Messy Tray Return Area Sparks Criticism Of New Rules, NEA Says Photo’s From 2016

Old Picture Of Messy Tray Return Area Goes Viral

Following the resumption of dining-in on 21 Jun, the National Environment Agency (NEA) soon announced that returning trays and cutlery has become mandatory.

Since the rule comes with a fine should anyone fail to comply, reactions have been mixed.

With many still reeling from the news, a photo circulating online of a messy tray return area only complicates matters.

Photo of messy tray return area irks netizens

On Wednesday (25 Jun), a picture of a tray return area overflowing with used cutlery made its rounds on social media.

In light of the recently enforced tray return rules, the photograph sparked heated discussions among many netizens, who questioned the viability of the new rules.


The fact that former Presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian also posted it fuelled the debate further.

Photo was apparently from 2016

After the photo gained much traction, NEA published a Facebook post later that same day, addressing its legitimacy.


Clarifying that the viral photo was actually from 2016, they showed what the area looks like now, in 2021.

Definitely much cleaner, we can also see that the tray return area is bigger now, meaning that it can accommodate even more utensils.

NEA will be improving tray return infrastructure

According to an article by NEA, they will be setting up more tray return infrastructure across all hawker centres to encourage diners to return their dirty trays and utensils.


They will also step up efforts to remind the public to return their trays through posters and reminders from officers.

This will coincide with the advisory period from 1 Jun, to 1 Sep when enforcement begins.

Everyone has a part to play in raising cleanliness standards

Although adapting to the new rules may take some effort, we’re sure everyone will be able to in due time.

Besides helping to keep our hawker centres clean, we’ll be doing our community a good service too, while easing the burdens of cleaners, many of whom are old folks.

Everyone has a part to play in raising cleanliness standards in public, especially in the current pandemic, and we can definitely start by picking up after ourselves.

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Featured image adapted from NEA on Facebook.

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