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Opening Address by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the Launch of the 'Keep Clean, Singapore!' 2019, at Bedok Town Square, on Sunday, 28 April 2019

TOPICS: Waste, Cleanliness

Ladies and Gentlemen

           Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today for the launch of ‘Keep Clean, Singapore!’ 2019.

Introduction

2         We all remember that the Keep Singapore Clean Campaign was started by our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1968. At the launch of the campaign, Mr Lee said that “no other hallmark of success will be more distinctive than that of achieving our position as the cleanest and greenest city in South Asia.” The focus on becoming a clean and green city guided many of our policies, and is aligned with our pursuit of sustainable development. Today, I’m proud to say that Singapore is one of the cleanest and most liveable cities in the world.

3         But the hard truth is that we are still dependent on our army of 58,000 cleaners who clean up our housing estates, roads, public walkways and waterways, every day. How confident are we that we will remain clean without them? It is important that we continue to build a culture of reducing our waste, cleaning up after ourselves, and binning our litter properly.

4         Today, I am pleased to kick off the Public Hygiene Council’s (PHC) annual Keep Clean Singapore! campaign 2019. This year, PHC will partner 350 organisations to conduct over 500 clean-up activations across the nation. These will be done around housing estates, parks, beaches, offices and hawker centres. Through these activations, we hope to reinforce the message that everyone needs to take personal responsibility to keep our public spaces clean. 

New initiatives to strengthen the Keep Singapore Clean Movement

5         To strengthen the Keep Singapore Clean Movement, the PHC will be launching three key initiatives this year.

6         First, it is establishing a Champions Network named R.I.S.E. This stands for Reach-Inspire-Synergise-Empower. This network comprises 24 NGOs, student eco groups, uniform groups and public agencies. The organisations will work together for a cleaner Singapore. They will conduct regular clean-up activities in various locations such as housing estates, beaches, parks, waterways and even our reefs. They will collect data on waste and litter to promote greater appreciation and understanding of these issues. They will share their experiences and engage the greater public to take more personal responsibility for our common spaces. We expect the R.I.S.E. network to grow and expand in numbers, scope and impact over the coming years.

7         The second initiative is the Sustainable Bright Spots programme aimed at encouraging residents to keep their housing estates clean. Twelve estates have already committed to becoming Sustainable Bright Spots. Awareness campaigns and activities will be implemented in these estates to encourage anti-littering and proper waste disposal.

8         Last but not least, a CleanSG Day will be designated in the month of May. PHC’s Sustainable Bright Spots, NParks, grassroots organisations and businesses such as McDonald’s and Kopitiam will be participating. On this day, cleaners will be given a rest, as a gesture of appreciation for the hard work they put in every day. Residents, patrons and employees of these organisations will be encouraged to take part in clean-up activities. They will also be encouraged to engage their friends, neighbours and colleagues to do the same.

Keeping our blue bins clean

9         As part of the Keep Singapore Clean Movement, I would like to urge you to  keep our blue recycling bins clean and properly used. Many people are still using the blue bins as rubbish bins. This is the wrong thing to do. They throw in food and drinks, and we even find things such as dirty diapers inside them. This creates two problems: 1) It contaminates the recyclable items in the blue bins; and 2) As we put food into the bins, it attracts pests, making the bins smell terrible. Such inconsiderate behaviour wastes the efforts of everyone who wants to recycle. So remember: the blue bin is not our rubbish bin. It is only meant for recyclable items. We can only make items recyclable if we do not commingle it with food and liquids. Do not throw in your food waste, as part of what we can do in this Year Towards Zero Waste.

Conclusion

10       Keeping Singapore Clean is an imperative that will benefit all of us. It will keep our environment liveable. As all of you can see around us today, it is why we have a good environment to live in. Part of that has been someone cleaning after us. Let us encourage a culture of cleaning up after ourselves, and at the same time, use our bins properly. If we do this right, it will become a place which we can be proud of — not because it is a cleaned place, but because it is a clean place. Let us all do our part to keep our living and shared spaces clean, not just for ourselves, but especially for our loved ones.

Thank you.

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