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$1.5 billion for a sustainable Singapore

The Singapore government on Saturday launched its masterplan for sustainable development, dedicating $1.5 billion to initiatives such as scaling up public transport, growing solar adoption, and moving towards zero waste.

Over the next five years, the Singapore government will put $1.5 billion into efforts to fulfil its goal of becoming a nation with smart and eco-friendly technology embedded into every home, a ‘zero-waste’ culture, and a flourishing green economy by 2030.

This vision was announced by Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday at the launch of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015, a document that outlines the city-state’s strategy to become a more sustainable city.

This latest version is an update of the first blueprint outlined in 2009, which maps out Singapore’s sustainable development strategy across aspects such as transport, energy, buildings, water use, waste and recycling, public behaviour, and green spaces.

Speaking at the Lot One mall in Singapore, PM Lee shared that the updated masterplan – led by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and Ministry of National Development – had involved input from almost 6,000 Singaporeans through a public consultation exercise.

He also shared that the government was on track to meet or exceed the goals set in 2009’s blueprint, such as increasing the amount of skyrise greenery to 50 hectares and raising the national recycling rate from 56 per cent in 2008 to 70 per cent by 2030.

The 2015 update adds new targets which aim to double the length of the rail network from 180km in 2013 to 360km in 2030 and ensure that a majority of the population lives no more than a 10-minute walk from parks or train stations, among others.

The government hopes to meet these goals and realise the blueprint’s vision of making Singapore a sustainable and liveable city with a socially active community by fitting homes in the city-state with smart, energy saving technology such as sensor lights, installing more solar panels on new housing estates to power common facilities, and scaling up alternatives to car transport such as buses, trains, and cycling.

PM Lee reflected that not enough had been done to maximise the potential of cycling in Singapore. Plans to rectify this include introducing new design features to existing residential towns to make them more conducive to walking and cycling.

The government will also allocate more spaces in the city and housing estates where roads are temporarily or permanently closed for public activities to shift away from a car culture.

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