Sustainable Development Comes to the Aid of the Party

Sustainable Development Comes to the Aid of the Party

The People’s Action Party was returned to Government in Singapore with a comprehensive majority, and will continue its on-going commitment to manage the environment, energy, water and waste. On 24/25 May, the first National Energy Efficiency Conference takes place. But in one of the most keenly contested elections ever, the opposition Workers Party succeeded in getting six of its number elected as MPs and also put forward, for the first time, a sustainable development manifesto for the nation.

Sustain Ability Showcase Asia is an acknowledged supporter of the first National Energy Efficiency Conference in Singapore. One of the visiting speakers is David Solsky, CEO of Carbon Systems. For more information on the Conference, go to:

This summary of the Workers Party policy paper first appeared on the Olive Ventures website (29 April 2011):


The scarcity of land and resources in Singapore makes sustainability a top priority. While economic development is important, it should not overshadow the importance of environmental sustainability. A sustainable environment is essential to economic growth. Singapore’s economic development has taken a toll on our natural resources and created pollutants in our environment in the process. We are rapidly losing our natural heritage as a result of urbanization and rapid development. While we are mindful of the scarcity of land in Singapore for housing and economic development, we must balance the needs of urban development and preserving nature. Ecological awareness to protect and preserve our biodiversity is low in Singapore. Recycling is not yet a way of life in Singapore. Increasing recycling rates is key in extending the lifespan of our landfills.

Noise pollution is often a problem in Singapore. We should be mindful to ensure a ‘civic and gracious’ social environment. Climate change is a reality, and extreme changes in the weather can be expected in future. We should be ready to react to sudden changes in the environment. Most of Singapore’s food today is imported. There is little certainty that food supplies can be sustained through prolonged periods of emergency.

Our Beliefs

1. We should encourage research and implementation of the use of sustainable energy and related products.

2. Commercial users should be incentivised to conserve energy and water.

3. Corporations should be encouraged to exercise corporate social responsibility to protect the environment.

4. A rich ecosystem is necessary for a quality environment, and it is the responsibility of the government and our people to protect our natural heritage.

5. The government must educate and encourage greater awareness of indigenous flora and fauna, as well as marine life.

6. Natural habitats like the marshland habitats, mangrove swamps and coral reefs, marine animals and wild birds must be protected for our future generations.

7. A clean and healthy environment is also essential to ensure the physical wellbeing of our people. We need to do more to motivate every individual to take up environmental ownership and to care for the environment as a way of life.

8. The culture of recycling should be imbued from young.

9. There should be a more holistic approach to deal with noise pollution.

10. We have to explore ways to increase our self-sufficiency in food supplies.

11. We need to be prepared for extreme weather changes. Contingency plans should be drawn up according to various possible scenarios.

12. We require sustainable energy to ensure water sustainability for the country via technologies like NEWater. Energy costs should also be reined in; otherwise water costs will increase in tandem.

13. Budget should be provided for research into solar power usage for water reclamation plants. A possible investment in offshore water catchments and processing plants should be studied.

Our Proposals

1. Natural habitats with ecological and educational value should be gazetted as permanent natural reserves.

2. We need to strive for more regional cooperation to contain environmental hazards such as forest fires or chemical leaks so as not to affect air quality.

3. Plans for projects likely to adversely affect the natural environment should be accompanied by Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) and mitigation plans before they are approved. This is especially important in the case of the feasibility study on nuclear power use in Singapore. Radiation monitoring capabilities should also be strengthened in view of this.

4. More programmes should be implemented to encourage local farming. We should explore vertical farming or high-rise farming technology to offset the problem of limited land for food production. We should also further diversify our food sources to enhance our food security.

5. As an equatorial country, we should explore alternative ways such as fuel cell and solar energy to mitigate the worldwide shortage of natural gases and fossil fuel. This has potential to create maintenance and engineering jobs and reduce expenditure on raw energy resources. We could also export our knowledge and products based on fuel cell and solar technology.

6. Green vehicle adoption should be encouraged via price incentives and improved refuelling infrastructure support.

7. We can provide tax relief and incentives for companies to encourage innovative ways to recycle waste and increase energy conservation.

8. “Social noise pollution” such as karaoke sessions at home, dog barks and children playing at common areas disturbs the comfort of others. We should cultivate civic awareness to prevent such noise pollution in a high-density living environment.

9. A comprehensive approach including a legal framework and a centralised agency to regulate noise pollution should be set up.

10. Noise meters should be installed around potential noise pollution ‘hot-spots’, including MRT/LRT rails and roads to ensure noise levels remain within the legal limits.

11. A dispute resolution mechanism should be set up at the Community Development Council level for greater accessibility.

12. A Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) should be performed to understand the risk posed to Singapore by climate change. Adaptation policies should be communicated to citizens. As part of this, a task force needs to perform scenario planning for adverse and extreme weather changes. Contingency plans should be drawn up in response to these scenarios.


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