I am back from a week-long Singapore business trip – compliments of specialty chemical company Lanxess, and found interesting green (or lack thereof) tidbits about this tiny 270 sq. mile city-island with exploding population of 4.68 million.
- Small plastic shopping bags abound…and yet nothing can be seen littering on the streets
- With the heat and humidity, I thought the lovely Singapore folks would carry plastic bottled water with them all the time. However, they prefer to linger and have their drinks in air conditioned coffee shops, restaurants and malls located in every corner of every block in the city.
- In the hotel I stayed, they like to leave the TV on ALL THE TIME. This might not be true in all hotels so it needs more research.
- Water is expensive, according to several friends who live in Singapore, and they have to ration their everyday consumption. Drinking from tap water is very much encouraged although the citizens prefer to buy their fruity drinks from various hawker stands.
- Owning and driving a private vehicle, even a scooter, is is highly discouraged by the government, hence the high taxes for vehicle ownership. Very expensive tolls are also implemented during rush hours. Public transportations such as their MRT network (subway rails), buses, and taxis seem to be very efficient, in my opinion. I was able to get around the city with no problem at all.
- Land is scarce and so more than 85% of Singaporeans live in public high rise apartments.
- Again, despite the scarcity in land, Singapore’s Jurong Island continues to be a growing home for several chemical manufacturers around the world. The country’s Economic Development Board (EDB) says the island has a world-class waste management processing and safety procedures.
Spending a few days is not enough to delve more about Singaporean’s green consciousness but the government is definitely into climate change with several plans to be initiated according to this press release.
I am impressed by this country’s efficiency and discipline, and in my opinion, should be a model to other developing and modern nations.