As Singapore and Malaysia struggle with major smog pollution and public health crises from illegal fires in Indonesia, WWF has renewed calls for zero-burn policies to be enacted and enforced. Satellite hotspot analysis showed the single jurisdiction of Riau Province, Sumatra as the location of over 88% of the
Billowing smoke from illegal fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra engulfed Singapore last week, pushing air pollution to record levels for three consecutive days. The smoke, which is captured in a new NASA satellite image, has created an acrid blanket of smog across the region and historic levels of air pollution.
There are so many smart new social innovation technologies coming out to create renewable fuels and power supplies. The latest discovery is that sewage plants are being used to not only treat waste but to also generate electricity. This knowhow is devised by Prof Bruce Logan, an environmental engineer specializing in water systems at Pennsylvania State
When you live with 5 million other people on a relatively small island, finding ways to live more sustainably isn’t so much a luxury as a necessity.
That’s why Singapore—which has the third greatest population density of any sovereign state in the world—has become something of a pioneer in finding ways to live in a more sustainable manner.
Start with water. For years, Singapore has relied on imported water from Malaysia to provide 40 percent of its water supply.
To become more self sufficient, Singapore has invested billions of dollars in membrane filtration technologies that allow wastewater to be reclaimed, filtered, and transformed into high purity potable water called NEWater. This is in addition to heavy investments in desalination plants and rainwater-catching reservoirs that further reduce its reliance on imported water.
Another area where Singapore excels is building efficiency—an area with huge potential impact, given that an astounding 90 percent of the population lives in some form of high-rise condominium. Singapore has set an ambitious target of greening at least 80 percent of its buildings by 2030, including existing stock.
Clean technology advancements are also allowing Singapore to make great strides in transportation, particularly around the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Since roughly 85 percent of Singapore’s power supply comes from natural gas, EVs provide a cleaner solution compared with conventional oil burning vehicles.
And while EVs typically travel a shorter distance compared with conventional vehicles, that’s not really a concern on a 26-mile wide island.
Singapore-based clean tech company Greenlots is developing the best way to charge these EVs. Since 2008, the company has been committed to designing and delivering hardware and software to enable utilities, municipalities, electric vehicle manufacturers and distributors and other private businesses to install, own and operate their own EV charging network. Already, Greenlots has established charging stations in major parking lots in the city, including those at Bedok Point Shopping Centre and Kovan Residences.
By investing in clean technology innovations, Singapore is able to tackle multiple areas that impact its future. Its forward-thinking design solutions to environmental problems are sure to yield benefits both today and tomorrow.
A panel formed to study solutions to increased flooding in Singapore has urged the government to require green roofs on new and retrofitted buildings.
The 12-member panel, which was created after torrential rains caused flash flooding across eastern and central Singapore last year, said improved
Due to its relatively small size, the limited number of resources it has, as well as its increasingly urbanized atmosphere, Singapore has had little choice in moving toward renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Because of its intense desire to go green, it has become an international destination for clean technology, especially in production and
Ascent Solar Technologies, the Colorado makers of WaveSol thin-film solar modules, has recently moved forward with two profit-rich international distribution deals.
The first deal is with SW Solarwatt Ltd. based in Cyprus, and the second with Polymer Sun, which will distribute solar products to Singapore and Malaysia.
Chris Tobias recently wrote about waste to energy in Singapore, illustrating the city’s exemplary response to fly ash left over from the incineration process. I just read an interesting French book on water, and one of the most interesting parts of the book was about Singapore.
Written by Erik Orsenna, a member of the prestigious Académie française, L’Avenir de l’eau (Water’s future) enables us to travel all around the world (albeit reading) and gathers facts and figures on how water issues differ from country to country.
Perfectly located between East and West Asia, Singapore is an important local hub for 4,000 international companies. The city’s geostrategic importance led to an important population boom, with the number of inhabitants climbing from 1.5 million at the time of independence in 1965 to more than 4.5 million today.
Despite receiving a lot of rainwater (there are 2,415 mm of precipitations per year, compared to roughly 500 mm for San Francisco and 1,200 mm for New York City), the city lacks water.
The precious liquid comes from four main sources: rain, water treatment, desalination and imports from Malaysia.
Singapore is a bustling city state at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia. Independent from Malaysia since 1965, it has a dense population of 4.7 million people crammed into 269 sq. miles (697 sq. km)— that’s roughly 3.5x the size of Washington D.C.
In spite of its lacking land mass, the tiny country is a major economic hub in Southeast Asia and boasts one of the best standards of living of any Asian city, and even rivals many metropolis overseas.
It’s a city that is well planned, tightly regulated, visually attractive, and thankfully lacking the woeful pollution that afflict other centers like Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Waste and the City
All the economic activity and large population of course is not without its downside: waste. In 2008 the total volume of solid waste had reached 5.97 million tons. Luckily, according to government figures, roughly 2.24 million tons (approx. 56%) of this was recycled. That still left a lot left to deal with.
One year after opening, and about two years after construction began, the Poh Ern Shih Temple (or Temple of Thanksgiving in English) is looking great. I’m dropping by to visit the temple and check out progress on this green Buddhist sanctuary.
The place is bustling with activity, and thankfully the first phase of construction has now been completed. On the day of my visit, several different religious study groups are in session upstairs, catering to the younger members of the Buddhist congregation. I locate Boon, the temple president, just before lunch and we sit down for a chat.
“The building performance has been great,” he tells me. “We’ve generated 15 megawatts of power from our first phase PV systems so far in the first year, and we’re going to install another set in our second phase of construction.”