SINGAPORE: The majority of respondents in a new poll support initiatives that encourage people to “Bring Your Own” (BYO) reusable bags and bottles in Singapore, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said on Thursday (Apr 18).
Almost 90 per cent of the 1,300 respondents who took part in an online poll last month are supportive of this, MEWR said. The poll was conducted as part of the final phase of consultations on the inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan.
A majority of respondents also indicated strong support for ideas to make it more convenient to donate excess unexpired food, recycle electrical and electronic equipment, and the designing of recycling information labels on blue recycling bins, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor.
“The survey results are about what people think ought to be done and what they are supportive of,” Dr Khor told reporters on the sidelines of focus group discussions conducted by MEWR.
“We need to see how we can engage the wider population and in fact that’s why we are going beyond just the online consultation, we’re going into focus group discussions and we are putting in efforts to engage different stakeholders.”
The ministry has designated 2019 as Singapore's Year Towards Zero Waste, in a campaign that aims to raise awareness of waste issues and the need to conserve resources.
Participants in the poll were posed four questions and asked for views on ways to reduce waste and help households recycle right.
Of those who responded, 85 per cent were under the age of 45, said MEWR.
“To me, it bodes well because it means our young are aware and concerned of environmental issues and want to do more and want to take action,” said Dr Khor. “The action and decision of our young will have the most impact on ensuring our sustainability in the future.”
MEWR has also been in the process of consulting other stakeholders such as companies, non-governmental organisations and research and educational institutions for the master plan, it said. Last year alone, the National Environment Agency consulted more than 250 companies.
“What we need to do is to reflect on how we can better reduce, reuse, recycle our precious resources, and as individuals, households, businesses and organisations, look at how we can rethink the way we live, work and play and to adopt this zero waste mindset,” said Dr Khor.
One of those present at the focus group discussions was Mr Ashokan Ramakrishnan, who had also participated in the poll.
“My aim is to find out what’s the plan - to see if there are any inputs I can give to help steer the plan closer to what I think is needed,” he said. “For example, I feel that when it comes to zero waste, a lot of attention is on the consumer end, (but) there are issues around mindsets that need to be addressed.
“We have to find a way to reframe it, to make recycling look sexy.”
The Zero Waste Masterplan will be released later this year.