SINGAPORE – Some 13,000 residents volunteered to make the North West district cleaner and greener last year, the annual North West Sustainability Report, released by the North West Community Development Council (CDC), showed on Monday (Sept 23).

The report, now in its third edition, monitors and measures the green initiatives that the North West CDC has undertaken within the community.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who was at the unveiling of the report at the Singapore Sustainability Academy in City Square Mall, said he was encouraged to see young people taking an active role in sustainability, and praised the climate rally held in Hong Lim Park over the weekend.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Without a healthy planet, there is no future for our children; and that is why it’s not surprising that young people around the world are very seized by this issue,” said Mr Wong.

“We just had our own climate rally in Singapore too, and I think it’s right that young people are seized by this issue because it will affect their future.”

Mr Wong is an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC which along with Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Nee Soon GRC, Sembawang GRC and Bukit Panjang SMC make up North West District.

Some 10,000 students in the North West district take part in an annual programme that teaches proper recycling techniques and facilitates the setting up of recycling points within their schools. The programme was initiated by the North West CDC in collaboration with SembWaste and the National Environment Agency.

Since 2011, the Buddhist charity, Tzu Chi Foundation, has also been helping to run 23 recycling points around the district every second Sunday of the month.

Residents learn first-hand about recycling through sorting of their own items.

Some 573,000kg of recyclables have been collected from these points so far, with the proceeds from the sale of the items going to humanitarian needs.

“It is a duty to protect mother Earth and you need everyone to join when it comes to recycling,” Tzu Chi Singapore chief executive Low Swee Seh told The Straits Times.

“Not just recycle, but reduce and reuse items. If everyone can do that, then our environment will be better.”

The Tzu Chi Foundation was among 264 corporate and community partners who worked with the North West CDC last year on green initiatives such as boosting recycling rates and keeping killer litter at bay.

North West District Mayor Teo Ho Pin said: “We will continue to collaborate with our residents, volunteers and partners to co-create sustainable programmes; as a community let us continue to work closely and strive towards a more sustainable Singapore.”