Big events must make bigger effort to recycle

Although grassroots initiatives and national programmes have been in place to encourage people to recycle, more has to be done with regard to recycling at large-scale events.

As an event planner, I often find that even though rubbish bins are available at events, recycling bins are not.

This is disappointing, as many events tend to cater to a huge number of people - many bottles of water are given out, which go straight into the bin.

I urge the National Environment Agency (NEA) to encourage or even require organisers of events, including sporting events, weddings and funerals, to have measures in place for recycling.

We can start with the National Day Parade and events held in our community centres.

I also find that in many malls and office buildings, the recycling bins are tucked away in a corner and hardly used.

The blue recycling bins in many Housing Board estates are also underutilised.

Imposing penalties for not recycling has been effective in encouraging these efforts. In San Francisco, citizens, building owners and businesses that do not separate their rubbish and recycling and compost materials are fined. Every event in the city is required to offer recycling and composting options.

The NEA says Singapore is on track to reach the household recycling target of 30 per cent by 2030.

However, according to Zero Waste SG, the amount of waste disposed in Singapore has increased by seven times over the last 45 years.

More has to be done by both citizens and the Government.

The Pulau Semakau landfill will last us only until 2035. We have to start giving recycling the weight it commands.

Jane Alethea Seet (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline 'Big events must make bigger effort to recycle'. Print Edition | Subscribe