SINGAPORE is embarking on a 10-year journey to build a greener future - and the first steps start with you.
Views from individuals, businesses and interests group are being sought in a ground-up approach to drafting government policy that will shape how Singaporeans live, work, play and commute for years to come.
The goal - to create a 'liveable, lively home, with a vibrant economy', said Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan. He co-chairs a high-powered inter-ministry committee appointed by the Prime Minister in February to spearhead the green push.
Over the next three months, the public can give feedback on topics like transport, housing and industry at a dedicated website.
Public forums will also be held, and there will be consultations with volunteer groups, grassroots, and companies to involve as many people as possible.
Suggestions on everything from improving public transport to boosting recycling in homes will be woven into the committee's report to be tabled at next year's Budget.
Five ministers representing Environment, Transport, Trade and Industry, National Development and Finance came together yesterday to unveil this initiative, a sign of the far-reaching impact the committee's work will have.
'Energy is our biggest concern right now', said Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, who co-chairs the committee.
Rising fuel prices and an affluent growing population are putting immense strain on already limited resources, he explained.
The hope - to find a Newater solution for the energy sector.
Investing in home-grown R&D will help make clean energy a viable alternative to fossil fuels, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran.
But do not expect solutions to come quickly or without sacrifice, cautioned the ministers.
Using raised road tolls as an example, Transport Minister Raymond Lim said that unrestrained driving was 'not possible' as it undermined the urban environment by creating pollution and gridlock.
The benefits will come with time when the $40 billion being invested in new rail lines and road projects take shape.
What will not be compromised is economic growth, said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
'We will balance the costs and benefits,' he added.
To achieve that, solutions should be 'pragmatic and result- oriented' but at the same time 'bold'.
The committee will tread carefully with top-down mandates.
Other countries have gone ahead of the curve by legislating green policies but at great cost to the people and companies, said Mr Mah.
Endorsing the ground-up approach being taken, Dr Amy Khor, chairman of Reach, the Government's feedback unit, said: 'This is especially important for such a topic which the ground may not find easy to relate to since some policies implemented in the immediate future may not directly benefit them now, but (will)ensure that future generations will continue to have a high quality living environment'.