public cleanliness and individual health

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(i) Public Cleanliness and Littering (Statement by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim) 4-1 Maintaining high standards of public cleanliness is important not only to protect public health. It is also integral to our efforts to ensure that Singapore develops sustainably and remains a clean and green city of gardens and water. Each of us must play our part. For instance, while the government can invest in infrastructure to transform our waterways under the ABC Waters programme which I will elaborate on later, residents must keep the waters clean. 4-2 NEA adopts a multi-pronged approach to sustaining public cleanliness, comprising an effective cleaning regime, public engagement, and penalties and enforcement to deter littering behaviour. 4-3 The growing population will put more stress on our cleaning regime. In fact, NEA has already committed additional resources to clean up littering hotspot areas such as Little India, Chinatown and Geylang. This cannot continue indefinitely. We must tackle the source of the problem – littering. 4-4 NEA has stepped up enforcement against littering and the number of offenders caught increased from about 4,000 in 2005 to 33,000 in 2008. The increase clearly shows that littering remains a concern in Singapore, and we should work harder to tackle it. We are mindful of our enforcement limitations, but NEA will continue to focus its enforcement efforts at littering hotspots to achieve maximum effectiveness. 4-5 Apart from sustained enforcement, our penalties must act as effective deterrents. The fines for littering offences were last revised 10 years ago. To ensure continued deterrence, NEA

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will raise the composition sum for first time minor littering offenders from S$200 to S$300 from 1 April. NEA will continue to review the need to stiffen other punitive measures against littering. 4-6 Having said that, every individual must take ownership over public cleanliness. Four decades have passed since the first “Keep Singapore Clean” campaign was launched by then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew. To reinforce the importance of public cleanliness, NEA plans to launch a new national cleanliness campaign this year. The campaign will be driven by activities involving key stakeholders such as the grassroots, schools, the youth and businesses. We hope that the campaign will also instil a greater sense of community ownership and pride over the cleanliness of our city as we prepare to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2010. 4-7 Moving forward, we will also seek to deepen our understanding of littering behaviour so that our programmes remain effective in tackling the littering problem.

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INDIVIDUAL HEALTH he relationship between institutional arrangements and individual lives represent a key sociological theme. This means that broad institutional arrangements within a society should impact individual health outcomes. Comparative research has found some evidence for this, for example by indicating that, in certain contexts, income inequality may be harmful for health outcomes at the aggregate level, and that social capital may matter for health at the individual level. However, this work is limited in that it does not incorporate the social organization of the welfare state as the key social institution likely to affect individual health outcomes. We argue that the welfare state matters for health because it defines the relationship between the state, market, and medicine within a nation and determines the availability of services and extent of social benefits. It also has a major impact on economic conditions, including the overall wealth of a nation as well as how that wealth is distributed across the population. Finally, while the welfare state more broadly is theorized to impact health, any study interested in health outcomes must consider the specific impact of the health care system. Consequently, we examine the effect of the social organization of health care, both in terms of economic and human resources. Using individual level data from the World Value Survey data and country-level data from the OECD, we employ multi-level modeling to assess the impacts of these macro-level factors on individual health in 22 nations. We demonstrate how this broader institutional context interacts with the location of the individual within social systems of advantage and disadvantage in shaping health outcomes.

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