What MEWR and NEA can help the green community in the new year

January 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Insights

If MEWR and NEA wish to nurture more ground-up initiatives and increase the number of new environmental NGOs and groups in the new year, here are some suggestions for them to help the green community:

1) Provide Space

The green community needs office space to do their work, and meeting and training rooms to liaise with their partners and volunteers. Instead of spending their limited funding to rent spaces, the money could be better spent on their programmes. MEWR and NEA can come in to offer pro bono spaces for them, or help them connect with companies who are willing to host the groups.

2) Co-create Policies

Help them help you. The various departments and sections within MEWR and NEA may deal with various aspects of a single topic or policy (3P, Policy and Planning, specific Waste or Cleaning departments, Industry Development, etc). There is a need to work together and co-create solutions and tackle policies.

If the green groups have a meeting on a particular topic or policy, help them identify the other stakeholders within MEWR and NEA who needs to be on the same table. Explain to them why certain policies are the way they are. If there are things that the NGOs or groups can do, be bold enough to let them do it.

3) Adjust Funding

The current 3P Partnership Fund and Call for Ideas Fund by NEA do not include funding for manpower and selected categories. Instead of prescribing which categories can be funded, NEA can provide funding based on results. A performance-based funding scheme allows the groups to use the funding to pay for expenses, including for manpower, prizes, etc. Of course, the expenses in those categorues must be reasonable and agreed upon before approval. The amount of funding disbursed will be based on the KPIs agreed.

At the end of the day, the results matter more than dictating which categories can or cannot be funded. If a project can’t be executed properly because of a lack of funding for manpower (or other expenses that are not funded), then both the group and NEA would lose out in the end.

How Far Will The Long Arm Reach? – Deconstructing Singapore’s Transboundary Haze Pollution Act

October 5, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

This article is contributed by Maxine Chen.

Introduced in 2013, the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act is now beginning to be utilised by the NEA to serve preventive notice measures on a number of Indonesian companies. This piece of law is a daring departure from the consultative methods traditionally adopted by ASEAN member states in dealing with the Southeast Asian air pollution crisis.[1]

It is clear that in the face of market forces and politics, Singapore has a relatively small role to play. Moreover, looking at the cautious manner with which the Act has been described and implemented so far, it probably will not live up to its potential reach. But by understanding this law, testing its limits and finding creative ways to supplement it, individuals and businesses may be helping ensure that Singapore plays her role well. Read more

Reducing Marine Trash in Singapore

May 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

Marine Trash Art

We arranged a meeting yesterday with staff from the Department of Public Cleanliness and the Policy and Planning Division in the National Environment Agency (NEA) to discuss about marine trash, together with Siva from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore and Ria from Wildsingapore.

The objectives of the meeting were to:

  1. Understand more about how NEA is clearing the marine trash, and NEA’s strategies and policies in reducing marine trash.
  2. Explore how NEA can lead the efforts in coordinating with other government agencies and NGOs, and work together to reduce marine trash.

We shared the following during the meeting:

  • Siva: Data and photos from ICCS; top marine trash items; hotspots especially those directly under NEA
  • Ria: Photos of marine trash at coasts near fish farms; disposal collection for fish farms
  • Eugene: Marine trash from beachgoers; suggestions on reducing marine trash and upstream policies to minimise plastic disposables

Besides cleaning and clearing marine trash, there should be more efforts to reduce marine trash. We hope that NEA can work together with the various stakeholders to address and reduce marine trash over time. Read more

Understanding the Energy Management Maturity of Companies in Singapore

August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Insights

Singapore’s Energy Conservation Act, which came into force on April 22 this year, requires companies to take steps toward managing their energy consumption and improving energy efficiency.

In light of this new legislation, Accenture, with support from the National Environment Agency, conducted a qualitative survey of 100 energy intensive companies in Singapore, with the aim of assessing the maturity of enterprise energy management practices.

The findings are now published in a report, Driving Energy Management Transformation: A study on energy management maturity of companies in Singapore.

Feature Finding: People-centred components of energy management are less mature

The key finding from the report identifies that most organisations in Singapore are relatively less mature in the ‘softer’ people-centric aspects of energy management in comparison to their technological capabilities. These include organisational structure, defining roles and responsibilities, aligning rewards and incentives, and managing skills and training. Read more

Waste Management and Recycling: Is Our Effort Going to Waste?

July 9, 2013 by  
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By Jovin Hurry

The Waste Management Symposium 2013 held on 2 July at Max Atria, Singapore Expo, got several participants to question whether what countries in the region have been doing in managing their waste is enough and impactful, given the increasing level of difficulty of inter-related waste issues in an overcrowded planet.

The experts threw around big numbers. The global industry of 4 billion tons of waste and 1.2 billion tons of household waste has a US$420 billion turnover. Around 10 million tons of plastics are floating as ocean litter. Nearly 70% of the growth of megacities is happening without proper urban planning. The World Bank estimates we need US$40 billion today to handle waste management.

The tough questions need to be asked. We need to define national strategies, responsibilities and required administration areas. Our economic models must be reviewed. We must check whether the technologies used are the right one. Can we be innovative in terms of funding? For example, climate change mechanisms can be looked at to fund waste management structures in developing countries, a point rightfully brought up by Mr. David Newman, President of the International Solid Waste Association. Read more

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