Trying to save the environment, 1 aluminum can at a time….

Its funny how in this environmentally conscious era, we in Singapore remain largely ignorant about saving the environment. Oh yes, there have been various government campaigns on recycling, using cfc free products, keeping our environment clean (I can still sing the cheesy jingle from the keeping the river clean ad! Yes.. the one with the frog backpaddling in the filthy Singapore River..) etc, but the general population has chosen to ignore the evidence put forth in our faces. What with movies on saving the sharks, end of the world and Discovery Channel, haven’t we had enough brains and time to realize that we are slowly killing ourselves?

It is evident in the insane weather that we have been experiencing in the past years that global warming has indeed begun to show very real effects on the common people. Many of us might not be able to process the melting of the snow caps and giant icebergs in the North Pole as having any impact on us, but now you can feel it in the intense heat when you’re out for a walk, in the numerous hurricanes that have devastated the thousands around the world and many more disasters to come.

You know, being typical Singaporeans, we are always depending on the government to come up with campaign and solutions to our problem, what we should really learn is an example from the Japanese who has a reputation of being passive aggressive, adopted this very effective method of getting their residents to go green. In this particular prefecture, there was an initiative set out that all residents trash has to be separated for recycling efforts, if one household does not comply, the entire block’s trash does not get picked up for a week. If it continues, the entire condo’s trash does not get picked up, then the entire street’s. It relies on peer pressure and the Asian mentality of not “losing face”. It has proven to be very effective!

Now, I’m no Captain Planet and I’m not one of the tree huggers who goes all hippy chick about greenpeace, but I like to think that I do my little bit for the sake of not having to burn in hell on earth in the near future (You do know that one day its all gonna burst into flames and roast us like well seasoned Nandos chicken right?…) Well firstly, in my household, we separate our trash into Glass, paper and plastics, at my café, I collect all the aluminum drink cans and give them to the cleaners who makes money from them by selling them to the recycling plant (see! Someone is benefitting already!!) I recycle my old clothes by giving them away to friends, who then in turn pass them on to relatives or their helpers and on and on.

While its all fine and dandy that we’re doing our part but what I really think we need is a collaborated effort to make recycling more convenient, because right now for example, where would we be able to take our trash after its all separated? Its not convenient to be lugging around a big bag of beer bottles to the recycling plant up in Sembawang or down to the 3 big colourful trash bins along Orchard Road… Not glam at all…….. Its fine for those living in condos, but in most estates, its really not easy to find the recycling bins.

So dear Singaporeans, lets do what we do best, complain to the govt to pressure them to put up more recycling bins, do your part by sorting your trash, turning off the bladdy aircon and lights when you’re not in the room and the next time you think of using that extra piece of toilet paper, think again… use water.. wisely….

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