Earth Day: Singaporeans share umbrellas, bring their own water bottles in bid to save environment

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah addressing residents while holding an umbrella from an umbrella-sharing initiative as part of an Earth Day event on April 22, 2018.
Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah addressing residents while holding an umbrella from an umbrella-sharing initiative as part of an Earth Day event on April 22, 2018.PHOTO: NEE SOON SOUTH CLEAN AND GREEN COMMITTEE

SINGAPORE - Picking up an umbrella on one side of the road to provide cover from rain or the sun, and then returning it on the other side, may seem like a mundane task for most people.

But an initiative that involves the sharing of umbrellas is encouraging Nee Soon South residents to get around the estate to walk, instead of taking a car, in a bid reduce their carbon footprint.

The move was launched by Ms Lee Bee Wah, MP for Nee Soon GRC, during a litter-picking exercise as part of Earth Day activities on Sunday (Apr 22).

The initiative is among a series of activities that took place over the weekend to mark Earth Day, which is observed on April 22, to raise awareness of environmental issues.

The umbrella-sharing initiative encourages residents to do their part to save the earth, said Ms Lee. "It is also cheaper and healthier."

She added that "walking and taking the public transport reduce air pollution and emissions", which slows down global warming and helps to preserve our environment.

Several events elsewhere in Singapore also focused on getting people to play a part in saving the environment.

These include pupils planting trees, and hotels encouraging guests to reuse towels and linen as well as rallying staff to carpool on their way to work.

On Saturday (Apr 21), Keppel Land and Keppel Reit Management, both subsidiaries of conglomerate Keppel Corporation, organised a public screening of A Plastic Ocean at the Singapore Botanic Gardens to raise awareness on the urgent challenge of climate change.

The documentary, shot at more than 20 locations over four years, reveals the consequences of plastic pollution.

At the screening, individuals submitted an online pledge to do their part to combat climate change.

Some also brought their own bottles and used the water dispensers provided on-site instead of purchasing plastic bottled drinks. Carpets made from recycled materials, such as discarded fishing nets, were also provided as substitutes for plastic mats for the audience to sit on.

At the event, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, said that while Singapore has taken steps - from developing measures to clean up waterways to putting in place an integrated waste management and collection system - involvement from individuals and organisations is needed to tackle environmental issues.

"Government efforts alone can neither curb excessive plastic usage nor ensure that our waters are free from plastics," she added.

"We need to work together to bring about a plastic-free ocean, and address the larger issue of climate change."