As Singapore marks 50 years since its first Tree Planting Day, each and every Singaporean can do his or her part to keep the country green and sustainable, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.
"The saplings planted 50 years ago have grown into beautiful trees with broad canopies and deep roots," he said.
"In the same way, the Clean and Green Movement can continue to broaden and deepen in the years ahead."
In a pre-recorded message from Mount Faber where one of Singapore's founding fathers, Dr Goh Keng Swee, planted a raintree at the first Tree Planting Day in 1971, Mr Heng said tree planting has become a cherished national tradition that has evolved and expanded into the annual Clean and Green Singapore movement.
This year's campaign was launched yesterday.
In his speech, Mr Heng outlined how people can keep the country green, reduce waste, and ensure the city remains clean.
He said Singaporeans could keep the country green by taking part in the One Million Trees movement, which aims to plant over a million trees here over the next decade.
They could also partake in the national gardening movement and the National Parks Board's Gardening with Edibles programme, which saw some 460,000 seed packets distributed last year.
To reduce waste, said Mr Heng, Singaporeans should buy only what they need and use their own reusable bags and containers, while recycling regularly and correctly by depositing different materials in the correct bins and ensuring these are free of food contamination.
Businesses can also play their part, such as the 169 partners of the National Environment Agency's Say Yes To Waste Less campaign.
Keeping the city clean is also important.
Mr Heng said the pandemic has taught people the importance of hygiene and cleanliness.
Initiatives to encourage this include the Clean Tables Campaign launched earlier this year to remind diners to return their trays after meals.
During the launch of Clean and Green Singapore (CGS) 2021 at Kampung Admiralty yesterday, Mr Heng presented 16 national awards to grassroots organisations for their efforts in public hygiene, cleanliness, resource conservation and energy efficiency.
He and North West District Mayor Alex Yam also planted a critically endangered Knema curtisii tree. They were joined by National Development Minister Desmond Lee and Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor, who planted a Horsfieldia polyspherula.
The trees are from the nutmeg family.
The event also saw the launch of CGS Experiences, a series of webinars with a live host that will take participants on a virtual tour of sites of significant environmental interest. A total of 20 sessions are available for public booking till March 31 next year.
Mr Heng concluded his speech with a Chinese saying that means trees planted by former generations will provide shade for future generations.
"Much like how young saplings planted in 1971 have flourished into a tree planting movement, what we build today will have a lasting effect for our future generations," he said. "Let us all play our part in building a cleaner and greener Singapore for tomorrow."