In November, Straits Construction embarked on a two-week program to educate its staff on recycling best practices and the effects of wastage on climate change. The program aimed to ensure that staff are aware of how their consumption habits affect Mother Nature and the steps everyone can take to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The program was conducted in response to the Singapore government’s call in designating 2019 as the year of Zero Waste.
The week started with Zero Waste SG’s educational talks held at the head office and project sites. Staff and workers listened as Jess from Zero Waste SG shared about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, its impact on climate change, and practical tips to reduce one-time disposals. During the week, the CSR committee shared educational content, such as behind-the-scenes video of Singapore’s incineration plant and posters encouraging good recycling habits. A one-day recycling drive was also conducted where staff brought recyclables to office and project sites. These were then collected and sent to Tzu Chi Eco-Awareness Centre for recycling.
The highlight of the week’s event was a site visit to Semakau Island, Singapore’s only landfill. There, a group of 56 participants learned more about Singapore’s waste collection processes. They saw ash incinerated from waste being transferred by large excavators from the barge onto dump trucks at Semakau Landfill’s Transfer Building. A mild burnt smell filled the air as the ash was subsequently tipped into the giant landfill cell from the Floating Platform. An onsite wastewater treatment plant then ensured excess water displaced by the ash and rainfall was treated before being discharged into the open sea. Participants were very surprised to find a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals thriving on the island instead of a dirty polluted wasteland. After the visit, they became more aware of the island’s limited space and the steps they can take to reduce the volume of trash generated.
While the program only lasted two weeks, it resulted within the company greater awareness of wastage and climate change effects. To further encourage staff to practise what they learned, Straits Construction installed two recycling bins at the offices at Levels 5 and 6. Departments have committed to do a weekly audit to ensure that recyclables are free from contamination before bringing them to the blue recycling bin. Now everyone can play their part in caring for the environment.
At this milestone year in conjunction with Straits Construction’s celebration of its 50ᵗʰ anniversary, the company has taken a small but significant step that inspires everyone to take better care of the environment and to create a better future.