Saturday, 9 January 2016

SGfuture dialogues: Have a say in tackling green challenges

Singaporeans can join series of engagement sessions; Govt will work with individuals to translate good ideas into actions
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 8 Jan 2016

While Singapore has grown into a sterling city in a garden in 50 years, the next phase will be fraught with more acute challenges, driven by increasing land constraints that could mean trade-offs between commercial, residential and green spaces.

Climate change will also result in rising sea levels, more intense rainfall and warmer weather, and globally, there will be more pressure on resources such as food and raw materials.

But Singaporeans will have a say in how these challenges will be met, and the future they envision, through a month-long series of engagement sessions titled "A Cleaner, Greener and Smarter Home" launched yesterday.

Launched our #SGfuture dialogue series on a "Cleaner, Greener and Smarter Home" with MEWR Minister Masagos Zulkifli last...
Posted by Lawrence Wong on Thursday, January 7, 2016

The discussions will be based on four main themes: City in a Garden, Vibrant Community Spaces, Eco-smart Towns and Gracious Living, and A Green and Conserving Culture.

It will delve into topics, including how to cut down on food and electronic waste; how homes can be built to be more environmentally friendly; ways in which the community can maintain the island's greenery; or how technology can be used to improve the daily commute.

They are part of the larger SGfuture discussions that started in November and are expected to run till the middle of this year. Last month, the focus was on building a caring community.

To kick-start this round of dialogues, a symposium was held yesterday at Gardens by the Bay, involving some 300 participants, and attended by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

In a call to action, Mr Wong said the sessions "should not just be talk only", but those with good ideas should come forward.

The Government will work with individuals to "translate your ideas into actions", he added.

Ms Masagos gave the example of Mr Tan Ken Jin as an individual who made a difference. Mr Tan started the Singapore Glove Project, where people meet to pick up litter during their jogs and runs.

"The one-man movement has grown to more than 500 members... Our challenge is to turn the movement into a culture," he said.

During yesterday's symposium, participants raised several suggestions, including an open gardens concept, where the gardens of private homes or estates could be open to the public on a regular basis.

One participant also asked whether urban areas could be re-designed to make them more walkable, like in Western cities.

There will be 17 engagement sessions this month, and one next month. While the dialogues will be held at the Marketplace, near The Future of Us exhibition, there will also be site visits to the rail corridor, HortPark and the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Members of the public who would like to attend any of the dialogues can sign up at

Our conversation series on “A Cleaner, Greener and Smarter Home” brings together Singaporeans from all walks of life to...
Posted by Ministry of National Development on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Did you attend the “Moving Towards A Zero Waste Nation: E-Waste” #SGfuture engagement session on 9 Jan 2016?What are some ways we can help to reduce the amount of e-waste in Singapore?
Posted by Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Did you attend the “Keeping Singapore Clean” #SGfuture engagement session on 9 Jan 2016? How do you think we can play our part to achieve a clean and green Singapore?
Posted by Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) on Saturday, January 9, 2016

'No-cleaners week' to help keep Singapore clean? Participants come up with suggestions at public forum
Participants come up with suggestions at public forum on keeping Singapore clean
By Danson Cheong, The Sunday Times, 10 Jan 2016

Stop issuing plastic bags at supermarkets. Get residents to clean up the corridors outside their homes. And have a "no-cleaners week" each month so ordinary Singaporeans can get their hands dirty.

These were some of the suggested made yesterday at a public forum organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources on keeping Singapore clean. Mr Masagos Zulkifli, who heads the ministry, facilitated the discussions.

He said residents must be personally involved in keeping the country clean, and this spirit of civic consciousness had to become a social norm if Singapore were to progress from being a cleaned city to one that is simply clean.

"This involvement must come from the heart, from belief; it must come from culture," said Mr Masagos, adding that this can simply involve residents cleaning up their HDB corridors instead of waiting for cleaners.

Yesterday's forum was part of the larger SGfuture discussions - a series of public dialogues on the country's future that was launched last November and will run until the middle of this year.

