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  Straits Times 30 Oct 07
Cleanest estate contest back after 4-year break
By Diana Othman

MORE emphasis will be put on the community's efforts in keeping housing estates clean in the latest edition of the Cleanest Estate Competition, which is back after a four-year absence.

The competition was scrapped in 2003 because then- Minister of State for National Development Vivian Balakrishnan had observed that it had become more of a contest between the armies of cleaners hired by town councils than about encouraging social responsibility among residents.

After it was scrapped, the competition was replaced by a seven-month-long public education campaign called Singapore's OK - Our Town Sparkles.

Last year, this drive was discontinued, although keep-clean efforts have been kept up.

Now that the contest is back, participating housing estates will be assessed on their education and publicity moves, residents' efforts as much as the physical cleanliness of the estates.

The competition, which opened on Aug 1 and will run till Dec 31, will have four categories: residential zones, town centres, food centres and public toilets. The current list of nominees has 82 residential zones, 25 town centres, 22 food centres and 18 public toilets.

A panel of 15 judges is making its rounds of the nominated locations this month and next. The results will be out between February and March.

The top 14 residential zones, top five town centres and top five food centres will each get $1,000 and a plaque; the top five toilets will each win a plaque.

For winning residential zones, the money will go to their residents' committees; for winning food centres, the money will go to the merchants' association.

The teams of workers behind each of these winners will share a $500 prize.

Hong Kah GRC MP Ang Mong Seng, who chairs the organising committee of this year's competition, told reporters at a press conference that it was important for all 14 town councils and the residents to pull together to keep their estates clean.

Mayor of North West District Teo Ho Pin, the co-ordinating chairman of the 14 PAP councils, said the whole idea behind the event was to build a culture of keeping the environment clean and tidy.

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