Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sustainable Singapore

Last month I visited Singapore while going for vacation in Australia. It is well famous that Singapore is very beautiful lush green city & is a model for new developments. We all know Singapore as "fine city", where there are many strict policies & rules about things & actions inside Singapore which resulted in a clean, properly maintained & functioned example of systematic urban planning.

But when we touched the Changi airport, what strike me most about Singapore, was there sustainable policies & implementation.
You can easily find recycling stations or recycles anywhere in Singapore in place of garbage bins. All those recyclers are not name sake but are properly classified & dedicated for papers, metal, glass, plastic etc everywhere. Around 45% of waste generated in Singapore is recycled at the moment. They produce power in recycling stations as well. The use of recycled material in construction is in common practice in Singapore, when the world is hailing for this requirements for new green buildings!
The MRT metro system is fantastically connected throughout the city & with other transport means, so no wonder people use this public transport as their regular transport, they don't need to have cars to stay in Singapore!
I was impressed by the fantastic system of reusing the MRT tickets. If you buy a single time MRT ticket, you also pay 1$ deposit at pay machine in addition to fair. After you reach your destination, you can put the ticket back in ticket machine & get your 1$ deposit back. So that the MRT ticket is getting reused. Isn't it amazing! I was happy to see one govt. practically care for saving & recycling resources! It is definitely the most sustainable transport system in Asia.
Singapore is proof of 'planning is key to sustainability'. Being a very small country area wise, they do not have enough natural resources. The power is generated on natural gas imported from Malaysia, the lack of enough natural source of drinking water & very small land area are the challenges in front of govt. for not only to make it sustainable city but also to survive self sufficiently.
But in Singapore they are already taking actions to be more self-sufficient & sustainable than any other city. The water is recycled to get ultra clean, high quality "new water" out of it. The 50% area covers already existing water catchment area & they are planning to increase water catchment area more to fulfill Singpore's water needs. Singapore is already investing in solar technology to make it more cost effective & to use it on large scale in future. The long-term plan of Sustainable Singapore 2050 & short-term Singapore Green plan 2012 include many practical sustainable projects like Sun City project to use solar technology, Deep Tunnel Sewerage System to recycle all of the used water , electric vehicles & recharging stations for electric vehicles in infrastructure.

Co incidentally when we were there, the same time World green building council conference was taking place in Singapore. We felt this place deserves to host such world class conferences while educating & displaying visitors a very good example of sustainability within there city.
But most importantly, the Singapore govt only is not taking steps ahead towards sustainability but also the people of Singapore are taking part in it. It is pleasant to see many people walking, cycling on busy roads in temp around 28 degrees. People do recycling of their domestic waste voluntarily.
Just one incident to share with you inline with this. When we were looking for a good restaurant to feast on famous Singaporean Chili Crab, while walking we were about to pass a man who was giving away some brochers outside a shopping complex. My friend who is residing in Singapore told me to ignore that man & walk straight ahead so that we woudn't take that paper (which was of no use to us) instead of taking it & keeping it with us till we find the next paper recycling bin. Suddenly I realised how the green habits are developed in residents in Singapore just by implementing right things in infrastructure!

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