November 9th, 2006

krazy koati

Walk right in it's around the back

There's a reported rise in littering incidents. I haven't noticed this myself, but it's been mentioned on the evening news, subject to a couple of reports, which indicates that things must be going pretty well overall. Last year there were 3,800 incidents of people being caught littering; in the first ten months of this year, there were 4,800 citations. Channel NewsAsia set up a quick survey to try understanding the phenomenon. To the question More people have been caught littering in Singapore. Why do people litter? their survey responses are Poor civic spirit (the response of 1095 people, 64 percent of the responses when I looked), Not deterred by existing penalties (103 responses, 6 percent), Expect cleaners to keep environment clean (368 responses, 22 percent), or Others are doing so (134 responses, 8 percent). From this I would conclude that they need someone trained in survey question-writing, because the phrasings there just feel off to me. None of the answers really fit my tastes, but if I were forced to choose I'd try to write in ``they litter because all of the trash bins were taken out of the MRT stations under the Security Through Public Inconvenience policy'', and trash bins are getting harder to find anywhere people gather.

But other people are taking this quite seriously. The National Environment Agency has started a survey to try to understand the social habits of those who litter, and what motivates them, and how they could be encouraged to stop. They started the littering survey two months ago, and figure to have it done in February, with a survey of about three thousand people from about 200 places. Among the preliminary results: about a quarter of those surveyed didn't think it counted as littering if it was small items left behind, like tissues or cigarette butts. Apparently they settle for it just being gross. And about a third of those surveyed thought it was the coffee shop's job to keep their premises clean.

Oh, and hey, it's a rare transit of Mercury across the Sun today -- the last one was in May 2003, and the next will be in May 2016 -- so, enjoy the cloudy weather. I'm in the region where the transit would be visible just after sunrise if it weren't going to be too cloudy to see anything, and if I were awake just after sunrise.

Trivia: Percival Lowell observed networks of cracked lines on Mercury. He attributed those cracks to the heat of the Sun. Source: Planets and Perception, William Sheehan.

Currently Reading: The Footnote, Anthony Grafton. It's a bit of a niche book.