(EnergyAsia, October 14 2011, Friday) — The Singapore government will work towards enhancing the country’s energy efficiency, reducing waste and dealing with climate change issues as part of its long-term goal of creating a sustainable and clean society.

The pledge, which described Singapore’s high quality environment as a source of competitive advantage, was made by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) in its addendum to the President’s Address in opening Parliament this week.

“Looking ahead, to improve our resilience and responsiveness to a changing landscape, we will enhance resource efficiency, improve infrastructure, strengthen capabilities, elevate standards and empower the community,” it said.

In enhancing resource efficiency, the ministry described the “strategic imperative” of using energy, water and materials more efficiently to both reduce pollution and bolster Singapore’s economic resilience.

Energy efficiency is one of the government’s key strategies to achieve environmental sustainability, energy security and economic competitiveness.

For the industry sector, the ministry will implement the Energy Conservation Act in 2013. Large energy users will be required to formulate energy efficiency improvement plans, appoint energy managers and to submit energy consumption data.

“We must also extract greater value from waste as a resource. We will encourage businesses and households to optimise resource management by promoting new recycling initiatives and incentivising businesses to minimise waste. We are also undertaking a comprehensive review of our public waste collection system to encourage recycling and waste reduction, while continuing to ensure good service standards and affordability of disposal fees.”

The ministry said it will continue to invest in infrastructure to ensure a safe and vibrant living environment.

Referring to last year’s disastrous floods which struck several parts of the county, it said:

“We take a serious view of flooding and will make all necessary efforts to alleviate future incidents. With the help of a panel of local and overseas experts, the ministry is conducting an in-depth review of all flood protection measures that will be implemented in Singapore over the next decade. In the meantime, we are continuing to enhance the drainage system and working with the public to ensure adequate flood protection for their properties.”

On climate issues, the ministry said it will “build capabilities”.

Working with the National Climate Change Secretariat, the ministry and its partner agencies will work towards enhancing Singapore’s resilience against the potential impacts of climate change.

It said: “Based on preliminary studies, we will need to raise minimum levels for land reclamation by at least 1m to create an adequate buffer against a potential rise in sea level.

“However, achieving resilience is not a once-off effort. Climate science is dynamic and climate conditions in our region are challenging to forecast. To improve our understanding of future localised climatic conditions, we will develop capabilities in climate science and modelling within the Government. We will also form networks with relevant experts and institutions at the forefront of climate research.”

The ministry said it will also focus on improving public hygiene and cleanliness, and will aim to empower the community to raise environmental standards.

“Sustaining a quality living environment relies on more than tighter standards and infrastructure improvements — ultimately it is people who make a city sustainable.

“We will explore how we can develop a more robust framework for environmental reporting by businesses and make environmental information more open to the public. We will consult more closely with the public on our policies, by developing more channels of communication. We will also continue to encourage good work by the community through our annual campaigns, cultivating strong environmental advocates and working closely with 3P (People, Private, Public) stakeholders to nurture environmentally-consciousness in our citizens.”