Singapore ranked the greenest city in Asia

Cheryl Ong Straits Times 15 Feb 11;

THE little red dot is green, too. An inaugural study commissioned by European technology company Siemens has found Singapore to be the greenest city in Asia.

The Asian Green City Index, put together by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ranked 22 major cities - including Tokyo, Delhi and Shanghai - in eight categories.

Singapore came up tops in its management of waste and water resources. It also scored consistently above average in the other categories, such as sanitation and environmental governance.

EIU senior consultant Jan Friederich, who led the team that carried out the study in Asia, said Singapore fared well thanks to the Government's emphasis on long-term sustainability.

"It's building on a long legacy of focusing on sustainability, and also on long-term planning that yields results only after a certain period of time, and that's something not as prevalent in other Asian countries," he said.

According to benchmarks set by experts from the United Nations and the World Bank, Singapore is a winner for the way it collects and disposes of waste. The index noted that the Government has raised its target to recycle rubbish from 56 per cent in 2008 to 65 per cent by 2020. Singapore also fared well in its plans for green transport systems, such as investing in doubling the rail network by 2020, and installing new cycling paths in neighbourhoods.

Dr Amy Khor, Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, accepted the Green City Award handed out here yesterday.

"Our reputation as a clean and green city is the result of continuous effort, involving all stakeholders from the Government, industry and community," she said.

The closest runner-up in overall rankings was Japan, whose three cities rated in the study - namely Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama - ranked highly.

"The study of Asian cities shows one thing very clearly: higher income does not necessarily mean higher resource consumption," said Mr Friederich.

He said while countries used more resources as their annual gross domestic product (GDP) rose to €15,000 (S$26,000) per capita, consumption dipped when GDP rose further than that thanks to more efficient infrastructure and greater environmental awareness.

But while Singapore fared well in most of the categories, it raked up carbon emissions on a par with cities like London, and higher than any of the other cities in the study. The study also found that air pollution levels are relatively high in the cities it covered.

Siemens commissioned similar studies of Europe and Latin America in the past two years, in which Copenhagen and Curitiba were found to be the greenest cities.

Siemens' chief sustainability officer Barbara Kux said the study helps countries to learn from each other, and to do so quickly because of the growth of new cities all over Asia.

The United Nations Population Division estimates that more than 40 per cent of people in Asia now live in cities.

This latest finding comes two days after a study by consultancy firm Solidiance compared cities in the Asia-Pacific region according to eco-friendliness.

Singapore was among the top four cities, behind Tokyo, Seoul and Melbourne, for its policies on green buildings and water management.

Yesterday evening, Siemens also handed out its inaugural Green Technology Journalism Award.

The Straits Times' environment correspondent Jessica Cheam picked up the top prize in the sustainability category.

She had submitted a Saturday Special report, published in The Straits Times on Dec 18, about sustainable forestry, which trumped over 190 other entries from Asean countries including Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Besides the €1,000 in prize money, she will go on a sponsored trip to Germany to attend a seminar organised by the Technical University of Berlin on sustainability and new technologies, and visit Siemens research centres.

Nine other journalists also walked away with awards that covered three categories: industrial productivity, energy efficiency and sustainability.

Singapore tops ranking of Asian green cities
Joyce Hooi Business Times 15 Feb 11;

SINGAPORE has topped the Asian Green City Index which was released yesterday, beating out 21 other major Asian cities.

It was the only city to be rated 'well above average' in a five-rating index that was sponsored by Siemens.

This put it ahead of Hong Kong, Osaka, Tokyo, Yokohama, Seoul and Taipei - which were banded as 'above average'.

The island's neighbouring cities, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, both scored an overall rating of 'average'. In the bottom tier of the rankings was Karachi, with a 'well below average' rating.

'The government of Singapore has rigorously targeted the protection of the environment and resources, and sustainable development, ever since the country won its independence in 1965,' said Barbara Kux, a member of Siemens AG's managing board and its chief sustainability officer, at a briefing in Singapore yesterday.

The study, which was carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit with data collected between April and June last year, assessed cities in eight categories and 29 sub-categories.

Singapore scored a 'well above average' in the waste and water categories, and an 'above average' in the energy and carbon dioxide, land use and buildings, transport, sanitation, air quality and environmental governance categories.

The report noted that Singapore produces 307 kilogrammes (kg) of waste per person annually, lower than the index average of 380 kg.

While Singapore might have a higher-than-average consumption of water - 309 litres per person per day compared to the average of 278 litres - it has the second lowest leakage rate, at 5 per cent, against the average of 22 per cent.

Ms Kux also pointed out that there are some areas for improvement in Singapore, especially where its carbon dioxide emissions were concerned.

'With per capita emissions of 7.4 tonnes of CO2, Singapore is way above the average of the Asian cities we looked at. This is on par with other megacities like London and mostly due to the fact that Singapore is a highly developed city,' said Ms Kux.

