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Recognising Three Environmental Champions’ Outstanding Contributions - An individual and two education institutions will be receiving the President’s Award for the Environment 2014

Date Published: 02 Sep 2014

      Three environmental champions will be receiving the President’s Award for the Environment (PAE) from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at an award ceremony on 2 Sept 2014. This year’s winners are Mr Eugene Heng, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic. This is the ninth year since 2006 that the President is presenting the award which is Singapore’s highest environmental accolade. This is the first time since 2011 that an individual has won the award. (Please refer to Appendix I)

2      Mr Eugene Heng, a guardian of our waterways (Appendix II): Mr Heng has been committed to environmental and waterway protection since the 1980’s. He is also the Chairman of the Waterways Watch Society (WWS) - a volunteer group which keeps Singapore’s waterways clean - since he founded it in 1998. A dedicated leader who walks the talk, Mr Heng has spearheaded many initiatives under the WWS for students and has been spending at least three hours patrolling rivers with WWS volunteers every weekend throughout these 16 years. Mr Heng fights for the environmental cause on many fronts – besides protecting the aesthetics of our waterways, he is also actively involved in improving public cleanliness and recycling.

3      The Institute of Technical Education (ITE), a steadfast green advocate (Appendix III): The ITE has been actively promoting environmental awareness and getting recognised for its efforts in recent years. ITE students learn about environmental issues both in and outside their classrooms. Besides infusing environmental knowledge in curricula and activities, ITE empowers its students to impart their know-how to the community through eco-programmes under its partners. ITE is Singapore’s first post-secondary education institution to participate in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s Eco-Schools Programme which trains students to lead environmental initiatives. ITE has adopted green building technologies, won awards for eco-friendly design and introduced an Environmental Sustainability Initiatives Framework in its Headquarters and three Colleges.

4      Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), a pioneer in environmental advocacy (Appendix IV): NP stands out for its remarkably long track record on the environment scene. The institution has started doing voluntary environmental work proactively and built an eco-garden long before it was fashionable for schools to go green. NP has left its own green legacy on students as many of its graduates have continued making their mark by contributing in their communities. NP has formed many international and local partnerships. Notably, it has partnered governmental agencies in developing some of its courses and in spearheading the Gardens@NP initiative to build mini-gardens on campus. NP has an Environmental Committee to implement environmental strategies. NP won the 2013 BCA Green Mark Platinum Award for a block and aims to have 80 per cent of its buildings certified by 2020.

5      “I am happy to announce the three winners chosen from 26 outstanding nominations received this year. We are impressed by their unwavering dedication and consistent excellence – they have taken the lead to safeguard our environment and waterways to make Singapore a better place for all. They are deserving winners who have set a high benchmark as role models in their respective sectors. I would like to congratulate our winners and I hope they will continue making these efforts,” said Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, Chairperson of the PAE 2014 Judging Panel.

6      “The President’s Award for the Environment is the highest accolade we give to honour individuals, institutions and companies who have made exceptional contributions to safeguarding and improving our living environment. Our three winners this year stand out for their steadfast commitment to the environmental cause, and for their passionate championing of the environment. Their influence has spread far and wide. I hope more Singaporeans will be inspired to come forward, take ownership of our shared environment and make Singapore a better home for future generations.” said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.





Appendix I: Details on The President’s Award for the Environment

Appendix II: Profile of Eugene Heng

Appendix III: Profile of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

Appendix IV: Profile of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)

PAE video:

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Ms Kathleen Tan

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      The President’s Award for the Environment (PAE) is Singapore’s highest environmental accolade for individuals, organisations and companies that have made significant contributions towards environmental and water resource sustainability in Singapore. It recognises and honours the sustained environment and water-related contributions by environmental champions from the People, Private and Public (3P) sectors.

2      Beyond that, the prestigious award also aims to inspire more individuals, organisations and companies to step forward and join efforts in tackling our environmental challenges. This will ensure that all Singaporeans and future generations will have a clean and liveable Singapore to live, work and play in. Since 2006, 24 outstanding environment champions (below) have received the PAE.


List of past recipients



PAE Recipients



Waterways Watch Society
Dr Geh Min
Prof Tommy Koh



City Developments Limited
Prof Leo Tan
Mr Tan Gee Paw



SouthWest CDC
Alexandra Hospital
Senoko Energy



Commonwealth Secondary School
ST Microelectronics Pte Ltd
National Youth Achievement Award Council of Singapore



Hitachi GST
Singapore Polytechnic
Nan Hua High School



Woodgrove Secondary School
SMRT Corporation Limited
Dr Tan Wee Kiat



Marsiling Secondary School
Panasonic Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
HSBC Limited



Fuhua Primary School
Dunman High School
Siloso Beach Resort

Further details can be found at:



      Mr Eugene Heng is widely recognised for his passion for and strong commitment to the environment. Mr Heng founded the Waterways Watch Society (WWS) in 1998 and has been its chairman ever since. The WWS is a special volunteer group which brings people together to monitor, restore and protect the aesthetics of Singapore’s waterways. Under Mr Heng’s leadership, it currently has 370 volunteer members.

