At first glance everything seems super clean here. Singapore seems to do a lot for the environment and also the locals are encouraged to avoid plastic for example. But does this happen in practice?
It’s hard to say. Personally, I think it’s still a bit too much of an “alibi” environmental awareness. You’ll notice that at the latest when you’re standing at the cashier with your shopping bag. Even in a market that is heavily frequented by foreigners, the employees always react a little irritated. And if you look around, you will discover very few with their own bags. The plastic bags are omnipresent and nobody thinks about the waste. The same with packaging for fruit and vegetables…
At the latest when you are at the beach, you can see the problem. First of all, all the tankers waiting for clearance or cargo and of course running their engines.
And if the city’s employees don’t work fast enough, then it’s obvious what make the seas around the world sick. Sure, it’s not the fault of the people here alone, but when they surf or swim in the garbage water, I wonder what kind of people these are… On the weekends also not to be overlooked, are the enormous quantities of plastic garbage, which the people drag here to celebrate and grill.
And how can you walk here without noticing it? How can that not bother you? I have no idea!
In Singapore there are severe penalties when garbage is thrown onto the streets. This costs around 200 euros for the first offence. There is no regulation for household waste. Here, they relies on the understanding of the locals. Only, the locals has usually little idea of garbage separation. If you walk through the backyards where there are small Shops and Hawker Centers, it quickly becomes clear that cleanliness is relative in Singapore. Paper, carton, glass and plastic bottles. That is in principle everything according to which here is sorted.
Officially Singapore wants to reduce, reuse and recycle the garbage. About 56% is recycled daily and that is more than half and better than nothing. But in view of 17,000 tons of garbage per day…???
Why not avoid more plastic? When I order a coffee from Starbucks and say “for here”, it’s still not uncommon for me to get a plastic cup. And the incentive of a cost saving of 0.50 SGD if I bring my own cup is very small (the smallest cup of cappuccino cost 6 SGD) and so there are few who do this. Less plastic in Food-to-Go and double and triple overpacks in food, don’t have to be. I’m not a garbage or environmental expert, but would it be an alternative to sell water and other drinks like Coke in tetrapacks instead of plastic bottles? Straws and plastic cutlery would not have to be there either. But all this only works if the population demands it, and they can only do that if they are informed.
It looks like they’re starting now (find at the National Museum Singapore).
However, it’s now the cleanest city in Asia and can compete with European cities or even outbid them. But they must be careful that they can still hold their position in the future.