Two discussions were held at the Future Of Us exhibition at Gardens by the Bay yesterday, attended by about 40 participants each, and centred on the theme "A Cleaner, Greener and Smarter Home".

Civil servant Chris Koh, 43, pointed out that people learnt in schools to return food trays but forget this good habit when they start working. "In order to change mindsets, perhaps we need more education for adults," said Ms Koh.

Others, such as facilities and maintenance manager Low Kok Peng, said Singaporeans kept homes that were spick and span - but started littering the moment they stepped outside.

"We should get neighbours to tell each other not to litter and clean up," said the 58 year-old, who wanted Singaporeans to get their hands dirty and not wait for cleaners.

Meanwhile, Mr Louis Ng, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, spent last Friday working with a broom and dustpan alongside cleaners in his ward. Mr Ng, who called the work "physically exhausting" in a Facebook post on the same day, said small pieces of litter add up to a big pile of rubbish.

"If everyone plays their part, puts the cigarette butt in the bin, throws the rubbish in the bin... it will make it better for all," he said.

[My experience as a cleaner]I've gained experience as a healthcare worker and as a driver previously. Today, I...
Posted by Louis Ng Kok Kwang on Friday, January 8, 2016

Public Hygiene Council chairman Edward D'Silva said problems such as clogged drains and pest infestations had their roots in the simple act of littering.

"It is the cause of a lot of the downstream problems that we have," he said during the discussions.

Mr Masagos said there was space for the community to play an active role on this issue - instead of waiting for the authorities to clamp down on litterbugs.

"We certainly need to work more with schools, to think how we can make what we do in schools perpetuate when we go out into the community," said Mr Masagos.

"Maybe 50 years from now, there will be a culture for Singaporeans to not just want a clean environment, but have attitudes and behaviours that keep the environment clean."

Additional reporting by Samantha Boh.

Did you attend the “Moving Towards A Zero Waste Nation: Food Waste” #SGfuture engagement session this morning (10 Jan 2016)?What are some of the actions you’ve been taking to help reduce food waste?
Posted by Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) on Sunday, January 10, 2016

Eat, drink and maybe sing at hawker centres?
Live music and open mic sessions among suggestions made at SGFuture discussion
By Zhaki Abdullah, The Straits Times, 11 Jan 2016

Live music could be a regular feature at neighbourhood hawker centres in the future as part of a move to transform them into more than just places to eat.

This was among the suggestions put forth at "Our Future Hawker Centres".

This is an engagement session held by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources yesterday as part of the SGFuture conversations.

Hosted at the Future of Us exhibition, it was attended by about 50 participants made up of hawkers, hawker association representatives, and hawker centre managing agents.

Did you attend the “Our Future Hawker Centres” #SGfuture engagement session on 10 Jan 2016? How do you think hawker...
Posted by Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) on Sunday, January 10, 2016

It was aimed at gathering ideas on how to sustain hawker culture in Singapore, and make hawker centres more vibrant.

"They could have open mic sessions, with live musicians and even comedians," said 24-year-old management consulting analyst Charmaine Pek, who attended the session with her friend, student Sarah Cheong, out of an interest in food and sustainability issues.

Other suggestions to attract more customers included integrating hawker centres into community centres, as was done with the Cei Yuan Community Club in August last year.

Another popular topic was how to attract more people to become hawkers.

Mr Fabian Toh, who runs a traditional Cantonese dessert stall in Chinatown with his parents, said new hawkers are often unwilling to accept low profit margins, leading the stalls to close within a short period of time.

"The fastest I've seen a stall close is within five days," said 34-year-old Mr Toh.

Food blogger Leslie Tay said that one of the obstacles facing new hawkers is high costs.

"If younger hawkers taking over older stalls are given heritage status to enjoy subsidies, that would be helpful," said Dr Tay.

Other suggestions included the use of data analytics to determine customer preferences and reintroducing pushcarts as a low-cost alternative to stalls for prospective hawkers.

The session was attended by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor.

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