In the 1960s and 1970s, a “Clean and Green Singapore” was meant to distinguish the city state from other Third World countries. A Clean and Green Singapore would enhance the quality of life, attract tourists and encourage and sustain foreign investments .
The Keep Singapore Clean campaign was one of Singapore’s early national campaigns. It was launched on 1 October 1968 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew . The campaign was a collective responsibility of the 3 Ps – Public and Private sectors and the general Public .
The national plan to transform Singapore included changes in public health and environmental laws , relocation and licensing of hawkers, proper sanitation systems and disease control, the decade-long cleaning up of the Singapore River and Kallang Basin , prevention of mosquito breeding , measures to stamp out environment and noise pollution , and to discourage anti-social habits such as littering and spitting. Tree-planting, gardening competitions and courses also instilled pride in the neighbourhood environment .
To transform Singapore into a Clean and Green environment, Singaporeans had first to be made aware of the economic and social impact of bad habits. Next they had to be persuaded to change their behaviour, be responsible and take ownership of a liveable Singapore. Broadcasting was the perfect medium to achieve all these .
Broadcasting in the early years had an advantage over the print media in that it could be repeatedly used to publicise and educate the public, and to reach out to less educated Singaporeans. Radio was easily accessible to those who depended on the spoken word for information. Television combined audio and visuals with a greater impact to reach Singaporeans in the comfort of their own homes .
Broadcasting drew public attention on the need to make Singapore clean and green. It educated and persuaded the public to change their behaviour through constant reminders in news, magazine programmes, talk shows and catchy jingles .
The Clean and Green message on Radio and Television Singapore (RTS) network reached out to Singaporeans of all ages, language and occupational groups. Broadcasting was the vanguard to transform Singapore into a Clean and Green Singapore, by creating awareness, influencing behaviour and promoting policies that improved the quality of life.