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Government to seek public's views on review of Sustainable Singapore Blueprint

The review of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint will involve a public consultation exercise over the next three to six months.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said this on the sidelines of an Emergency Preparedness Exercise that involved some 500 residents in his constituency of Cashew.

Dr Balakrishnan said that as part of the review, the public would be asked for their feedback on how to enhance the penalty regime for littering and other anti-social behaviours.

The government has been pushing for ownership among individuals where environmental issues are concerned. This year, it kicked off its Community Volunteer Scheme — where volunteers are trained to book and report litterbugs to the National Environment Agency for investigation.

Dr Balakrishnan said his ministry is also looking at amending legislation to establish the volunteer corps of environment protection officers.

Citizens in the volunteer corps will be trained and could even be issued the same warrant cards as regular NEA officers. This means they will have the powers to book and issue offenders with summonses on the spot.

This measure, as well as enhancing penalties for litterbugs, will be among the issues that will be included as part of the consultation exercise.

Dr Balakrishnan said: “The penalty regime will be part of that consultation exercise. Quite honestly, yes, we can enhance the penalties, but I don’t think that is the key. We need to educate, we need to bring people on board and we need to get people to take charge of the situation.

“That to me is more important than revising penalties, although we will of course have to do that. However, it will be a public consultation exercise, and we will do so in a consultative way.”

Dr Balakrishnan added the next eight years will be important for the hawker centre building programme, with the government’s commitment to build at least 10 new hawker centres, and renovate and refurbish 15 centres that were under the Stall Ownership Scheme.

He said: “We thought of using this period of time to engage in public consultation, to ask the public: ‘what is your vision, what do you want, what do you expect of Singapore going forward?’

“For instance, whether its hawker centres, or any other facilities, how do we ensure that it is truly green at the conceptual level and actually operates efficiently and meets peoples’ needs.”

The environment blueprint will lay out Singapore’s strategies for economic growth in a way that is environmentally sustainable. 

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