YOU don't need to live like a hermit to be green.
Granted that every flick of a switch or a spin in your car will contribute to pollution, greenhouse gases and global warming. But it's easy to be environmentally friendly too – recycle this newspaper that you're reading, turn the tap off when you're soaping in the shower or switch off the light when you don't need it.
Small gestures like these can contribute to a better quality of life.
Many of us may already be unconsciously doing our bit for the environment, but more can be done to ensure that our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy a good quality environment.
Some 3,000 Singaporeans have already made themselves heard in the Singapore Green Plan 2012 (SGP2012), our national blueprint towards ensuring a good quality environment for future generations. You too can make a difference. We tell you how on this and the following page.
What is the Singapore Green Plan 2012?
It's a 10-year blueprint, spearheaded by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), that reminds us to live green, choose green and stay green. It focuses on six key areas – clean air, clean water, waste management, conserving nature, public health and international environmental relations.
Every three years, a review of the plan is carried out by MEWR to ensure that we are on track and to revisit current targets and programmes if necessary. The review aims to reach out to Singaporeans from all walks of life and will include in-depth discussions with various groups of people, including professionals, interest groups, grassroots leaders, industrialists, businessmen and academics.
What can I do?
"Will my effort as an individual really matter?" you may ask. Yes, it does. It could be as effortless as taking shorter showers. But every minute less means 9 litres of water saved!
So, the environment is, in fact, everyone's business, and SGP2012 aims to reflect the voice and will of all Singaporeans.
You can share your views at Our Environment Story: Singapore Green Plan 2012 Exhibition (see box), or through the website www.mewr.gov.sg/sgp2012/
What can companies do?
Companies too can play their part in the green plan. One of the first to get in on the act was HSBC, whose Care For Nature Programme is an ongoing initiative to promote nature and environmental awareness in Singapore.
The programme, launched in 1989, also aims to generate action among the public, to do their part to conserve and protect our natural resources.
Said Mr Goh Kong Aik, vice president, public affairs, HSBC Singapore: "We believe that everyone has a responsibility, both individually and collectively, to care for and protect our environment. We are glad that our environmental outreach programmes… are helping to bring more people closer to the beauty and rich biodiversity of our natural environment."
He added: "HSBC's focus on caring for nature is a very clear and simple one: take care of nature, lest we diminish nature's ability to take care of us."
The good news
Our first green plan was done in 1992 and reviewed in 2002. The revised green plan, SGP2012, was released in August 2002. Since then, we have made good progress and are on track to meeting many of our targets.
For example, we targeted to have 25 per cent of Singapore's water supply met by non-conventional sources. In just three years, we have already achieved 12 per cent.
In fact, we have exceeded our earlier projections in certain areas. We have already achieved 69 per cent of Singapore's electricity needs through the use of natural gas, higher than the 60 per cent target that was set.
However, there are areas where we will have to do more in order to reach our target for 2012. Our target recycling rate is 60 per cent and we have done well so far to attain a 48 per cent recycling rate, but we will need to intensify our efforts and get more people on board.
Our Environment Story: Singapore Green Plan 2012 Exhibition
Check out what you can do for a better lifestyle and a better environment at this exhibition, which will be held form tomorrow (Oct 29) to Nov 4, 9am to 9pm at the National Library's Events Plaza at Victoria Street.
Part of the SGP 2012's triennial review from April to December 2005, it will also feature 38 Singaporeans sharing their views on why we should care about our environment and what they are doing about it.
After its run at the National Library, the exhibition will be held at the Singapore Science Centre from Nov 8 to 19; HDB Hub Mall at Toa Payoh Town Centre from Nov 21 to 27 and Jurong Regional Library from Nov 29 to Dec 4.
Highlights of the exhibition are also available at www.mewr.gov.sg/sgp2012/.
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This year's Care-for-Nature Stamp Series features the HSBC TreeTop Walk. See the HSBC webpage.