NEWS

Speeches

SPEECH BY DR AMY KHOR, SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES, AT ECO DAY OUT 2019 @ SOUTH WEST ON SUNDAY, 27 JANUARY 2019, AT HONG KAH NORTH CC

TOPICS: Recycling

  

Ms Low Yen Ling

Mayor of South West District

 

Grassroots Leaders

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

INTRODUCTION

 

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.

 

2019 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 2035.

 

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 daily living.

 

#RecycleRight MOVEMENT

 

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.

 

8. I hope you will all join the #RecycleRight movement to recycle, and more importantly, recycle right.

 

GOOD COMMUNITY INITIATIVES ON ZERO WASTE

 

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 too 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!

 

CONCLUSION

 

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.

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