A clean and green vision

January 3, 2017

Clean and green are two words that are synonymous with modern, millennial Singapore. When you travel around the city, you can see clean streets punctuated with calming greenery. It can be a bit hard to imagine that the city-state was anything but the vision that we see today. The fact is that it has taken continued efforts from the civic administration and the citizens to transform the island nation to its eye pleasing avatar.  

Singapore River Clean Up 

If you talk a walk around the river front, you will be greeted with clean waters and oxygen-rich air. What you see today presents a contrast to the early years of Singapore’s development. You could say that the Launchpad of the clean and green initiative began with what is today a hub of leisure and entertainment. 

Roll back to the late 60s, and you will see a water body that was dirty, polluted, and unable to sustain any kind of marine life. The situation was so bad that the waters had a black tinge to it, apart from the toxic smells. Determined to restore the Singapore River to its natural state, the civic body began operation clean up.  

There were multiple reasons for the polluted river waters. The authorities decided to eradicate one issue at a time. Their first step was to relocate squatter settlements that contaminated the river with domestic and personal waste matter. Then pig and poultry farms, which are non-existent today, were told to shut shop because they dumped untreated sewage directly into the river.  

The third step was perhaps one of the most difficult as it involved dealing with an industry that had historical significance – the lighterage industry.  

Made up of a number of small boats, the industry made its living by transporting goods up and down the river. The various owners were given notice to shift to another part of the island nation or face closure.  

With the transformation of the Singapore River, the city-state too began to adopt its modern skin.  

Clean And Green Singapore 

Caring for the environment plays a central role in the life of the citizens. Preferring an outdoor lifestyle, the general population has always made efforts towards maintaining a balanced relation between the ecological system and their daily habits. The government too has played its part by launching initiatives such as Clean and Green Singapore (CGS). 

For the campaign, public bodies such as the NEA, CDCs, PUB and NParks joined forces. It began as a weekly campaign in the 90s that took place once a year. The focus was to galvanized the many local communities into adopting habits that led to minimal waste and maximum conservation of resources such as water. The campaign aimed to instil a sense of responsibility towards the environment.  

CGS has now grown from a weekly engagement to a year-long activity, encompassing various sections of the society, including schools. Various issues that could harm the environment - such as food hygiene, recycling, and climate change- are tackled with fun activities that keep interests high.