There were 350 annual cases of roadside vegetation fires recorded between 2014 and 2017, and cigarette butts were the largest culprits.
Tracking of such data only started from 2014, according to a report by Todayonline.
Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said in parliament on Tuesday Mar 20, that individuals who discard cigarette butts irresponsibly can be charged for littering.
First-time offenders can be fined up to S$2,000, while recalcitrant litterbugs can be fined up to S$10,000.
“If we can prove the fact that the fires also caused serious damage, such persons can be charged under the Penal Code for fire-related offences,” Mrs Teo stressed.
Even though dry leaves on the roadsides are regularly cleared by the National Environment Agency (NEA), "no amount of clearing will help, if some members of the public continue to illegally and irresponsibly discard cigarette butts.” There is “no easy way to prevent” this behaviour, except to appeal members of the public to have more civic-mindedness, said Mrs Teo. It is also difficult to trace and appropriate blame, even with video evidence.
Members of the public are encouraged to report such offences via NEA’s website, mobile app, or hotline.