Two key areas to reduce waste

Singapore has designated this year as its Year of Climate Action.

The announcement of plans to implement various regulatory initiatives to help our country reduce its carbon emissions is commendable (Putting price on carbon in timely way; Feb 28).

But I believe we can do more.

There are two key areas where we can do a lot better.

First, is the indiscriminate use of plastic bags and styrofoam containers.

Sadly, I do not see much effort to educate the masses on this issue.

If we put our hearts and minds to it, I am convinced we will see a significant decline in the amount of plastic waste we generate.

Second, the tearing down of buildings that have several more years of life in them, through collective sales.

We cause a huge negative impact on the environment when we do this. This does not just create a pile of concrete waste, but also consigns a huge amount of plastic, wood, metal and glass to the bin.

Then, in the process of reconstruction, we place a huge demand on the earth's limited resources for the sand and raw materials that go into the new infrastructure.

The factories that churn out the materials also contribute to increased carbon emissions.

If I had to choose between making a huge monetary profit through a collective sale and giving future generations a better and more sustainable world to live in, I would choose the latter with no hesitation.

Let us resolve to do two things this year - say no to plastic, and say no to tearing down liveable buildings through collective sales.

This will show that we are really serious about making this year the Year of Climate Action.

Babu Narayanswamy (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2018, with the headline 'Two key areas to reduce waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe