What the 2019 master plan says about Singapore’s approach to land use

LAI CHOO MALONE-LEE Today Online 29 May 19;

According to planning theorists, urban planning is fundamentally a process of rational choice, supported by foresight and design.

But, in reality, rationality is always circumscribed by the complexities and uncertainties in the real-world environment, and as such, very few cities are willing, and indeed able, to embrace this dictum in its totality.

Singapore is perhaps an exception, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority's recently released draft Master Plan 2019 demonstrates the city-state’s single-minded pursuit of “rational planning” — where planners, through thoughtful and directed processes, develop a comprehensive set of action proposals toward the attainment of defined social and economic goals.

The master plan is launched at a time of uncertainty in the global political and economic arena.

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APP products could be back in supermarkets, 4 years after being blamed for haze

KIMBERLY LIM Today Online 30 May 19;

SINGAPORE — Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) could see its products sold at major supermarkets again, almost four years after they were pulled from shelves due to the company’s alleged links to the forest fires that caused a massive haze in 2015.

The APP said in a press release on Wednesday (May 29) that it received the Enhanced Singapore Green Label Scheme certification from the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) on May 16 as a result of its efforts in tackling the haze threat.

The council said that APP is among nine companies that received the certification, having complied with the requirements of its audit and risk management framework certification.

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Egg supplier gets S$27 million DBS loan to build farm; conditions apply

LAUREN ONG Today Online 30 May 19;

SINGAPORE — Egg producer Chew's Agriculture has taken up a 10-year, S$27 million loan by DBS, but it must meet strict standards and use the money to build and maintain cage-free facilities that will allow its chickens to live humanely and cruelty-free.

This is the first sustainability-linked loan to be granted to a small- or medium-sized enterprise in Singapore, the bank said on Wednesday (May 29). The loan was evaluated based on a series of environmental, social and governance performance metrics, it added.

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Malaysia: 'Blanket ban not solution for plastic waste smuggling'

New Straits Times 29 May 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Hasty calls by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for a blanket ban on so-called “plastics waste” are unnecessary and ill-considered, and can harm law-abiding manufacturers and businesses.

The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and the Malaysia Plastic Recyclers Association (MPRA) said such a move would hurt the reputation of legitimate Malaysian businesses, instead of addressing the issue of plastic smuggling.

The two associations were referring to remarks made by NGOs lumping permitted imports with smuggled “sampah plastik”.

“We are concerned that law-abiding businesses are being accused of breaking the law, and that inaccurate statements could destroy the livelihoods of law-abiding Malaysians and the families and loved ones that they support,” said MPMA and MPRA in a joint statement, here, today

“Blanket bans do not and cannot address the issue of smuggling and do hurt legitimate businesses,” they said.

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Malaysia: DoE gets tough on e-waste

sim leoi leoi The Star 30 May 19;

PETALING JAYA: The government wants to make it mandatory for consumers to send certain unwanted electrical and electronic items to places licensed to handle e-waste.The proposed change in the law aims to reduce harm to the environment and public health when such waste is not disposed of properly.

The proposed regulation covers televisions, air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, personal computers and mobile phones.

Most of these items are recycled in the informal sector, where those with little expertise and resources rip apart the appliances and devices and burn some components to extract materials that can be resold. All this is done with little thought for health and environmental effects.In a statement to The Star, the Department of Environment (DoE) said it realised the importance of tackling scheduled e-waste management issues in Malaysia.

“The DoE has drafted a specific law for the six controlled items.

“In the draft regulation, these items generated from households, institutions, commercial and others are listed to be regulated,” it said.

Asked if “regulated” means it would be the consumers’ responsibility to discard or send these items only to registered retailers, collectors, recycling facilities or recovery facilities, the DoE replied: “Yes.”

It said these controlled items were currently handled by the informal sector such as house-to-house collectors, community bodies and non-governmental groups.

“The specific legislative provisions to control the management mechanism of the items are important to ensure that they do not pollute the environment or cause any harm to human health,” it added.

The draft regulation, said the DoE, was still under review by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“The scheduled e-waste regulation does not have to be tabled in Parliament,” it said.

Environment waste management specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong said the new regulation proposed by the DoE would likely take the form of an Extended Producer Responsi­bility system, which has been applied in many countries, including the European Union, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and China.

Under this system, which is based on the concept of shared responsibilities, manufacturers and importers must pay a recycling fee upon the put on market of their products, so they are responsible for the products until the latter’s “end of life”.

“The recycling fee will be used to pay for the proper collection and recycling of the e-waste in an environmentally sound manner,” he said, adding that this system emphasises the responsibilities of manufacturers and importers.

“Of course, other stakeholders such as retailers, collectors, recyclers and consumers also have their respective roles,” said Theng, who worked with the expert team put together by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to help the DoE formulate the regulation.

At present, the management and control of e-waste is regulated under the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations 2005, enforced since Aug 15, 2005.

Under this regulation, e-waste is categorised as a scheduled waste. Any importation or exportation of it is regulated under Section 34B of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and the Basel Conven­tion on the Transboundary Move­ments of Haz­ardous Waste and Disposal 1989.

The DoE said enforcement of the regulation was currently only for the management of e-waste generated from industrial premises.

“There is no legal mechanism for the control and management of e-waste generated by households.

“Also, there is no formal system for managing household e-waste in an environmentally sound management system for recovery and disposal,” it said.

According to The Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 Report by the United Nations University, Malaysia generated 8.8kg of e-waste per person in 2016, totalling 280 kilotonnes.

That year, the world produced 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste – or 6.1kg per person – which is equivalent to the weight of 4,500 Eiffel Towers.Most e-waste contains precious metals (such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium), iron, copper, aluminium and plastics that can be extracted and sold.

The report also estimated that secondary raw materials from e-waste were worth €55bil (RM254.65bil).

But much e-waste also contains rare earth, hazardous metals (such as mercury, lead and cadmium) and chemicals like chlorofluorocarbon and flame retardants.

Dumping or illegal recycling of e-waste can cause these materials to leak into the environment.

There are 87 premises with partial recovery facilities and 37 premises with full recovery facilities licensed by the DoE.

‘No law against household e-waste disposal despite risk’
The Star 30 May 19;

PETALING JAYA: No action can be taken against the low-cost, low-technology handling of e-waste because it is not against the law despite

its potential health and environmental hazards, says an environment waste management specialist. Dr Theng Lee Chong, who is also deputy chairman of the Association of Environmental Consultant and Companies of Malaysia, said there was no regulation to control household e-waste, which usually ends up in the so-called informal sector.

“This means that at the moment, there is no regulation that stops you from selling or giving your scrapped television to a scrap collector or even a charity organisation.

“That’s why a new mechanism is needed to put all these things in order and have proper controls. Then, only the enforcement will have the mandate to ensure that all e-waste is only sold to authorised collectors and is recycled at licensed facilities,” said Theng.

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