Forum: Ingrain sustainability culture during national service

Perhaps there is an opportunity to rope in those serving national service to contribute to the national endeavour to reduce disposable waste in Singapore (Workgroup proposes fee for those who want 3 or more plastic bags, Jan 17).

NS offers a great opportunity to speed up the country's sustainability efforts because of its sheer scale. No other organisation can better impose that kind of discipline needed to make sustainability a habit. In time, a critical mass of people would be developed to tip the scale towards a greener nation.

Full-time national servicemen can be roped into the recycle, reduce and reuse efforts.

Plastic bags or boxes that the enlistment kits and extra equipment come in can be recycled. How about placing recycling bins in more places, and give the boys (and parents via e-pamphlets) simple instructions to recycle these?

The uniforms, boots, shoes and other equipment, other than those needed for in-camp training, are usually stored for years before being discarded. Why not set up collection points and sort the items for cleaning, donation, recycling or resale at a nominal fee?

Inside camps, compost facilities could be set up for food waste, electric vehicles could replace non-electric ones and renewable energy could be tapped for experimental use.

Every unit could adopt a park for cleaning, planting trees and engaging the community.

While the key purpose of NS remains to teach our boys to protect the country, sustainability of the environment is also critical to our long-term survival.

The right behaviour needs to be embedded in our lives, so why not start during NS?

How Ti-Hwei