people who have continued to leave a mess.

This is even though NEA has said that tables must be free of litter.

Speaking to MS News, Daisy Leow, a retiree, said that she often sees messy tables at the coffee shop.

“Does that mean I have to clear for people who have left the mess behind?” she asked.

Stevenbal Thanabalan echoed Ms Leow’s sentiment. He asked if he’s expected to clean the residual mess, on top of his own, especially during peak periods when clean tables are scarce.

Man asks if cleaners should also wipe tables

On the other hand, 80-year-old YS Chan said that diners should try their best to keep their tables clean.

However, he noted that spillage may occur especially when several people are sharing common dishes.

That’s where he believes cleaners should step in to “properly” clean the tables.

“Diners may not always have tissues on hand to clean up the mess,” he said.

As such, cleaners should “at least” use a clean cloth, or better still, some soap and detergent to wipe the tables.

Mr Chan also wondered if contracted cleaners should be assigned to spray and clean tables too.

NEA clarifies rules on cleaning tables

While wiping tables isn’t mandatory, diners are encouraged to keep the table clean as a gesture of courtesy to the next diner, NEA said on Tuesday (18 Oct) in a Facebook post.

“While diners are not required to wipe the tables after use, we would like to remind diners that no one should leave behind any litter on or around the tables,” NEA warned.

“These include tissues, wet wipes, drink cans, shells, and bones.”

NEA also noted that accidental spillage of drink or gravy on the table is not an offence.

In response to whether cleaners should help wipe the tables, NEA said that they are.

NEA added that cleaners will assist in removing trays, used crockery, and litter left behind. This is in the case there are messy tables.

However, the agency urged that diners clear their trays, remove their litter, and keep the tables clean for the next occupant.

First-time offenders will be issued a written warning, while repeat offenders will be issued fines or charged in court.

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Featured image by MS News.

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