Care for the environment: Masagos
PUBLISHED ON 06 Mar 2018
As a low-lying island, Singapore is vulnerable to climate change and the Ministry for Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) wants to cultivate a sense of care for the environment among Singaporeans, said Minister Masagos Zulkifli.
“If the previous generation left us a clean and green city, we must make our legacy a sustainable city, as we pass on this treasured and precious land to our children,” he said.
Citing an example of how climate change has an impact on Singapore, Mr Masagos cited the cold spell at the start of 2018. “On 8th January, half the month’s average rainfall fell over four hours in Singapore but little rain fell over Linggiu,” he shared.
As such, Singapore will continue to invest in infrastructure such as raising coastal roads, enhancing storm water systems and diversifying water supply to adapt to climate change.
To safeguard against rising sea levels, over 70 per cent of Singapore’s coastline is protected by hard walls or stone embankments. As an example, Mr Masagos shared that Changi Airport Terminal 5 will be built at 5.5 metres above mean sea level.
“To address Singapore’s long-term protection needs, the Building and Construction Authority is conducting a Coastal Adaptation Study to recommend a national framework,” he added.
However, Mr Masagos pointed out the Government cannot deal with climate change alone. “Everyone needs to join forces to reduce our carbon footprint. This is why Singapore designated 2018 as our Year of Climate Action,” he said. 
Along with climate change, Mr Masagos noted that pest control problems may escalate and urged Singaporeans to do their part by disposing food waste properly at home and by returning trays in hawker centres.
Mr Masagos also noted that a carbon tax will be implemented from 2019 and will encourage companies to switch to more energy efficient technologies and more sustainable processes. 
He said: “We aim to strike a balance between providing sufficient incentive for companies and Singaporeans to reduce their carbon emissions and giving them enough time to adjust. Our carbon tax will be applied uniformly without exemptions.”
Additionally, Mr Masagos shared that his ministry is reviewing how to reduce vehicular pollution from older, more polluting vehicles.
Reiterating Singapore’s support for the United Nations’ stance on climate change, Mr Masagos announced that he lead a delegation in July to undertake Singapore’s first Voluntary Review of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Singapore will also convene a Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action on 10 July 2018.
“As the saying goes, ‘If we are not at the table, we will be on the menu’. To get a seat at the table, we must be credible. This means that Singapore must fulfil our international obligations and show leadership on climate action,” Mr Masagos said.