Singapore’s Hygiene Laws

The general hygiene of its citizens in relation to the environmental public health is of utmost importance in Singapore. This is why they have one of the greatest social health care systems in the world.

The Chewing Gum Ban

The improper disposal of gums in Singapore by individuals led to the development of the chewing gum ban. Gum is banned under the Regulation of Imports and Experts (Chewing Gum) Regulations. Only gum of therapeutic value is allowed into the country which may be brought from a doctor but must be prescribed. The importing of chewing gum is also banned. This ban reduces the cost of cleaning and repairing damaged equipments and property and enhancing proper hygiene. Anyone found in contravention of the provisions of the regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable on the first conviction to a time not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both and for a subsequent or second conviction a fine of $200,000 and an imprisonment term of 3 years.

Use of Public Lavatories

One can be fined for not flushing public toilets after use in Singapore. There are police officers who carry out random checks to ensure that civilians obey these rules while in these public areas.

Spitting in Public

Section 17(1)(g) of the Environmental Public Health Act prohibits any person from spitting any substance or expelling mucus from the nose upon or onto any street or any public place. It would seem that this law on spitting was introduced into the Environmental Public Health Act only in 1987 — being passed by Parliament on 20 May 1987. This enactment seems to have been motivated by the campaign against spitting which started in the early 1980s. The penalty for non-compliance was a fine not exceeding S$1,000 for a first offence. There was a subsequent amendment in 1989 to increase the fine to provide that for a second offence, the maximum fine payable was S$2,000 and for the third and subsequent offences, the maximum fine was S$5,000.

Public Littering

A litter law dating from 1968 is the country’s way of keeping clean. Disregard the law, drop trash on the ground in this Southeast Asian city, and you’ll pay $1,000. On top of that you’ll also be forced to do community labour. And if you do it three times, you’ll have to wear a “I am a litter lout” sign.


Candacia Thomas


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