S’pore’s increasing waste poses potential crisis [News]

July 4, 2013 by  
Filed under News

By Kok Xing Hui, TODAY, 3 Jul 2013.

The dense haze episode two weeks ago was a “special, extreme case of waste disposal gone wrong”, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday.

It was agricultural waste incinerated out in the open, leading to smog in the air that people were forced to breathe, said the minister, who cited the haze as an example of how the rising amount of waste generated posed a threat to the environment.

Speaking at the Waste Management Symposium and 3R Packaging Awards yesterday, he noted that the amount of waste generated per person per day currently has doubled from the World Bank estimate of 0.64kg a decade ago. The 0.64kg figure is expected to triple in the next 10 years.

This poses a potential environmental crisis, as air and environment quality is crucial in a world where half the people live in densely-populated cities. This compared to the past, when cities were less populated and “only a few are inconvenienced” if things went wrong.

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Source: TODAY

Excerpts fron the Speech by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Committee of Supply Debate 2013 [Speeches]

March 18, 2013 by  
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Read the full speech of the COS debate by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan – Part 1 and Part 2.

On Waste:

We have made some changes. We have reduced the number of Public Waste Collection sectors from nine to six in order to improve economies of scale. Again, I am trying to bring the cost of waste collection down whilst recognising that the cost of energy, transport, trucks and all that is also going up.

We are also building a new Waste-to-Energy incineration plant to maximise resource recovery and to reduce landfill space. If I could show the picture of Pulau Semakau, you would see that we already have the area marked out for Phase 2. Again, I can give the House the assurance that we are good to go until 2035. In fact, the beauty of Pulau Semakau is that it is probably the only landfill in the world that is a tourist attraction. Just last December, the Prime Minister himself went there and if you go to his Facebook page, you will find some beautiful pictures of that site. So the point is, it can be done, it will be there for the long term and it can be beautiful at the same time.

Our recycling rate in households, to be honest, is still not good enough. In fact, in survey after survey, people have said they want to recycle but for some reason, this is not translated into practice. We will continue to make recycling facilities more convenient for households by enhancing recycling infrastructure in neighbourhoods. In some new HDB flats, we have even tried to pilot projects with dual-refuse and recycling chutes in order to make it more convenient, and some early data shows that this perhaps may increase recycling rates.

Compulsory for large hotels, malls to report waste data [News]

March 7, 2012 by  
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By Grace Chua, The Straits Times, 7 Mar 2012.

In a bid to cut waste and boost recycling, the Government is making it compulsory for large hotels and shopping malls to report how much waste they generate and their targets for reducing and recycling it.

Only hotels with more than 200 rooms and malls with net rental areas of more than 50,000 sq ft will have to do it.

In all, about 100 hotels and 74 malls will be affected by the measure, which will be introduced in 2014.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced the move on Tuesday.

Elaborating on it later, a National Environment Agency (NEA) spokesman said the outcome of the new measure would help decide whether it will be extended to ‘other commercial and industrial premises’.

Hotels and malls can generate more than 1,000kg of waste a day, while their recycling rate can be as low as 10 per cent or even less, said the spokesman.

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