Singapore should step up environmentally friendly efforts

Singapore needs a nationwide effort to show that we are serious about environmental change.

As a metropolitan country without local crops or a diverse population of animals, Singaporeans naturally feel detached from the idea of "real" climate change.

We hear of winters getting shorter, droughts lasting longer, crops not harvesting well and the endangerment of animals, but we don't experience it.

However, in the age of the Internet where information is just a click away, we simply have no excuse to be ignorant.

Being an affluent and fast-moving nation, we have come to value convenience over all else.

Many food centres still give out plastic packaging and utensils to reduce the number of items to be washed.

On our phones, cheap private-hire rides are just a few scrolls away - never mind the carbon emissions.

In supermarkets, pristine, bruise-free fruits are packed in plastic to create the idea of cleanliness and premium quality.

Sadly, this culture of cleanliness has led to the idea that imperfect foods not in plastic packaging are "unclean".

It has been seven years since Penang implemented its "No Plastic Bags" programme.

We trail shockingly behind.

If Singaporeans are made to pay for their carbon footprint, we will think twice about polluting the environment.

Singaporeans should also be shown the impact and consequences of plastic waste and pollution.

We should not worry about upsetting people with real images.

Change is difficult, and many will complain about it, but our children will thank us for doing our part in protecting their future.

We need to put the environment and our future above mere convenience.

Tan Shu Shu Ethel (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore should step up environmentally friendly efforts'. Print Edition | Subscribe