Singapore Profile

Background Information

Singapore is a modern city-state located in Asia.  This city-state has a main island, and 60 other offshore islets. The first main use of Singapore was a trading port for a company called, "East Indian Company". Singapore is a well known place to the world, famous for its urbaniziation and economy, it has a population of 5.5 million and is the world's fourth largest financial center. Singapore had quite a history, it was first colonized by the British in 1819, then taken over by the Japanese in WWII, and after that, Singapore joined the federation of Malaysia until 1965, when it became an independent and became the Republic of Singapore. Singapore is also famous for its old fashioned places and unique cultural food. Singapore also had a great leader to push them forwards, Lee Kuan Yew. He led the city-state to independency then continued as the prime minister for 25 years. Singapore is an international city-state, as of 2014, 61% of the population was of citizens, and the rest were made of permanent residents and foreigners. Thus, the people of Singapore are familiar with multiple languages, Chinese, Cantonese, English, Malay etc. Even though Singapore is a busy city, its environmental is still one of the best in the world, it was ranked number four on the Environmental Performance Index in 2014.


How does the constant growing population of Macau and Singapore affect its social problems and geographical constraints?

What are some problems the country/city is facing when it comes to waste management?

What has the government done to face this issue, and how do the two cities’ solutions differ?” (Especially Landfills)

What impacts have these solutions made to their respective city?


Qualitative Data

"It is very costly to get rid of our waste. It costed us S$610 million to create Pulau Semakau" - Ong Chong Peng (General Manager of Pulau Semakau)

"With nowhere to site another landfill, recycling, though not yet rolled out to the masses in condominiums or state Housing Development Board (HDB) skyscrapers, is no longer just nice to have, but a necessity" - Ong Chong Peng

"We generate a lot of waste everyday. Every 5 to 7 years, Singapore will need a new multimillion dollar incinerator; and every 25-30 years, another landfill like Pulau Semakau will be needed" - National Environment Agency

"In a small country like Singapore, inevitably, their landfill space will run out and they will have to find other ways of dealing with the problem (waste management)" - Von Hernandez (Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia)

"Some people think that incineration is just merely a destruction method, but it's not true" - Poh Soon Hoong, General Manager of the S$900 million Tuas South Incineration Plant

Quantitative Data

As of 2012, 7.3million tonnes of waste was generated. 40% of this waste was disposed and incinerated or put in the Pulau Semakau landfill, the other 60% was recycled.

In the 12 years between 2000-2012, there was only a 5% increase of disposed waste generated by the population of Singapore. However, the total waste generated in these 12 years had a 56% increase. One can see that Singapore's recycling programs and promotions were very successful.

Explanation and Analysis

Over these few decades, Singapore has done a great job in waste management. Almost all the waste generated now is recycled, and it has saved the Singaporean government from spending more money and worrying about land space. Because the Singaporeans recycle so much of their waste, incinerators are not use as much, and landfills do not fill up as quickly. Incinerators are responsible for 2-3% of Singapore's electrical use, and by decreasing its use, not only does it save a lot of time and money for the government, it is also much more beneficial to the environment. From 2000-2014, the amount of waste recycled in Singapore increased by 144%. This data shows that the promotion of recycling by the Singaporean government worked and was worth it. Almost all the waste generated by the population has shown improvement in recycling, with only non-ferrous metals being the only material which has been recycled less. For landfills, Singapore has done a great job. Currently, Pulau Semakau is the only landfill Singapore has left. All the other land reclaimed areas were eradicated before 2000. The NEA (National Environment Agency) has done a great job in persuading and informing the citizens of Singapore about the waste management issues. However, looking at the quotes and the data provided by the government websites, there is still a room for improvement for waste management in Singapore.

Looking into the Future

In the future, I think Singapore is going to have an even better environment. Even though they're ranked fourth on the environmental performance index, they're still very conscious and worried about the limited space they have and the increase in waste. Still, they have shown a drastic improvement in recycling throughout this decade, with the amount of recycled material increasing by 144%.

From this data table, it is clear that there has been a serious improvement from Singapore in recycling waste.

To add on, the NEA has set a goal for the whole country. NEA wants and predicts 65% of the waste will be recycled by 2020 and 70% will be recycled by 2030. Currently, most of the recycled waste will be transferred into energy so they could save even more electricity by generating less electricity. Because of the constant encouragement by the government and the understanding of the lack of space, I believe Singapore's waste management will only get better and better.

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