2022 marks NEA’s 20th year of stewardship and safeguarding the environment. The past year has been our most exciting and challenging yet, as we engaged numerous stakeholders on sustainability initiatives while supporting the nation’s transition into COVID-19 endemicity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of upholding high public hygiene standards in Singapore. NEA has progressively rolled out the Environmental Sanitation Regime to mandate baseline hygiene and sanitation standards for high-risk premises, and received strong support from the community to implement tray and crockery return practices in hawker centres, coffeeshops and similar settings. At the peak of the pandemic, NEA undertook the implementation of safe management measures at hawker centres, supported the mandatory COVID-19 routine regular testing for stallholders, cleaners and related sectors, and ensured adequate capacity at all our after-death facilities.
NEA is pressing on with initiatives to reduce waste, encourage recycling, and ultimately lower carbon emissions. To encourage more sustainable habits, a disposable carrier bag charge will be implemented at supermarkets in 2023. Meanwhile, a beverage container return scheme is being developed where manufacturers and importers of pre-packaged beverages will refund consumers a modest deposit to encourage the return and recycling of empty beverage containers. NEA is also exploring chemical recycling solutions to help close the plastic waste loop in Singapore.
In the area of weather and climate science, NEA’s Meteorological Service Singapore continues to provide round-the-clock weather services to the aviation and shipping sectors, as well as the public. To build Singapore’s climate resilience, we embarked on the Climate Science Research Masterplan to deepen our understanding of climate change parameters. We also pressed on with international scientific collaborations, and became a core member in the international Unified Model Partnership comprising Australia, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, we continue our efforts against public health threats such as dengue. Despite a significant decrease in dengue cases in 2021, there was a resurgence of cases at the start of 2022 signalling early signs of an outbreak. NEA and our partners rapidly strengthened vector control measures in tandem with the steady expansion of Project Wolbachia to bring the wave of cases under control.
Today’s NEA is defined by the sacrifices and forward planning of our predecessors in the last twenty years. To weather the uncertainties of tomorrow, today’s management and staff are likewise planning for the next twenty years – setting for ourselves aspirations to extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill almost indefinitely, expanding our network of hawker centres anchored on the heritage of a thriving hawker culture, growing new capabilities to bring recycling and public health outcomes to fresh heights.
As we celebrate NEA’s 20th Anniversary, we remain mindful of our role as stewards, entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding our environment for future generations. We call on all stakeholders and friends to join us in this continuing endeavour, pressing on with gusto and gumption!
Mr Luke Goh
Chief Executive Officer