S ingapore’s limited resources such as water and land make it necessary for the country to aptly and strategically ensure sustainable development.
Enter PUB and NEA, the two agencies that help ensure a sustainable water supply and liveable environment for Singaporeans. National Environment and Water (NEW) Scholars Lee Xin Min and Lim Jing Xian take some time out of their busy schedules to tell us how they contribute to protecting our environment for present and future generations.
Lim Jing Xian
National Environment and Water Local Scholar
Engineer, Water Supply (Network) Department,
Network Design and Construction Division
Why did you decide on the NEW Scholarship?
Lee Xin Min: As I was exploring my options for scholarships and university courses, the opportunity to pursue a degree in environmental engineering with the NEW Scholarship appealed to me.
It is fascinating how diverse and multi-faceted the work in NEA is – from dealing with the haze, to hawker centres, to waste management, to the ‘5-step Mozzie Wipeout’. The work NEA does has left a tangible impact on many aspects of people’s daily lives, and the strong sense of purpose in safeguarding the environment resonated with me. I felt that my work would not only be for Singapore, but also for the environment as a whole for many generations to come.
Lim Jing Xian: At that time, I was choosing between pursuing a degree in civil engineering and pursuing one in geography. Hence, I explored scholarship options which encompassed both disciplines, and the NEW scholarship was one of them.
Eventually, I chose the NEW scholarship because of the great experience I had during the NEW internship. The internship gave me an insider’s glimpse of what PUB does and what its people are like. The diverse and challenging nature of the work PUB does and the hospitability of its people affirmed my decision to take up the offer.
Tell us about NEA/PUB’s role in managing issues pertaining to environmental sustainability.
Xin Min: Singapore’s waste management landscape includes a comprehensive and efficient system for waste collection and disposal. On top of its regulatory role, NEA also develops the necessary infrastructure and spearheads initiatives to ensure a clean and green environment for Singapore.
I hope to play a part in exploring new, sustainable solutions and applying them to Singapore’s environment, whether it is coming up with innovative ways to promote the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) or working out new policies to transform waste into resource.
Jing Xian: PUB looks at the long-term planning of Singapore’s water needs. As Singapore continues to grow and develop, our water infrastructure has to keep up with the rising water demand so that Singaporeans can continue to enjoy an efficient, adequate, and sustainable supply of water. At the same time, the demand for water needs to be managed properly so that Singaporeans do not take our water supply for granted.
We are conscious of the need to build ahead, yet also aware that the people’s needs should not be excessive. This is where the pipe laying project I’m involved in comes in as it will serve to meet the future higher water demand in the city area.
Tell us more about your job.
Xin Min: I am in the Planning section of the Waste & Resource Management Department in NEA. Besides being involved in formulating new, long-term strategies for waste management (specifically food waste, packaging waste, and e-waste), I also carry out secretariat duties for the Singapore Packaging Agreement and coordinate with F&B retailers on our food waste reduction programme.
Lee Xin Min
National Environment and Water Overseas Scholar
Waste and Resource Management Department
Jing Xian: I am an Engineer with the Network Design and Construction Division of the Water Supply (Network) Department. Currently, I am involved in the management of a major pipe laying project. This new pipeline will be used to augment the future higher water demand of the city area.
Management of such a large-scale project entails working together with consultants to design and finalise the pipeline alignment, liaison with different authorities for submissions and approvals, procurement of construction tenders and subsequent supervision of the contractors when construction works are carried out, as well as engagement of various stakeholders and dealing with feedback.
What do you look forward to in the future?
Xin Min: I look forward to seeing Singapore become a leading example in sustainability, where there are sound policies to guide sustainable practices, and more importantly, develop an environmentally-conscious society where sustainability is a way of life.
Jing Xian: The first thing I am looking forward to is the commencement of works for the pipe laying project which I am involved in. During the construction phase, there will be more chances to be at the work site and observe the works. There will also be more challenges faced. All these will help me to learn and develop personally and technically. Beyond that, I hope that I will be able to gain more technical knowledge and be able to apply what I have learnt so that Singaporeans continue to enjoy a good supply of water.