Question from Mr Mohamed Irshad: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Ministry has plans to directly install or encourage the installation of more water dispensers and water coolers in shopping centres, public transport stations and office buildings, to reduce the consumption of bottled water.
My Ministry encourages the installation of water dispensers and coolers in Singapore. This supports Singapore’s Zero Waste efforts by reducing the consumption of bottled water, and also supports our War on Diabetes. According to latest figures compiled by the Singapore Food Agency, we import about 17 million bottles of water per month from Malaysia alone. Given that water from the tap in Singapore is perfectly safe to drink, we can and should definitely do more to reduce consumption of bottled water.
2 The National Environment Agency (NEA) has installed water dispensers in all 26 MEWR-owned hawker centres which NEA operates, and will do so in all our upcoming new hawker centres. NEA is also working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Town Councils on providing water dispensers in the HDB-owned hawker centres, as the common areas in these centres are managed by the Town Councils.
3 Owners of other premises are also encouraged to install water dispensers and water coolers. For example, under the Green Mark for Healthier Workplaces scheme which Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) jointly developed, companies are awarded points for providing water dispensers in office premises. HPB’s Singapore HEALTH Award also recognises companies for such efforts to create a healthier workplace.
4 My Ministry also encourages all event organisers to use water dispensers and reusable cups instead of plastic bottles. Event organisers may refer to the “Best Practice Guide for organising environmentally-friendly events” that is available on the Towards Zero Waste website.