2      While Mr Heng is recognised for his contributions through the WWS, he started his environmental journey early in the 1980s, first as an environment coordinator at a foreign bank he used to work at before being appointed as a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (Environment) from 1995 to 2000. He also served as a PUB board member from 2001 to 2005 and represented the WWS as a member of the Water Network from 2004 to 2013. As chairman of the WWS, he spearheaded many of its activities and initiatives mainly targeted at Primary and Secondary School students, such as International Coastal Clean-Up Day (Marina), Youth Bicycle Patrol and the River Monster Programme. Through his mentoring, the WWS has managed to reach out to volunteers of all ages, growing a strong and extensive network of volunteers and developing volunteering opportunities.

3      Apart from leading initiatives, Mr Heng strongly believes in taking sustainable action and walking the talk. Over the last 16 years he has spent at least three hours every weekend with volunteers of the WWS on boats and bicycles, helping to monitor the Marina Reservoir, Singapore River, Kallang River and Geylang Rivers, picking litter and reporting acts of littering and sites of pollution. These have earned Mr Heng the Public Service Medal in 2005 for his continuous and tireless efforts in keeping Singapore’s rivers clean. Under his leadership, the WWS also won the inaugural President’s Award for the Environment in 2006 as well as the PUB Watermark Award in 2007.

4      In addition to his sustained efforts in water-related initiatives, Mr Heng has also branched out into other environment-related causes like public cleanliness and recycling. For instance, Mr Heng is an active member of the Public Hygiene Council and is committed to galvanise community and industry efforts to improve the cleanliness and hygiene standards in Singapore. Together with a corporate partner, he has embarked on a PET bottle recycling programme with schools.



      The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is a leader of the class among post-secondary institutions. The ITE is widely-recognised for its dedication to environmental education. Together, the ITE’s Headquarters and three Colleges have adopted the Environmental Sustainability Initiatives Framework which is reviewed at the end of each five-year term. The framework promotes awareness of environmental issues among staff and students by encouraging them to be more conscious of the environmental impact of their actions in everyday life.

2      The ITE’s passion for the environment resonates in the architecture of its Headquarters and Colleges. The institution incorporates best practices in environmental design and construction and adopts green building technologies for its campuses. The ITE Headquarters & College Central complex, which was officially opened in 2013, was conferred the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award. ITE College West and ITE College East were also awarded the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award and Gold Award respectively.

3      Environmental education has been infused in ITE students’ formal and informal curricula. All ITE students are introduced to environmental sustainability initiatives during orientation. These ideas are reinforced through projects and overseas study trips to build up environmental awareness during their years in ITE. Environment-related topics (such as recycling, waste handling and disposal), course-relevant environmental regulations and course-specific electives like energy audit and water efficiency management are included in about 70 per cent of the ITE’s courses. As a result, ITE students graduate with a keen sense of awareness of their roles and responsibilities in sustaining the environment, both on personal and professional bases.

4      The ITE has also formed many valued partnerships with the community through established eco-programmes which empower students to educate the community on ‘green’ issues while serving them. ITE is also Singapore’s first post-secondary education institution to be a part of the Eco-Schools Programme run by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) which gives students opportunities to be trained as leaders of environment initiatives under a green-campus programme. For its efforts in raising environmental awareness, the ITE has been recognised with the Singapore Environmental Achievement Award in 2013. ITE students have also been awarded the HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Award and Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Award in recent years.




      Before it was fashionable for schools to go green, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) had already started doing voluntary environmental work. NP is a pioneer in the environment scene among Singapore’s tertiary institutions. NP has set up the NP Environmental Committee within the tertiary institution to set environmental policies and strategies for NP. Through its journey as an institution with integrated environmental education, NP has garnered many awards, one of which was the PUB Watermark Award in 2008.

2      The Polytechnic has strong partnerships with various agencies for its diploma programmes. It has partnered the National Parks Board (NParks) since 1998 for the joint development of the Diploma in Landscape Design & Horticulture. Further collaboration with NParks and the South West Community Development Council led to the introduction of the Gardens@NP initiative to create mini-gardens on campus. This sends out a strong message to NP’s students on the importance of maintaining a sustainable environment for life on Earth. NP has also jointly developed the Diploma in Environmental & Water Technology with PUB, the national water agency. Through this course, NP’s staff and students have actively promoted environmental awareness and activities to secondary schools and the community with corporate partners. NP also offers the Diploma in Sustainable Urban Design & Engineering and the Diploma in Clean Energy Management to train students in the relevant sectors. NP students have also received numerous awards in recognition of their achievements in various environmental causes, competitions and conferences. Many of the Polytechnic’s graduates continue to make their mark in the environmental community.

3      The Polytechnic’s Block 51 and Block 58 were conferred the 2013 BCA Green Mark Platinum Award, testifying to its steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability. As part of its plans to step up its sustainability efforts, NP aims to obtain such Green Building certifications for 80 per cent of the buildings in its campus by 2020.

4      NP has formed many partnerships as well, such as organising the Singapore Junior Water Prize since 2008; which aims to select a team of students to represent Singapore in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition in Sweden every year. At the event, NP staff also served as mentors to participating secondary school students. In 2012, a team of students from Anderson Junior College won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize in Sweden.

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