Low Yen Ling
of South West District
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am very happy to be here for
the ECO Day Out 2019 @ South West. As Mayor has said, this is the 14th
year we are organising this event. This green festival is a meaningful event to raise environmental consciousness among our
residents, to encourage them to adopt green habits, which in turn creates an
environmentally sustainable and caring South West community. Let’s give all our
South West CDC councillors a big round of applause for your sustained environmental
efforts and for promoting a recycling culture among the residents!
2. This year, the “ECO
Plan South West” sustainability masterplan is in its 10th year. Recently
Mayor Low had also announced that the South West District has already achieved
many of the milestones in the masterplan, such as the 1,000,000 Native Plants @
South West, which I have heard has now grown to more than a million across the
community gardens in South West!
3. It is time to review,
update and refresh the ECO Plan. I am happy to be part of the next chapter, and
kick-start the public consultations with the community for the new “ECO Plan
towards 2030”. This will be a future-ready sustainability masterplan which
involves the 3P (people, public and private) sectors. I look forward to the
many views and suggestions that will be given, to develop this plan.
YEAR TOWARDS ZERO WASTE
4. About three weeks ago,
we declared 2019 as Singapore’s Year Towards Zero Waste. Why is this necessary?
One of the reasons is because the amount of waste that Singapore generated over
the last 40 years has increased by seven times! In 2017, we generated 7.7
million tonnes of waste. If you need a comparison for that, it is equivalent to
more than 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools! We only have one landfill, Pulau
Semakau, and if we continue at this rate, Semakau will run out of space by
5. That’s why in this Year
Towards Zero Waste, we want to encourage everybody to adopt a 3R lifestyle – to
reduce consumption, re-use instead of dispose, and recycle more and
recycle right. Let us take on the challenge of striving for zero waste in our
6. Why do we want everyone to recycle right? Today,
40% of what is in our blue recycling bins cannot be recycled because some
people throw in items which are unsuitable for recycling. Others treat the blue
bins as general waste bins and throw in food and liquids. This contaminates the
items in the recycling bin and makes them unsuitable for recycling. The items
then end up incinerated instead of recycled.
7. That’s why we have started a #RecycleRight movement.
What is this movement? Just remember three things:
(i) Only put recyclable items into
the blue bin. Don’t treat it like a trash bin. Follow the labels on the blue
bin on what can be put inside.
(ii) Make sure the recyclable items
are dry, clean and free from food and liquid contamination. If you have containers
with food or liquids inside, give them a simple rinse before you put them into
the blue bin. Otherwise you will contaminate the other recyclables and waste
other people’s efforts in putting recyclables into the blue bin.
(iii) No need to sort different
types of recyclables for the blue bins because they will be sorted centrally.
hope you will all join the #RecycleRight movement to recycle, and more
importantly, recycle right.
COMMUNITY INITIATIVES ON ZERO
9. There are many good
community initiatives on Zero Waste. South West District has some very good innovative
initiatives to encourage residents to reduce, reuse and recycle. This includes
the newly-launched Recycle Our
E-Waste @ South West, which Mayor Low shared earlier. This local initiative
complements the national drive to encourage e-waste recycling.
10. I also want to give special mention to the Cool
South West! ‘Towards Zero Waste’ initiative that was launched last year by South
West CDC and the National Environment Agency (NEA). This aims to encourage
residents to reduce the consumption of single-use disposables, such as plastic
or styrofoam takeaway containers. Residents are invited at roadshows to make a
photo-pledge of their commitment to use fewer single-use disposables, and in return,
they get a limited edition Cool South West reusable lunchbox. They can use this
for takeaway, to save on disposable containers. I heard that about 2,000
lunchboxes have been distributed to residents, and I hope they have been using
them instead of disposable containers.
11. Another good example is a project by 4 Nanyang
Technological University (NTU) undergraduates who felt that Singaporeans were using
many plastic water bottles and contributing to plastic waste. I encourage
everyone to learn about their ‘Drink Wise, Drink Tap’ campaign, which aims to
promote the consumption of tap water over bottled water. This is an excellent
campaign which will ultimately reduce the use of plastic bottles in Singapore
and build a refill culture by encouraging people to bring their own reusable
water bottles. By the way, I would like to affirm that PUB tap water is
perfectly safe to drink – my family and I can also vouch for this – so there is
no need to buy bottled water. PUB has a comprehensive water treatment process,
and robust sampling and monitoring programme from source to tap, with over
400,000 tests conducted annually. PUB tap water tastes very good, and is well
within the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking–Water
Quality. There is no need to boil or filter the water. If you are not
convinced, visit NTU’s booth later and try it for yourself!
12. I look forward to more such initiatives. Join
us to work towards a Zero Waste Nation and be part of the #RecycleRight
movement. We can all make a difference.
Enjoy the day ahead. Thank you.