MSE Committee of Supply 2022 Press Release
BUILDING OUR CITY OF GREEN POSSIBILITIES
Everyone can play a part in building a resilient and sustainable nation
7 MARCH 2022 – During the Committee of Supply debates on 7 March 2022, Minister Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State Dr Amy Khor and Minister of State Desmond Tan spoke on the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment's key initiatives to accelerate Singapore's journey to becoming more climate-resilient, sustainable and resource-efficient.
2 As a small, island city-state with no natural resources and limited land, climate change is an existential challenge for Singapore, with potential impact such as sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and disruptions to global flow of resources. All these point to an urgent need for Singapore to pursue a green transition and build a more resilient and sustainable nation.
Adapting to evolving challenges of climate change
Shoring up coastal protection
3 To protect Singapore from the threat of sea-level rise, PUB, the national coastal protection agency, has set out to implement coastal adaptation measures in phases. Site-specific studies at the City-East coastlines began in May 2021, and studies for Jurong Island and the North-west Coast by JTC and PUB respectively will commence this year. These studies will explore possible measures to protect our coastlines, such as the use of polders, seawalls and nature-based elements like planting mangroves. Where feasible, the measures will be designed to enhance our living environment. (See Annex A for media release.)
Closing our resource loops
4 Singapore has adopted a circular economy approach to reduce waste, maximise the value of resources and strengthen our resource resilience. In line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030's goal of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and encouraging sustainable habits, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will be implementing a minimum charge for disposable carrier bags at supermarkets. This comes after extensive consultations with the industry and the public. (See Annex B for media release.)
Strengthening Resilience of Food Supply and Safety
5 The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is committed to building our agri-food sector's capacity and capability to produce enough local produce to meet 30 per cent of our nutritional needs. To build R&D capability and incentivise investment into technology and farming systems, the $60 million Agri-Food Cluster Transformation (ACT) Fund, which was established in 2021, will be enhanced to offer higher co-funding quantum for a wider range of food types such as fruited vegetables, mushrooms, and shrimp. New land tenders will also be launched on 20+10-year leases from end 2022 to provide businesses with certainty and facilitate long-term planning and investments.
6 The local aquaculture sector continues to play an important role in strengthening Singapore's food security. To further uplift the sector, SFA will progressively launch new sea space tenders in the Southern Waters and East Johor Strait from end 2022. These spaces will also have a 20+10-year lease duration. As part of the transition to leases, temporary occupation licences (TOL) will be introduced for existing farms. These moves will provide sea-based farmers with greater certainty to make longer-term investments. Support will be provided to help farmers make better investments, to transform into highly productive, climate-resilient, and resource-efficient farms.
7 Most sea-based farmers will also see a substantial reduction in their annual fish farm licence fee after SFA's reviewto ensure compliance costs incurred by farms are minimised and relevant. (See Annex C for media release.)
Safeguarding our public health
8 Beyond the impact of climate change, COVID-19 has exacerbated the need to maintain high levels of public cleanliness and hygiene, and personal hygiene. This is even more so as we transit into a COVID-19 resilient nation. We will continue our efforts to uphold standards of hygiene and cleanliness at higher-risk premises by extending the environmental sanitation regime to cover more premises with high footfall or vulnerable occupants. (See Annex D for media release.)
9 Since February 2020, NEA's wastewater surveillance has supported Singapore's COVID-19 response through several waves of infection. The surveillance provides us with an indication of transmission and prevailing infection rates. NEA will continue to scale its wastewater surveillance programme and contribute to Singapore's management of COVID-19, and other potential infectious diseases in future. (See Annex E for factsheet.)
10 To promote a smoke-free lifestyle in Singapore and reduce the exposure to harmful tobacco smoke, NEA, NParks, PUB and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) will be extending the smoking prohibition to more recreational sites, including all remaining parks and gardens, Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) sites and 10 recreational beaches. (See Annex F for media release.)
Safeguarding our hawker culture
11 To ensure that future generations can enjoy hawker food and hawker culture, MSE and NEA will continue to introduce initiatives and measures which support our hawkers and sustain the hawker trade. MSE and NEA are looking into enhancing hawker centres as a key social infrastructure and a feature of Singapore's urban landscape.To complement existing programmes to encourage new entrants into the hawker trade, NEA has introduced the Hawkers Succession Scheme to provide an assisted pathway for aspiring hawkers to operate a hawker business with established clientele and hawker food recipes that have been refined over the years. NEA has convened an independent advisory panel consisting of hawkers, culinary chefs, training partner and hawker centre operator.
12 This year, NEA will be working with stakeholders to jointly develop the scope of works and infrastructural improvements to be implemented at selected existing hawker centres under the Hawker Centres Transformation Programme.
13 In addition, another new hawker centre will be built in Tampines Town.
Everyone has a part to play
14 We have come a long way in our sustainable development journey and fight against COVID-19. This was made possible through the support of Singaporeans and partners. Together, we can build our city of green possibilities, for a sustainable future.