Sowing seeds of a green culture

Mr Veerappan wants to teach people that their old items can be repaired, and that there's no need to throw away items that still have use.
Mr Veerappan wants to teach people that their old items can be repaired, and that there's no need to throw away items that still have use.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Workshops, water conservation campaigns and a platform for youth to fight climate change are among the initiatives that won recognition at this year's EcoFriend Awards.

Mr Veerappan Swaminathan, 30, one of the award winners, conducts upcycling (the reuse of discarded objects or material) and environmental education workshops on converting bulk waste material into useful products.

He is the founder of Repair Kopitiam - informal workshops held at community spaces around Singapore, where trained volunteers help residents to combat the buy-and-throw-away culture.

"I wanted to teach people that their old items could be repaired, and that there's no need to throw away items that still have use," said Mr Veerappan, who is the co-founder and director of social enterprise Sustainable Living Lab.

Conferred by the National Environment Agency, the awards aim to recognise individuals for their sustained environmental efforts that have contributed to Singapore's clean and green environment.

There were 324 nominees for this year's awards - 37 per cent more than the previous year, and the highest number since the awards started in 2007.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, who was at the event on Tuesday, emphasised the importance of a clean living environment, and linked the long-term success of Singapore to our environment sustainability efforts.

"It is heartening to see more individuals stepping up and doing their part for the environment," he said.

Rachel Oh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2016, with the headline 'Sowing seeds of a green culture'. Print Edition | Subscribe