'However, it also is a case for action because this level of emissions is not compatible with the widely accepted goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius. I am sure that Singapore will also tackle this challenge with vision, prudence and determination.'

The average carbon emissions for the index are 4.6 tonnes per person.

Amy Khor - South West District Mayor and Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources - who accepted the Asian Green City Award on behalf of Singapore yesterday, credited the 'culture of continuous innovation' for Singapore's success as a green city in the face of limited resources.

'Going forward, we cannot rest on our laurels. We live in a more resource-constrained world. Higher energy prices, climate change and rising raw material prices all mean that we have to be more prudent with our use of resources,' said Dr Khor yesterday.

Guess where's Asia's greenest city?
Mustafa Shafawi Channel NewsAsia 14 Feb 11;

SINGAPORE: The Asian Green City Index, a study commissioned by Siemens, has concluded that Singapore is Asia's greenest metropolis.

The survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) analysed the aims and achievements of 22 major Asian cities with respect to environmental and climate protection.

Singapore stands out in particular for its ambitious environmental targets and its efficient approach to achieving them.

The republic received full marks in the Index for having an energy reduction strategy.

It ranks above average for its robust policies that serve to contain urban sprawl and to protect green spaces from the negative side effects of development.

Singapore also ranks above average for its extensive public transport network, at 0.21km per square kilometre, which is above the 22-city average of 0.17km per square kilometre.

In addition, the city generates lower-than-Index-average waste per person, and the authorities collect and dispose all of it.

Siemens Singapore CEO Lothar Herrmann said the country's many policies, incentive programmes and public awareness campaigns have worked well in improving its urban environment.

He added what's more commendable is that the Singapore government constantly partners the private sector to find new and innovative ways to boost the island's sustainability.


Singapore City Asia's Greenest, KL Average Green
Bernama 14 Feb 11;

SINGAPORE, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- The city of Singapore came out as Asia's greenest metropolis, well above average of other major Asian cities, according to a study commissioned by Siemens.

Siemens today released the findings of The Asian Green City Index, a study carried out by the independent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on 22 major Asian cities over the past few months.

Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo and Yokohama were categorised as above-average cities.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur, joined by Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Guangzhou, Jakarta, Nanjing, Shanghai and Wuhan, appeared on the average list in the index.

The Asian Green City Index examines the environmental performance of the cities in eight categories: energy and CO2 (carbon dioxide), land use and buildings, transport, waste, water, sanitation, air quality and environmental governance.

Siemens said the republic's city stood out in particular for its ambitious environmental targets and its efficient approach to achieving them.

"The Asian Green City Index supports cities in their efforts to expand their infrastructures on a sustainable basis. We want to enable Asia's up-and-coming urban centres to achieve healthy growth rates coupled with a high quality of life," said Siemens AG's Chief Sustainability Officer Barbara Kux.

Siemens also said that the study found that many Asian cities were increasingly aware about the importance of environment and climate protection, with some having already introduced comprehensive environmental guidelines.

It said the 22 Asian cities produced an average of 375 kg of waste per capita per year, less than in Latin America (465 kg) and Europe (511 kg).

The biggest challenges facing Asia's cities were the relatively high air pollution levels, Siemens said, adding their average total values had substantially exceeded WHO standards.

The index listed Bengaluru, Hanoi, Kolkata, Manila and Mumbai as the below-average cities, while Karachi was the only city well below average.


Clean and green: Why Japan beats top-ranking Singapore
Straits Times Forum 22 Feb 11;

WHILE Singapore's top ranking in the Asian Green City Index is positive, could we have achieved it without the legions of cleaners who pick up after us? ('Singapore ranked the greenest city in Asia'; Feb 15).

One early Sunday morning, I was at the Henderson Waves bridge of the Southern Ridges and it was strewn with litter. My companion complained that the cleaners were not doing their job, but really it should have been the public who should not have left the rubbish behind.

Sadly, thoughtless littering is common in our public spaces because the prevailing attitude in Singapore is that civic-mindedness is limited to one's backyard.

Japan, which polled second, is a true example of a clean and green nation. Tokyo may be a massively crowded city but it manages to remain clean without an over-reliance on an army of cleaners and bins like in Singapore.

The Japanese clear their own trays at foodcourts and keep their tables fairly clean when they dine, unlike most Singaporeans at food centres.

The recycling bins in Japan serve their proper purpose, unlike here where all manner of rubbish is dumped indiscriminately.

It will take Singaporeans a very long time to attain the level of cleanliness that Japan practises; and the journey begins at home.

If parents do not impress upon their children that we have a collective responsibility to keep Singapore clean and green, our aspirations will remain stuck in wishful thinking.

Charlotte Chu (Ms)