All schools are encouraged to read the Minister’s Message

during assembly in April 2016.

Last year, we had a memorable SG50 and our journey towards a more liveable and sustainable Singapore continues in the next 50 years. Like many countries, Singapore is vulnerable to the risks arising from climate change. In fact, we experienced the hottest month of January this year due to the El Nino phenomenon. The global community is concerned that if nothing is done, in future we will see climate change affecting our food, our environment and our way of living. Have you also thought about how your actions could affect the future of our environment?

Very aptly, the theme for Youth for the Environment Day this year is “Imagine, Create, Change” and encourages youth to think about their contributions towards a sustainable environment, with focus on waste minimisation and cleanliness. This is in line with the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 which encourages everyone in Singapore to play a part in moving “Towards a Zero Waste Nation” and creating “An Active and Gracious Community” by encouraging a sense of shared responsibility for the environment and cleanliness of public spaces.

As youth, you have the greatest stake in our future and every act you do could leave a lasting impact on the environment. Did you know that today Singapore generates 7 times more waste than we did 40 years ago? If we continue at this rate, our one and only landfill, Semakau Landfill will be filled by 2035. So do your part to reduce the waste generated in Singapore by practicing the 3Rs in reducing consumption of, as well as reusing and recycling materials to give them a second lease of life. Simple acts like recycling a plastic bottle or ordering just enough food to ensure that there is no food wastage can help save the environment and avoid using our limited landfill space.

In addition to being responsible for your waste, you can contribute by being a steward of the environment in taking ownership of cleanliness in public spaces and reaching out to your peers on the importance of keeping the environment clean. An active and gracious community is one where everyone participates in building a better environment together. You can start somewhere small, like your classroom. Every action has a ripple effect, and soon such small yet gracious acts could galvanise a community movement to protect your neighbouring environment.

Always remember that not only are you an individual in Singapore, you are also part of the wider community and play an active role as a global citizen. One who is responsible for their actions towards the environment, for a cleaner and greener future. I wish all of you a very special Youth for the Environment Day!

Mr Masagos Zulkifli

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources