Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the screening of "Closing the Loop" on 13 April 2019 at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Mr Loh Chin Hua

CEO of Keppel Corporation


Mr Tan Swee Yiow

CEO of Keppel Land


Ladies and Gentlemen,


1                 Good evening. I am encouraged to see so many of you at tonight’s screening. This shows that there is a lot of interest in sustainable development and circular economy. 

2                 Singapore has always believed that environmental sustainability can and must complement economic development. This unwavering principle has guided our policies and enabled our people to live in a clean and green environment, with good jobs and education.

3                 But challenges lie ahead. Climate change will have an increasing impact on our environment, food and water supplies. According to a 2018 World Bank report, rapid urbanisation, population growth and economic development will see global waste increase by 70 per cent over the next 30 years.

4                 In Singapore, waste disposed has increased seven-fold over the past 40 years. In 2018, we generated 7.7 million tonnes of waste. This is equivalent to the weight of 530,000 double-decker buses. This is not sustainable. If we continue with our current rate of waste generation, Semakau Landfill, our only landfill, will run out of space by 2035. We cannot keep building new landfills.        

5                 This is why we have designated 2019 as our Year Towards Zero Waste. We need to reduce our waste and move towards more sustainable consumption. But beyond that, we should adopt a circular economy approach to the way we use our resources. Our vision is to turn our trash into treasure, and reuse and recycle our resources for as long as possible.  

6                 To do this well, we need to invest in R&D. The National Environment Agency has set aside $45million under the “Closing the Waste Loop” R&D initiative to fund projects adopting circular economy approaches. Such investments will bring about new opportunities for our enterprises, and consequently, more jobs for Singaporeans.

7                 At the individual level, we can also try closing the waste loop in our own homes. For example, instead of throwing our food waste down the rubbish chute, we can convert them into compost and use them to grow vegetables that we can eat. If enough of us do this, we can reduce the number of rubbish trucks needed to transport our rubbish to the incinerator. This will reduce carbon emission, and help mitigate climate change. In short, there are immense possibilities to make a difference.

8                 I understand that today’s documentary explores five key strategies for achieving circularity – reduce, reuse, recycle, renew and reinvent. It will showcase successful models from around the world, and feature insights from experts. I hope the documentary will inspire you to do your part for the environment. Every positive action counts, and collectively, we can build a sustainable Singapore.


9                 To conclude, I would like to thank Keppel Corporation, Singapore Botanic Gardens and their partners for organising this event today.

10       I wish you a wonderful evening.

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