Type: Definition Essays
Sample donated: Dan Chambers
Last updated: September 11, 2019
Question 1: “The most effective way to achieveenvironmental sustainability is through government legislation and punitivefines.” Discuss. What is environmental sustainability? In an ideal world, an environmentallysustainable country would have biological systems that remain diverse andproductive indefinitely.
For this to happen, man has to be respectful of theenvironment and interact with it responsibly to avoid depleting or degradingnatural resources, allowing for long-term environmental quality. Today, with China and India driving globaleconomic growth with over 6% and 7%GDP growth rate respectively, many countries areexperiencing rapid industrial development, which leads to the accelerated diminutionof natural resources. Without the application of environmental sustainabilitymethods such as selective logging and sustainable agriculture, long-termviability will be compromised. Therefore, practices that aid environmentalsustainability, from small ones like recycling to bigger ones like plantingmore trees, are crucial in order to provide for the needs of today’s populationwithout jeopardizing the needs of the future generations. A look at Singapore’s currentenvironmental state Being a small country that is obsessed overits relevance to the wider world, Singapore sets big targets for itself inhopes of retaining a competitive edge over global rivals. This mindset andstrategy seems to have served the country well so far. After all, this “LittleRed Dot” has managed to make a reputation for itself as one of the leading hubsin Asia for services ranging from finance to air transit in just the short spanof 50 years. Today, Singapore is recognized as one of the region’s mosteconomically competitive, modern and livable cities.
However, all of this comeswith a hefty price tag. With any type of economic progress comes increasedstress on the environment. Singapore’sall-time average GDP annual growth rate currently stands at 6.66%, with expertspredicting the expansion of the economy to remain constant amidst steady global growth.
A jointstudy by the National University of Singapore and University of Adelaide thattook three years to complete found that Singapore’s headlong rush intodeveloping a modern megalopolis over the last 30 years has taken a terribletoll on its natural environment. Singapore’s rapid development has seen it lose90% of its forest, 67% of its birds, around 40% of its mammals and 5% of itsamphibians and reptiles. To make matters worse, Singapore has frequently been citedas having one of the highest per capita carbon emissions globally by the EnergyInformation Administration (EIA). Latest EIA data taken in 2006 indicated thatSingapore emitted 141 million tonnes of carbon emissions, ranking it as the33rd-highest emitter of greenhouse gases out of 215 countries. As a small and denselypopulated island with no natural resources, Singapore’s sustainable policiesare focused on four key areas: 1) building a sustainable economy, 2) creating asustainable living environment, 3) ensuring sustainable development for ourpeople and 4) contributing to international collaboration.
Examples of environmentally sustainablepractices adopted by Singapore and legislations passed Recycling: Private residentialdevelopers must install dual chutes in developments taller than four storeys;one for recyclable waste and another for non-recyclables such as food wastewith effect from 1st April 2018. Applications to develop privateapartments must also come with plans for pneumatic waste conveyance systems ifthe development has 500 residential units or more. New private apartments willalso come with two refuse chutes. First introduced in 2014 in newer blocks ofpublic housing flats, these chutes have since tripled recyling rates. Pollution: With effect from 1stJanuary 2018, a new Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) will replace the CarbonEmissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS). Under the scheme, car buyers will berewarded with tiered rebates depending on the amount of emissions the carproduces. Together, the NEA andLTA have also lowered the maximum amount of acceptable emissions and added fourmore pollutants – hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides andparticulate matter – to the banding criteria. The new VES scheme will nowassign banding to new cars, taxis and newly imported used cars based on theworst performing pollutant instead of the quantity of carbon emissions.
Legislations and punitive fines: – Starting 2018, industrial firmsmust employ internationally recognised methodologies and standards (e.g. WorldResources Institue’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol) to measure and report theirgreenhouse gas emissions.
– From 2019, power producers andlarge carbon emitters in Singapore will have to pay a tax for each tonne ofcarbon they release, a pioneer national carbon pricing scheme in Southeast Asia – Promise to reduce emissionsintensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030 as part of the Paris Agreement The above-mentioned are just the tip of theiceberg in showing Singapore’s sincerity in moving towards a green andenvironmentally sustainable society. By prioritising sustainability, Singapore will stand a better chance ofrealising its ambition of being a leading smart nation in a more meaningful way. Comparing Singapore with South Korea South Korea is one of the few countries extremelycommitted to growing in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. In2008, their president, Lee Myung-bak, hailed “low-carbon, green growth” as thenation’s new guiding economic development philosophy. He stressed that environmentalstewardship is the most important engine for economic growth. Like Singapore, South Korea has become an economic powerhouse and oneof the world’s largest economies (15th to be exact) in less than 50years.
Their industrial and manufacturing sectors took off in the 1970s and theecosystem was neglected in their pursuit of economic development. Between 1990and 2005, their greenhouse gas emmisions almost doubled, setting a record highamong OECD countries. This served as a wake-up call to the South Koreangovernment and they soon passed a number of environmental laws such as emissionrestrictions, significantly improving the country’s air quality. Korea was a pioneer inenshrining green growth in its national development strategy. During the globalfinancial crisis in 2008, they dedicated 80% of their fiscal stimulus packageto green growth projects, emphasizing on infrastructure and transportation. In2009, they announced that they would be investing US$85 billion in clean energytechnologies and impletmenting their green growth plan. Not only will thisbolster a clean-tech export industry, but it will also create more than onemillion new jobs. Their emphasis on environmental sustainability is oftencredited for their early recovery from the economic crisis.
Today, Korea is showcasing green growth inaction and is aiming to be a leader in green technology. I would say that Koreais more successful in developing sustainably. Their strict regulations rangingfrom nature preservation to waste treatment is something that Singapore couldlearn from to more efficiently useand manage natural resources. Conclusion Looking at the positiveoutcomes of the environmental schemes and initiatives that Singapore and Korea haveput in place, I therefore conclude that government legislation and punitivefines is the most effective way of achieving environmental sustainability. 1103wordsReferences Gillaspy, Rebecca. “EnvironmentalSustainability: Definition and Application.” Study.com, Study.
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