Challenges of the ‘World’s Cleanest Country’ Singapore

Singapore´s streets, beaches, parks and city areas today are the cleanest in the world. The island country is taking part of the World Cleanup Day because it is a good opportunity to raise awareness about over production and over consumption and educate people being more responsible in their desicisions and behaviour. Although today Singapore is […]

Singapore´s streets, beaches, parks and city areas today are the cleanest in the world. The island country is taking part of the World Cleanup Day because it is a good opportunity to raise awareness about over production and over consumption and educate people being more responsible in their desicisions and behaviour.

Although today Singapore is one of the cleanest countries in the world, in the early 1960s it was one of the world’s filthiest cities. It was the President Lee who drove Singapore to cleanliness, through very strict laws and fines at that time. Today it’s hard to find any waste in Singapore and it is one of the greenest cities to travel by car, MRT and bus. Trees are everywhere, parks are connected to each other in a smart system, there are green bridges, high rise buildings are full of bushes and trees, the highways are blooming and much more. It’s the fulfilment of a vision of a clean green society.

820 Million Plastic Bags

People in Singapore take it for granted, that it is and will always be a clean city, because government has taken a good care of cleaning the city and keeping it clean. So, they don’t think very much about “keep it in the loop….”, consumption patterns, recycling, landfill, incineration and end of life for a product. Out of sight is also out of mind, if you have such an efficient system like Singapore has. The effect is that people stop thinking about waste and plastic problem, because “wherever I look it’s clean!”.

In a recent survey of more than 1,000 people online, it was found that people in Singapore take 820 million plastic bags yearly from supermarkets. Only 2 per cent of these supermarket plastic bags were recycled by consumers. This is just one plastic product and it gives a hint of the huge problems that are around the corner, because Singapore is a super big “plastic-user”. Altogether Singapore goes through 1,76 billion plastic items a year, but less than 20 per cent is recyled, according to the survey.

Singapore Environment Council (SEC) executive director Jen Teo said: “SEC is calling on every individual in Singapore to use one less plastic item per day. We intend to encourage shoppers to use not more than two plastic bags per trip.” The SEC also plans to launch a campaign to educate the public to use fewer plastic items, and will work with partners such NTUC FairPrice and Coca-Cola.

Every one of us can downsize the using of plastic

The best way for Singapore and the rest of the world to fight the plastic problem, is to downsize your own consumption and using of it. The National University Singapore (NUS) is the base for this together with government support and PCS. PCS is a movement based in Singapore that hopes to spread the thoughts and actions of clean environment to the world through education programs and taking action. Wendy, Lim (Weijie), Yixin, Violet, Sze Waiy, Weilin and Chun Hui “Shinki” Suen compose the core team for bringing awareness and the World Cleanup Day to Singapore.

“Since the third industrial revolution, our world is living in a time of overdrive – production and consumption overdrive whether in material things or even in arts and culture. This indiscriminate and unfiltered production ultimately creates environments which are over-cluttered and in essence, filled with trash. We look no further to landfills and the internet to have a basic understanding of the trash our modern world has knowingly or unknowingly produced. The current situation is a product of the advancement of humankind and human work but PCS believes it is within the progressive nature of human beings to champion a world of clean environment in every sense through promoting a culture of clean thoughts and actions for all,” says Chun Hui Suen.