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Speech by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Mr Masagos Zulkifli at the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint Brand Launch on Saturday, 16 July 2016 at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza

Distinguished guests,

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

1     A very good evening to you. It is heartening to see many of you gathered here this Saturday evening for the launch of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) brand.

 

Launch of Sustainable Singapore Movement

 

2       Today is a significant milestone in Singapore’s sustainability journey. We are here to begin a new phase of communicating the SSB to Singaporeans. We hope that Singaporeans can achieve a better quality of life when we understand that "Less is More". What does this mean? This refers to a new way of living our lives, when we cherish what natural and man-made resources we have, consume less and enjoy more, and practise sustainable habits. For example, Less becomes More enduring for our environment when we produce less waste by reducing consumption, re-using, and recycling. Less is More gracious when we focus less on ourselves and work together for a sustainable Singapore, so less “me”, more “we”. This is the start of a new “Sustainable Singapore Movement” – and we are here to witness this.

 

Sustainable Singapore Blueprint

 

3       The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint describes how we can achieve our national vision for a Liveable and Endearing Home, a Vibrant and Sustainable City and an Active and Gracious Community. To translate this vision into reality, we have many strategies and programmes grouped around 5 focus areas: an “Eco-Smart” Endearing Town; a “Car-Lite” Singapore, Towards a Zero Waste Nation, a Leading Green Economy and underpinning all these, an Active and Gracious Community.

 

4       By embedding smart technology and eco-friendly features into our towns and homes, Singaporeans can look forward to enjoy greater convenience and a better quality of life. We will continue to create more green and blue spaces and community facilities nearer to homes, so that family and friends can enjoy a clean and healthy environment in “Eco-Smart” Endearing Towns.

 

5       You will have heard of the many plans that have been put in place to move us towards a “Car-Lite” Singapore, with significant investments in public transport and cycling infrastructure. Earlier this year, URA started a Car-Free Sunday in the heart of the CBD and the Civic District to experience what a car-free city is like. Recently, LTA also completed Phase 1 of works to transform Ang Mo Kio into Singapore’s first walking and cycling town. In the longer term, we can expect to see more inter-town cycling routes to connect homes directly to the city. We have also set a target for 80% of households to be within a 10-min walk of a train station as we encourage more Singaporeans to take up active mobility options like walking and cycling.

 

6       We are also working towards becoming a Zero-waste Nation by reducing our consumption, and reusing and recycling all materials wherever feasible to give them a second lease of life. Singapore generates a lot of waste, so we need everyone to come together to put in place infrastructure and programmes to make “zero waste” our way of life. Together, we will keep Singapore clean and healthy, conserve precious resources, and free up land for more meaningful uses for our future generations to enjoy.

 

7       Our businesses will be encouraged to adopt greener practices and more efficient processes, as we hope to turn Singapore into a Leading Green Economy. We aim to be among the leading cities in green innovation and deployment, with living labs to test-bed ideas that improve lives and are beneficial to the environment. In turn, Singaporeans will be able to enjoy jobs in this exciting and meaningful sector.

 

8       Finally, to create a high quality living environment that is clean, healthy and sustainable, we will need to be an Active and Gracious Community. Simple acts of kindness and being considerate to our neighbours can go a long way in building a gracious society as a community. Keeping places clean and litter-free, returning our food trays when we finish our meals, turning off the vehicle engine when waiting may seem trivial, but these acts will inculcate a sense of shared responsibility and greater community stewardship.  We are seeing progress, with more than 526 litter-free “Bright Spots”, more than 1,000 Community-in-Bloom Gardens and more than 6,500 Friends of Water. This can be credited to our partners and stakeholders who believe in this vision towards a sustainable Singapore.

 

Introducing the SSB Logo and Mascots

 

9       But there is much more we can do collectively to achieve this vision. The SSB is not merely a government publication. It is about a common and shared identity in wanting to keep Singapore clean, green and sustainable. Today, we are giving SSB a visual identity that all Singaporeans and residents can recognise to be the mark of sustainability. You may have noticed mysterious appearances made by the SSB mascots across Singapore, engaging in everyday activities such as shopping, exercising in the park, taking public transport, going to work, and picking up litter. They have also been “caught” in action doing some nifty dance moves to cheer passers-by. They have also appeared in bus-stop advertisements, on signboards in our parks, and videos on the #myorangekampong Facebook page. They have been seen by about 100,000 people. We hope they will make their way into the hearts of Singaporeans and help us all remember the many little actions we can do every day to build a kind, gracious and sustainable Singapore.

 

Corporations and NGOs have a Part to Play

 

10     There are two things that we hope to achieve through the Sustainable Singapore movement. First, we want to encourage our partners, NGOs and corporates to inspire their stakeholders to go green. Sustainability becomes much more meaningful and effective when everyone takes ownership and to encourage each other to do likewise.

 

11     Let me highlight two organisations that have been supportive partners of the sustainable Singapore vision, and have led the way in their community outreach efforts. The first, is City Developments Limited, or CDL. As a developer, CDL has been actively implementing green features in residential developments, such as twin chutes pneumatic waste system to encourage residents to segregate and recycle their waste. CDL has also initiated many projects to raise awareness and encourage green practices among youths and the public.

 

12     Another organisation that I would like to mention here is Starhub, which has initiated an electronic waste recycling programme, called REcycling Nation’s Electronic Waste (RENEW). In collaboration with DHL and TESS-AMM, a home-grown e-waste recycler, the initiative encourages the public to dispose of their e-waste responsibly into bins provided across more than 230 locations around Singapore. I understand that more than 71,930kg of e-waste has been collected since the recycling programme started in 2012.

 

13     NGOs like LoveCyclingSG have also been very supportive of the SSB. This NGO was started in 2010 by friends who decided to explore Singapore on Sundays morning using bicycles. It has since grown to a membership of 14,000 on Facebook and is an active supporter of the Car-Free Day initiative, promoting a Car-Lite Singapore, which is one of the focus areas of the SSB.

 

14     I would also like to commend the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) for playing a key role in championing environmental causes and for coordinating the SSB envisioning exercise in 2014. This evening, we will also be giving out awards to the SSB Photography and Short Film Competition organised by the SEC to generate greater awareness of the SSB.

 

Individuals have a Part to Play

 

15     The second thing that we hope to achieve is to rope in Singaporeans to be a part of the Sustainable Singapore movement. As consumers and individuals, we have a responsibility to make the right choices to create a sustainable future. And we have the power to make a difference. For example, deciding to take the public transport instead of driving, or to reduce our time in the shower by a minute, or to consciously segregate our waste from recyclables.

 

16     Collectively, the outcomes of these actions add up, and we can reduce the amount of land that is set aside for landfills, roads and carparks which can be used for other purposes. By reducing our water consumption and generating less waste, we will contribute towards water sustainability and extend the lifespan of our one and only Semakau landfill.

 

Conclusion

 

17     Our decisions today will determine our future living environment, and our actions today can change the future. Our forefathers laid the foundation and worked hard to keep Singapore clean and green. It is now our responsibility to ensure that the next generation can continue to enjoy the green and beautiful environment that we have today.

 

18     So, let us all start taking actions today as portrayed by our 5 mascots and bring the Sustainable Singapore movement to greater heights. Thank you everyone, and have a pleasant evening ahead.

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