TOWN councils with rubbish-strewn areas are reaping the benefits of a new law requiring litterbugs to clean up public places. The Environment Ministry, which decides where offenders will serve their Corrective Work Orders, or CWOs, has agreed to requests from 17 of Singapore's 24 town councils to have litterbugs assigned to tidy their neighbourhoods. Under the new law, which Environment Minister Ahmad Mattar said was aimed at reforming litterbugs by shaming them, offenders can be ordered to work for up to three hours supervised by a public health inspector. Those who do not comply with the work order within, 12 months face a fine of S$5,000 (HK$24,200) or a maximum of two months' imprisonment. The law supplements other regulations aimed at keeping Singapore clean and green, including a ban on chewing gum, which the Environment Ministry says has paid off, although the problem has not been eradicated. So far, 126 Singaporeans have been convicted under the littering law and have carried out CWOs. Sixty litterbugs who have been issued with CWOs recently will work out their sentences at housing estates in six town councils over the next few weeks. While the change in policy could prove to be a cost-saver for the town councils, the Environment Ministry says the move is aimed at educating potential neighbourhood litterbugs. Richard Lim, head of the ministry's Environmental Health Department said offenders would be assigned to ''litter-prone areas''. ''We want the exercise to have an educational, deterrent and reformative impact,'' he said. Among offenders in a group picking up rubbish at a housing estate last week was a 34-year-old computer company executive who had been caught leaving an empty paper cup on the branches of a tree.