Monday, May 14, 2007

Tokyo’s recycling plant leads the way.


This article is from The Straits Times, Wednesday May 9. It is to show the world that recycling can be done efficiently and effectively and is definitely useful for saving the environment.

Although everyone is saying so much about reducing, reusing and recycling, I still feel that we as Singaporeans are not participating enough in order to lessen the impact of global warming. Many of us are using resources like paper and plastic so much as we consider their impact on the environment to be insignificant. However, Japan has stepped in to be a role model for the world as to how we can play a part to rescue our mother earth.

In my opinion, Singapore should also have the same recycling system. Since Singapore is lacking of natural resources, instead of incinerating all the rubbish that Singapore produces, we can turn these unwanted garbage into resources for new products. As from the article, this way of dealing with garbage is like ‘killing two birds with one stone – extracting scarce resources from garbage for reuse and, in the process, sharply reducing the amount of garbage that needs to be buried in landfills.’ It can also be turned into recycled sand and other useful materials for the construction industry, solving the problem of the lack of sand for new buildings.

However, I feel that this way of treating the waste materials are not only costly, there will not be many people wanting to work in these conditions. Imagine spending hours handpicking materials from garbage that can be used for recycling. It will not be a job that a high scoring student will want. Although this may be true, I think that this will instead be a good opportunity for people who have difficulties finding jobs. In my opinion, the handicapped or the old people could be employed if recycling plants would to be set up in Singapore. Again, it will be killing two birds with one stone – solving unemployment and at the same time, easing pressure on the atmosphere and landfills.

But, it is also easier said than done. Not all materials can be reused. Furthermore, using these recycled sand for construction, although environmentally friendly, may not be as cheap as the normal construction sand used. More time, work and energy will also be needed to produce these recycled sand, defeating the purpose of reusing garbage.

I may not be very sure as to how Singapore treats the waste materials it produces and how well we do it. However, I strongly encourage Singapore to consider following the footsteps of Japan in order to solve the city’s waste problems, nurture the country’s environmental industry and turn Singapore into a country with self-sufficient resources.

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