Going the Extra Mile for the Environment
Two educational institutions and a private corporation will be receiving the President’s Award for the Environment 2016
27 September 2016 - Three environmental champions will be receiving the prestigious President’s Award for the Environment (PAE) from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at an award ceremony on 27 September 2016. This year’s winners are Marsiling Primary School, Bukit View Secondary School, and Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. PAE is Singapore’s highest environmental accolade, and this year marks the award’s eleventh anniversary since its inauguration in 2006.
The Award Recipients
2 Marsiling Primary School – Marsiling Primary School (MPS) has shown strong commitment in grooming their students to become environmental stewards by integrating environmental education into their school curriculum through their Green Citizenship Programme. They also have a strong environmental partnership with the People, Public and Private (3P) sectors to enhance environmental awareness and sustainability. This includes its “Project Coffee Compost”, where the students work with neighbouring cafes and coffee shops to collect used coffee beans and turning them into useful compost for the school’s garden. It also includes the Project Buddy Clean programme that was developed with NEA which inculcates positive environmental values in the students to maintain the cleanliness of the school. MPS was also the first school that launched the ‘Do the Mozzie Wipeout Toolkit’ for schools in 2013 and had since outreached to the community on a regular basis to spread dengue prevention/green messages. Their principal, Mrs Chew Lai Mun (who had retired at the end of 2015) also received the NEA’s EcoFriend Award in 2014.
3 Bukit View Secondary School – Bukit View Secondary School (BVSS) has a longstanding track record in environmental advocacy. This journey started in 2006 where they set up an environment committee and started an annual sustainability forum for neighbouring schools to come together to learn best sustainable practices from one another. BVSS also integrated environmental education into their school curriculum through their Junior OUtstanding Leaders in Energy for Sustainability (JOULES) Programme. In addition, BVSS constructed environment-learning facilities, such as an Eco Garden and a Learning Wall to teach students on biodiversity, water and energy conservation. BVSS also won the PUB Watermark Award in 2012 and was the first school in Singapore to conduct a water rationing exercise (with PUB in March 2016) to help students better appreciate water.
4 Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd – Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (Ricoh) has been known for advocating environmental sustainability in Singapore, especially with the 3P sectors. Since 2007, Ricoh has been organising its flagship Eco Action Day annually, where it has since rallied more than 800 organisations to organise or take part in at least one environmental-related initiative. Ricoh is also an active partner of many other environmental initiatives, such as adopting the Tanjong Pagar Park and initiating and sponsoring the Butterfly Trail@Orchard project. Ricoh also works with NParks and NEA to organise annual tree-planting activities since 2005 and to date, an estimated 3,000 tree samplings have been planted. Internally, the company has also established a dedicated Environment Committee which implements environmental activities and measures. The company also formulated The Comet CircleTM concept in 1994 to involve different processes to effectively reuse and recycle materials during their manufacturing process. Their manager for Regional Environmental Management Group, Ms Masayo Hada also received the NEA’s EcoFriend Award in 2012.
5 Professor Leo Tan, a recipient of PAE 2007 and a member of the PAE 2016 Judging Panel shared that the PAE hopes to inspire especially the younger generation to do even more and to “take ownership of the projects” that promote care for our environment. He emphasised that overall “the PAE is a pinnacle award, and it places even more responsibility and onus on the winners. It begets the question, what more can you do now? Recipients must have the right motives, and they should constantly be looking out for new breakthroughs and push for consistent green initiatives”. He also hopes that the PAE, as a symbol of environmental stewardship, will encourage the community to bear the responsibility to leave the earth as it is for future generations.