Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Singapore's Efforts on Climate Change, Sustainable Living and Food Waste, on 8 July 2019

Question from Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what steps is Singapore taking to (i) address climate change (ii) prioritise green and sustainable living and (iii) reduce food waste in Singapore.

Reply by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:
     A clean, green and liveable environment is necessary for Singaporeans to lead healthy lives. We pursue sustainable development by taking a long-term and integrated approach to planning and implementation.
2.   The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) charts out the measures and targets to support sustainable development. These include planning for parks and green spaces in housing estates, enhancing public transport, and introducing eco-friendly features in HDB flats, such as rooftop greenery, solar panels, dual chutes for recycling and smart metering. These features are being implemented progressively, and will also be incorporated in new sustainable districts such as Punggol Digital District, Jurong Lake District and Tengah Estate.
3.   The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint goes beyond hardware to also cover "heartware". My Ministry works closely with other Government agencies and community partners on ground-up initiatives that help make Singapore an endearing and liveable home. Residents can participate in environmental programmes such as litter picking, recycling, and energy and water conservation activities.

4.   However, our sustainable development journey is not without challenges. Climate change is a key existential threat for Singapore and we are taking concerted action to tackle it. To meet our Paris Agreement goals, we have a suite of measures to reduce greenhouse gases across all sectors of the economy. This includes incentivising the adoption of energy efficient technologies and cleaner forms of energy. We also implemented a carbon tax this year to further our transition towards a low-carbon economy.

5.   To provide a sound scientific basis for planning and climate adaptation, we established the Centre for Climate Research Singapore in 2013. We are also taking steps to protect Singapore against climate change impacts. For example, we have invested in technologies such as NEWater and desalination, as well as in new drainage infrastructure to strengthen our water supply and flood resilience.

6.   But we cannot combat climate change through the efforts of the Government alone. That is why Singapore designated 2018 the Year of Climate Action to encourage collective climate action in the community. To date, more than 340,000 individuals, organisations and institutions have pledged to reduce their carbon footprint.

7.   The production and consumption of goods account for the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore critical that we produce and consume sustainably, and strive towards a zero-waste nation.

8.   We designated 2019 the Year Towards Zero Waste to galvanise the public and stakeholders to practise the 3Rs, and adopt circular economy approaches that keep resources in use for as long as possible. We will launch the inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan this year, which outlines our strategies to tackle the priority waste streams of e-waste, food waste and packaging waste, supported by R&D and industry development.

9.   A combination of measures is used to tackle packaging waste and e-waste, including public campaigns, voluntary agreements and regulatory requirements on producers. We recently launched the "Say YES to Waste Less" campaign with 59 partners across more than 1,600 outlets, to encourage consumers to use reusables such as reusable bags and reduce the use of disposables.
10.  To reduce food waste, our approach includes raising awareness of food waste reduction, and promoting excess food redistribution. Since 2015, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been running a food waste reduction campaign to
encourage everyone to "Buy, Order or Cook Just Enough". Educational materials such as the Food Waste Reduction Handy Guide are shared online and at road shows. We also work with interest groups and NGOs such as Food Bank Singapore and Food from the Heart to increase awareness and drive action in the community.

11.  We have developed food waste minimisation guidebooks for food retail establishments, supermarkets and food manufacturing establishments, which guide owners and operators of food and beverage businesses to implement measures to reduce food waste across the supply chain. Guidelines on the proper handling and redistribution of unsold or excess food are incorporated to facilitate food redistribution.
12.  I urge everyone to play our part in making green and sustainable lifestyle choices, so as to reduce our carbon footprint and strive towards a zero waste nation.

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