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Singapore’s Year of Climate Action a success: Masagos

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About 800 green initiatives organised here this year

Art competitions, apps to track carbon footprints and outreach programmes to encourage recycling helped make Singapore's Year of Climate Action a success.

The campaign to rally Singaporeans together to work towards a sustainable Singapore saw about 800 climate action-related events initiated and organised here.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli acknowledged these collective efforts on climate action yesterday at the Year of Climate Action Appreciation Lunch, held at Orchard Hotel.

He said these efforts were part of the "overwhelming support from the ground", with green initiatives championed by individuals, schools, businesses, non-profit organisations as well as organisations in the public and private sector.

Mr Masagos, calling the campaign a success, also referred to the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources-sponsored Climate Action SG Pledge, which has garnered more than 300,000 signatures so far.

The pledge was launched in January, for individuals and organisations to make a public commitment to action.

Among the many private-sector businesses which took part in the Year of Climate Action was PacificLight, a Singapore-based power generator and electricity retailer.

Non-profit organisations also did their bit for the environment. Among them was Tzu Chi Foundation, whose chief executive officer Low Swee Seh spearheaded its efforts.

Almost 5,000 people have visited the foundation's eco-awareness centre in Woodlands, which opened in September.

It educates the public on recycling through photographic displays.

Mr Low said: "We wanted to educate members of the public on recycling through photographic displays.

"We have a mission to protect Mother Earth, which we have been doing for over 25 years now."

Also significant was Fuhua Primary School's annual National Photography Competition, themed Sustainable Singapore this year, with students being encouraged to raise awareness of environmental conservation through photography.

These initiatives are even more crucial now, in the light of the findings of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Mr Masagos said the report was a "sobering reminder of the potentially devastating effects of climate change".

The minister mentioned efforts already in place to mitigate effects of climate change, including the Government's implementation of a carbon pricing act - which will come into force on Jan 1 - among others.

Mr Masagos said, however, that it appeared there is only latent awareness among Singaporeans that climate change leads to higher temperatures and extreme weather conditions, such as Singapore's spell of drought in 2015.

He said: "It is important to raise national awareness and the urgency to act - and act together."