“Because when rescue centres are no longer necessary, it would suggest that animals in the wild are no longer threatened.”
Rio, the movie about two Spix’s macaw, Blu and Jewel, was released in 2011. Shockingly, 7 years later, this species of bird featured in Rio may have gone extinct in the wild (Butchart et al., 2018), likely driven by habitat loss due to deforestation from unsustainable practices (GrllScientist, 2018).
I have been asking myself:
“Can we strike a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability?”
I think it’s challenging.
But Mr Louis Ng who is currently serving as Member of Parliament (MP) of Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency replied:
“Anything is possible.”
Mr Ng believes that sustainable living in a country has to be both bottom-up and top-down where the Singapore government must work together with the public. As CEO of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society and an MP, Mr Ng advocates that the government must reach a middle ground between economic growth and environmental sustainability. On 11 July 2018, for instance, Mr Ng spoke in Parliament about the environmental consequences concerning the ongoing construction work in Mandai because he believes “careful thought must be put into mitigating environmental impacts while ensuring economic growth.”
But I was surprised, well… actually, utterly disturbed by the fact that while there are proposed mitigating measures, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Sun Xueling, however, mentioned that there will be no penalties on developers when measures to mitigate environmental impacts are not implemented (Sim, 2018).
Undoubtedly, it will be challenging to have both environmental sustainability and economic growth, but I subscribe to Mr Ng’s notion that anything is possible if we put in a little more thought and effort into making things happen. And by saying that, I mean making meaningful changes right now.
During my interview with Rachel, I talked about plastic. Today, I will like to talk about plastic again.
In 2010, the District of Columbia implemented a 5-cent bag fee and in just 5 years, plastic bag usage dropped by 85% (Brittain & Rich, 2015). Brittain and Rich (2015) also mentioned that the fees collected from plastic bag usage amounted to $10 million and the fund was used for the construction of trash trap, rain barrel and other green initiatives.
Closer to Singapore, in February this year, Taiwan announced the intention to ban single-use plastic straws, cups and bags by 2030 (Channel NewsAsia, 2018).
What about Singapore?
Mr Ng opined that: “Some businesses are doing their parts to mitigate the existing environmental issues. The government should start taking the lead, for example, by implementing a policy to charge consumers on plastic bag usage.”
I echo Mr Ng’s stance that Singapore should start imposing a tax on plastic usage, and for a start, on plastic bags. With taxation, we are not banning the use of plastic bags entirely but to encourage consumers to save their money by using one less plastic bags at the counter when they are paying for their items. The concept of using plastic bags is ingrained but it is time for all of us to learn to be more proactive in saying no to plastic usage.
P.S. Hopefully, we will hear good news after Mr Ng talk about issues revolving plastic usage during the Parliament Sitting tonight. For the full interview of Louis Ng’s Why, click here!
2011 WORLDWIDE GROSSES. (2011). Retrieved from Box Office Mojo: https://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?view2=worldwide&yr=2011&p=.htm
Brittian, A., & Rich, S. (2015). Is D.C.’s 5-cent fee for plastic bags actually serving its purpose? The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/nickel-by-nickel-is-the-dc-bag-fee-actually-saving-the-anacostia-river/2015/05/09/d63868d2-8a18-11e4-8ff4-fb93129c9c8b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b4a2284fb1b9
Butchart, S. H., Lowe, S., Martin, R. W., Symes, A., Westrip, J. R., & Wheatley, H. (2018). Which bird species have gone extinct? A novel quantitative classification T approach.Biological Conservation, 227, 9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.08.014
GrrlScientist. (2018). Forever Gone: Eight Bird Species Confirmed Extinct This Decade. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/2018/09/07/forever-gone-eight-bird-species-confirmed-extinct-this-decade/#1532f7205926
Sim, F. (2018). No penalty for not implementing environmental impact mitigation measures: Sun Xueling. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/mandai-developer-penalty-environmental-impact-mitigation-10519586
Taiwan to ban plastic straws, cups by 2030. (2018). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/taiwan-to-ban-plastic-straws-cups-by-2030-9981998