October 21, 2009
S'pore supports cause for sustainable cities
It will help achieve environmental sustainability
By JOYCE HOOI
NATIONAL Development Minister Mah Bow Tan yesterday championed the cause for
sustainable cities to help achieve global environmental sustainability.
Speaking at the Isocarp Congress in Portugal, he said: 'Without proper urban
planning, rapid population growth and industrialisation within cities will
result in severe congestion and pollution, and the quality of life for city
dwellers will decline as a result.
'How far we progress in sustainable development and managing global climate
change will depend very much on how effectively we tackle the urban challenges
According to United Nations Habitat figures cited by the minister, cities now
consume about 75 per cent of the world's energy and emit about 80 per cent of
its green house gases.
In his speech, Mr Mah cited the long-term view that Singapore has adopted on
urban development, in view of the importance of sustainable development.
'As we grow and economic growth generates more resources, we commit to
consistent re-investment of these resources into infrastructure and programmes
to improve environmental sustainability,' he said.
According to him, Singapore has consistently invested in two areas over the past
five decades where sustainable development is concerned - resource efficiency
and maintaining high environmental quality.
As part of the drive towards resource efficiency, Singapore had developed
membrane filtration technologies and invested in Newater plants to diversify its
Mr Mah also noted that $700 million has been set aside by the government to help
develop clean energy and water technologies as part of the effort to maintain
high environmental quality.
The move to build a low-carbon city was also outlined in Mr Mah's speech
yesterday. Fundamental to the effort is a policy of zero subsidies for energy,
he said. 'We will continue to price energy according to sound market principles
to make sure there is no waste and to encourage conservation.'
The 45th Isocarp Congress this year revolved around the discussion of low-carbon cities.
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang