Singapore launches strategy to tackle increasing marine litter
Named the National Action Strategy on Marine Litter, its focus areas include reducing land-based and sea-based sources of litter and research and development.
The inaugural National Action Strategy on Marine Litter to motivate Singaporeans to combat marine litter was launched by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) on Sunday (Jun 5).
The strategy will focus on reducing land-based and sea-based sources of litter, preventing the production of waste, leveraging on science and technology, maintaining and strengthening outreach and stakeholder engagement, and having international engagement and collaboration.
Marine litter is a growing global challenge which can come from many sources and is a transboundary issue as litter is moved across the oceans by prevailing winds and tides, said MSE in its media release.
According to data from the National Environment Agency, 4,009 tons of floating debris (flotsam) was collected from beaches and coastal areas in 2021, an increase from 3,490 tons in 2020 and 3,640 tons in 2019.
With the use of technology, projects undertaken as part of the strategy include the deployment of autonomous flotsam clearance vessels by 2023, for which the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore ran a trial last year.
Six seabins have also been installed at the Marina Barrage Jetty to remove flotsam in the area, which is not easily accessible by boat.
Environmental groups such as Zero Waste SG, Public Hygiene Council (PHC) and Waterways Watch Society (WWS) have also organised maritime environmental outreach programmes on marine conservation, underwater cleanup, and litter-picking activities to get the public to take action and raise awareness.
To develop the strategy, MSE consulted closely with key stakeholders such as academics, representatives from Institutes of Higher Learning, ground-up organisations, members of the public, and relevant government agencies.
Discussions held amongst the stakeholders covered the strengths and gaps in Singapore’s current approach to tackling marine litter, and how individuals, organisations and the public sector can collaborate and contribute to improving the situation.
Taking the strategy as the first step in formalising the nation’s actions to address marine litter, the MSE said it will continue to work with people, public and private partners to create sustainable solutions to environmental challenges.