Nee Soon South sets up two more reusable bag stations to reduce waste

The reusable bag sharing stations are placed at the Sheng Siong and FairPrice supermarkets at Khatib Central. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - While Singapore has not imposed a charge for single-use plastic bags, Nee Soon South constituency on Sunday (May 5) took another step towards encouraging the use of reusable bags.

It launched two more reusable bag sharing stations, placed at the Sheng Siong and FairPrice supermarkets at Khatib Central.

Anyone who requires the bags can take one, and they are encouraged to return them for the next user.

Since April last year, reusable bag sharing stations have been set up at the eight residents' committees in the district and at Nee Soon South Community Club.

Mr Ng Hak Hai, chairman of the Nee Soon South Clean and Green Committee, said: "We decided to put these stations near supermarkets, as that's where a lot of plastic bags are used."

Mr Ng, a product manager in a semiconductor company, 57, added that there are plans to extend this initiative to other supermarkets.

Ms Lee Bee Wah, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, said she hopes the initiative will encourage residents to leave their extra bags for others to use.

"Instead of waiting for legislation, we wanted to do something from the ground-up. We want to build the environmental awareness of our residents and change their habits, starting right from their daily supermarket trip and kopi (coffee) time," she said.

In October last year, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng suggested in an adjournment motion in Parliament that a charge be imposed on single-use carrier bags of all materials.

In response, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said that the ministry believes it is more practicable and sustainable to take a long-term approach to educate Singaporeans on sustainability.

On Sunday, Nee Soon South also held its annual No Cleaners' Day, where more than 300 residents picked up litter for at least 30 minutes.

They collected a total of 206kg of rubbish. In their first litter-picking day in 2013, 1,430kg of trash was collected. This fell to some 500kg in 2014, and 291kg last year.

The launch of the reusable bag sharing stations and No Cleaners' Day were organised by the Nee Soon South Citizens' Consultative Committee under the People's Association.

Housewife Normala Hussein, 55, who participates in litter-picking activities organised every month, has contributed reusable bags to the stations.

"We use too many plastic bags. This initiative is good for the times when I forget to bring a reusable bag," said Ms Normala, who has lived in Yishun for 19 years.

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