National Environment Agency

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National Environment Agency of Singapore
Nealogo.png
Refreshed logo of NEA
Agency overview
Formed 1 July 2002
Jurisdiction Government of Singapore
Headquarters 40 Scotts Road, #13-00 Environment Building, Singapore 228231
Agency executives Chew Gek Khim, Chairman
Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer[1]
Parent agency Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources
Website http://www.nea.gov.sg
The headquarters of the National Environment Agency, Singapore is located at Environment Building on Scotts Road.

National Environment Agency (Abbreviation: NEA; Chinese: 国家环境局; Malay: Agensi Sekitaran Kebangsaan) formed on 1 July 2002, is a statutory board under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources in Singapore.

NEA is a leading public organisation responsible for improving and sustaining a clean and green environment in Singapore. It develops and spearheads environmental initiatives and programmes through its partnership with the People, Public and Private sectors. It is committed to motivating every individual to take up environmental ownership and to care for the environment as a way of life.

By protecting Singapore's resources from pollution, maintaining a high level of public health and providing timely meteorological information, the NEA endeavours to ensure sustainable development and a quality living environment for present and future generations.

Organisation[edit]

NEA comprises three operational divisions:

  • Environmental Public Health
  • Environmental Protection
  • Meteorological Service Singapore

Environmental Public Health Division[edit]

The Environmental Public Health Division conducts comprehensive ground surveillance and takes preventive measures to ensure a high standard of public health and hygiene. It is responsible for the overall cleanliness in Singapore and imposes a high standard of hygiene requirements on the food retail industry. It also implements the Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme (HUP) and the Clean Public Toilets Programme. It also implements the smoking ban in places such as hawker centres, food shops, shopping centres, factories and offices; and conducts vector control against mosquitoes and rats, which is particularly crucial given the region's susceptibility to dengue fever.

Environmental Protection Division[edit]

The Environmental Protection Division aims to protect the environment by implementing programmes to monitor, reduce and prevent environmental pollution. It is also responsible for providing refuse disposal services through four waste-to-energy incineration plants and an off-shore sanitary landfill. To conserve energy resources and landfill space, the division implements programmes to minimise waste generation, and maximise recycling and energy conservation.

Meteorological Service Singapore[edit]

The Meteorological Service Singapore provides weather information to support public health and socio-economic activities. It also issues haze alerts and provides vital meteorological services to the aviation and maritime communities and the military. MSS is also on tsunami watch as part of a regional network set up after several coastal areas in Asia were devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

Highlights of environmental activities[edit]

Dengue fever[edit]

Marketing materials distributed to the public on dengue prevention

NEA adopts a multi-pronged approach – which includes surveillance and enforcement, community outreach and education, and research -to tackle vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever. Most recently, it rolled out educational home visits, where NEA officers visit homes in areas where there are less than 10 dengue cases, to educate residents on how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in their homes. During these visits, the officers will highlight all potential mosquito breeding grounds in that particular home and the corrective measures the resident needs to undertake. No enforcement action will be taken against the resident for any mosquito breeding found on such visits.

This approach has yielded good results, with Singapore successfully avoiding a serious dengue outbreak,as experienced in 2005 when 14, 209 people were infected with the fever. From 2007 – 2011, the number of dengue cases were 8,826; 7,031; 4,497; 5,363; and 5,330 respectively.

Public hygiene and cleanliness[edit]

NEA plays an important role in overseeing the cleansing of public areas in Singapore. NEA takes a three-pronged approach to keeping our environment clean, which includes: Public Cleansing; Public Education and Enforcement. NEA maintain an effective system of public cleansing to keep Singapore clean and prevent environment-related diseases. The cleansing of public roads and pavements is largely carried out by contractors engaged by the NEA.

The NEA works closely with their "3P Partners" (the people, public and private sectors) to promote anti-littering practices and to encourage members of the community to take ownership of their litter and keep their surroundings clean. Regular checks on food establishments, swimming pools and public toilets are carried out to ensure that a high standard of hygiene is maintained.

Climate change and energy efficiency[edit]

In April 2006, Singapore announced accession to the Kyoto Protocol. As a non-Annex I country, Singapore does not have targets set under KP, but it is eligible to participate in carbon credit exchanges arising from approved Clean Development Mechanism projects conducted in the country. The National Environment Agency is the designated authority coordinating CDMs. It is also spearheading ongoing measures to encourage energy-efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

In April 2008, NEA launched the 10% Energy Challenge to get households to cut their electricity consumption by at least 10%. As part of this campaign, NEA collaborated with grassroots organizations and charities to train volunteers to conduct energy audits and identify wasteful energy consumption habits.

A study conducted by NEA showed that energy-efficient air conditioners and refrigerators generally have lower lifecycle costs compared to inefficient ones. This has helped to correct the perception that energy efficient models are more expensive. On 11 September 2009, NEA signed a landmark Voluntary Agreement with 16 major retailers and suppliers, to provide more energy efficient appliances and encourage more Singapore households to purchase them.

Under the Voluntary Agreement, participating retailers and suppliers will voluntarily commit to achieving targets set out by the NEA, including retiring stock of energy inefficient models and introducing more 3- and 4-tick models, so that energy efficient models form at least 50% of their model range after six months, and 60% of their model range after one year. Signatories also voluntarily commit to promote energy efficient appliances, as well as improve the availability and affordability of energy efficient appliances available in their stores.

Waste management[edit]

Since independence, Singapore's growing population and economy have resulted in a large increase in solid waste. In 1970, about 1,300 tonnes per day of solid waste were disposed of. This increased to 7000 tonnes per day by 2006, a 6-fold increase from 1970.

To address the solid waste problem, Singapore has put in place an integrated solid waste management system that ensures that all waste that are not recycled, are collected and disposed of safely at waste-to-energy incineration plants or at the offshore sanitary landfill (Semakau Landfill) in the case of non-incinerable waste.

As a result, overall recycling rate has increased from 40% in 2000 to 56% in 2008. Waste growth has also been curtailed. The total waste (domestic and non-domestic) disposed of in 2008 was 7,179 tonnes per day, an 6% reduction as compared to 2000. As a result, the lifespan of Semakau Landfill has increased from 25–30 years to 35–40 years.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Semakau Landfill — a unique sanitary landfill with rich biodiversity that has been lauded internationally as an engineering feat — NEA launched a commemorative book, entitled " Habitats in Harmony: The Story of Semakau Landfill" in August 2009. It provides an insight into the planning, design and construction of the world’s first-of-its-kind offshore landfill, as well as Singapore’s waste management strategies. It also showcases the success of NEA in striking a harmonious balance between managing the country’s disposal needs and preserving the natural habitats on the landfill. More than 780 species of plants and animals can be found in five natural habitats of Semakau, namely: the mangroves, grasslands, seagrass meadows, inter-tidal reef flats and coral reefs.

Controversies[edit]

There has been questions on the neutrality of NEA and the agency may have been politically utilized to agitate the Worker's Party.[2][3] Most recently on 30 January 2014 - Lunar New Year's Eve - it served a summons to the Town Council of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council to appear in court over an unapproved fair.[4] This was not the first time the NEA has been directly or indirectly involved in a dispute with the Worker's Party.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]