Jurisdiction - Singapore
Singapore – A perspective Of Waste Management.

 29 September, 2012


Waste management poses a major challenge to Singapore, due to our limited land area and the high rate of waste generation typical of urbanized and industrialized societies. To reduce the amount of waste produced, coordinated planning policies, and dedicated measures directed towards zero waste and zero landfill will need to be rigorously enforced.

Waste management is highly regulated in Singapore, and applies to all households, trade premises and public places. The Environmental Public Health Act (“EPHA”) and EPHA’s General Waste Collection, Public Cleansing or the Toxic Industrial Waste Regulations legislate all aspects of the disposal, collection, transportation, waste classification and treatment of waste in Singapore. Waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration is also a vital and cost effective component of waste 
management. Singapore’s four WTE plants, namely:  Tuas, Senoko, Tuas South and Keppel Seghers Tuas reduce solid waste to about 10% of its original volume, and also act as a resource recovery centre for recyclable material such as ferrous metals whilst minimizing air pollution by removing flue gas and fly-ash pollutants.  
Over and above the statutory regulations on waste management, the National Environment Agency (“NEA”) have introduced detailed guidelines and codes of good practice on waste minimization and recycling programs for industries, businesses and households based on the 3R principles (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). These codes however, are not legally binding and failure to comply with these codes does not in itself entail a statutory offence or warrant any regulatory action. However these codes continue to introduce best practices and a more systematic approach to recycling in Singapore.
The country must also continually strive to facilitate the commercialization and early uptake of waste management technologies. An outstanding example is the District Pneumatic Refuse Conveyance System (DPRCS) which will be implemented in Marina Bay in 2015. DPRCS is an automated waste collection system and 
adoption of this system will require both legislative changes which impact on building owners, and multi-agency collaboration from the outset of government land sales to developers. National strategies and mechanisms must also be innovative, yet realistic. For instance, it may be timely to implement a waste and sustainability scheme for waste reduction within neighborhood districts and to pay town councils for achieving stipulated waste reduction goals. 
The government needs to redouble efforts to raise the level of public awareness of the environmental impacts of waste production and the benefits of waste minimization and recycling. A sense of urgency should be instilled. Behavioral patterns must shift towards recognizing that waste management is not just a burden for the current generation but for future ones as well. Ultimately, public policies must be matched by much more environmentally conscious public behaviour in order to turn the tide on waste in Singapore.


For further information, please contact:
Sandra Seah, Partner, ATMD Bird & Bird


Tony Quek, ATMD Bird & Bird



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