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Parliament Q&A

ADDENDUM TO THE PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES

ADDENDUM TO THE PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

MR MASAGOS ZULKIFLI MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES

A Smart, Green, and Liveable Singapore

1 Since independence, we have pursued our vision of a liveable and sustainable Singapore, balancing environmental protection and economic growth. Today, we enjoy a clean environment, flowing taps, and vibrant green and blue spaces. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) will build on the legacy of our pioneers and stay true to their spirit of innovation, as we tackle the effects of climate change and current environmental challenges.

Planning for a Resilient Future

2 Climate change is a global concern. As a low-lying island state, Singapore is especially vulnerable to its impact. We will continue to advocate for and contribute to global climate action. We will undertake our Voluntary National Review of the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations in July 2018. To rally the region, we will organise the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action (SAMCA) and Expanded SAMCA (E-SAMCA) in July 2018.

3 The 2016 Climate Action Plan set out our adaptation measures to build Singapore’s resilience to climate change, and our mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in every sector. The carbon tax which takes effect from 2019 will provide an economy-wide price signal to spur emissions reduction. In this Year of Climate Action and beyond, we will encourage and support businesses and communities to reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainable living and working.

4 We will continue to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure, such as enhancing stormwater management systems and diversifying our water supply with more desalination and NEWater plants. In tandem, we are pursuing better management of our water demand. We will also deepen our local research capabilities on climate science and weather through the Centre for Climate Research Singapore.

Realising a Zero Waste Culture

5 Using resources efficiently is critical to reducing emissions, limiting pollution, and strengthening Singapore’s economic resilience. We will strive to become a Zero Waste nation and extract greater value from waste as a resource, so as to achieve our vision of a circular economy. Just as we have closed the water loop by recycling water endlessly, we should similarly strive towards closing the waste loop.

6 The Government will take the lead by developing infrastructure and frameworks, such as the Extended Producer Responsibility framework to enhance recycling and manage electrical and electronic waste. We are implementing mandatory reporting of packaging data and packaging waste reduction plans by 2021, and supporting the wider use of on-site food waste digesters at commercial premises and hawker centres. We are working towards the reuse of incineration bottom ash to extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill.

7 At the same time, we need to kindle in Singaporeans a national consciousness towards the environment, where everyone takes individual and collective responsibility and plays a part through practising sustainable consumption and recycling at home.

Achieving Smart and Green Growth

8 As our population and economy grow, the demands on our infrastructure will increase, even as our manpower and resource constraints tighten. We must transform our environmental services industry and workforce through technology and innovation, to support our move towards greater carbon and resource efficiency.

9 The upcoming Tuas Water Reclamation Plant and the Integrated Waste Management Facility, the first in the world, will be our signature innovation platform to reap synergies from the water-energy-waste nexus. Effluent water from wastewater treatment will be used for cooling waste incineration equipment; food waste will be codigested with used water sludge to enhance biogas production to increase the overall plant thermal efficiency. Integrating the facilities will reduce carbon emissions by more than 200,000 tonnes annually.

10 We are stepping up research and development and improving resource efficiency. For instance, the Waste-to-Energy Research Facility, the first of its kind in Singapore, will enable the transition of emerging technologies (such as turning waste and biomass into synthetic gas) from research into demonstration and test-bedding projects. To enhance energy efficiency in water treatment, we are leading research in technologies such as anaerobic membrane bioreactors for used water treatment, and electro-deionisation and biomimicry for desalinated water. To expand the use of solar energy, we are tapping reservoir surface space and piloting a floating solar system at Tengeh Reservoir.

11 To better serve the public, we are leveraging smart technologies such as sensors and other digital technologies. As part of our Smart Water Grid, we have set up 320 sensor stations island-wide to monitor 5,500km of water distribution pipe network real-time. We are conducting trials on the Automated Meter Reading system to provide timely water consumption data to help households save water.

12 We will provide opportunities for technology collaboration and adaptation across the environmental services industry. As part of the Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map to ensure a vibrant, sustainable, and professional cleaning and waste management industry, we are embracing the use of automation, robotics, and data analytics to enhance productivity in the industry. Besides new public housing estates, the pneumatic waste conveyance systems are being implemented in new private residential developments with at least 500 dwelling units. Increasingly, we will use technology to remotely manage waste collection, and robotics to sort recyclables at materials recovery facilities. The use of autonomous cleaning equipment will free workers to focus on higher value work. The future of delivering environmental services will provide an exciting array of green jobs for our people.

Building a Green and Liveable Home

13 As we strive to build a liveable and sustainable Singapore, we will continue to integrate and transform our blue and green spaces. Through the Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters programme, we will continue to turn concrete drains, canals, and reservoirs into vibrant and beautiful rivers, streams, and lakes. Over the next few years, ABC Waters projects at locations such as the Jurong Lake and Sungei Whampoa will be completed.

14 While the Government will continue to strengthen our regulatory regime to safeguard our environment and public health, creating a liveable and endearing home ultimately depends on everyone taking ownership of our environment. Through the Sustainable Singapore movement, we will continue to rally Singaporeans, the larger community, and industry partners to realise this shared vision.

15 Our hawker centres are an important hub for social interaction and an integral part of our daily life and national identity. Beyond providing affordable and good food, our hawker centres are important community spaces that bring together people from all walks of life, and help to strengthen the bonds of our multi-racial society. In 2015, we announced that we would build 20 new hawker centres by 2027. Since then, seven new modern hawker centres have opened. Our Hawker Centre 3.0 initiatives are aimed at ensuring the viability, vitality, and continuity of the hawker trade. We are extending productivity initiatives such as the automated tray return systems and centralised dishwashing services to more hawker centres. We will continue to invest in developing and enhancing our hawker centres to ensure that future generations continue to enjoy our unique and vibrant hawker culture.

Conclusion

16 Our pioneers have laid a solid foundation and left us this wonderful City in a Garden. We will work together to build on their precious legacy, and leave our children with a smart, green, and liveable home.

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