We are only at the start of this episode! Help me! Shame! Shame! Hi guys, welcome to another episode of Coffee Break,
where we will get intellectuals and me… to talk about issues in Singapore. 5, 6, 7, 8! Coffee, coffee, coffee break. – Ta-da!
– Oh… – It’s trash.
– Dirty tissues. Well, we’ve got tissue paper, which I hope… – Got someone’s mucus.
– Ew! And some waste paper. This should give you an idea about what we are talking about. We are talking about trash. This NEA official talked about the possibility of implementing a… disposal system where it’s pay-per-use. They want to track how much waste a household is producing. So it’s a pay-as-you-throw system. My first thought: How the heck are you going to do that? Because at my house, 4 units share one chute. It’s very flawed, because apparently they’ll charge you
based on the number of times you open the chute. Yeah, that’s what they said. I mean, it only works for those who have (the chute) in your house. If you want to throw one thing… you just
go to the rubbish chute and throw that one thing. So you keep going… it’s a habit. Then every time I open the chute they charge me for
the full amount of trash, but I only throw one thing. Are your rubbish chutes in your houses? – Right now, yes.
– Yours? Mine’s not. Mine’s the HDB one, which is outside. I’ve got no rubbish chute, because I stay in a landed property. It’s a dustbin outside the house. And I always throw… Wait, not me. I know people… They throw (their trash) in their neighbours’ bins. That’s terrible… You know, every time… Oh, my God. why are you crying? Shame, shame. I think that there could be a problem that would arise from this. For example, people might choose to litter instead of throwing it…
Just put it at the void deck. Then run away. Nobody will know! I remember that when I was in primary school,
I kept all my trash in my school bag. I’d then bring it home to throw it away.
Now it’s the opposite. They’ll take all their trash from home… Go out in public… Can you imagine if the parents made their kids… “Ok, you take this bag of trash, bring it to school and throw it away.”
Can you imagine if the parents made their kids… “Ok, you take this bag of trash, bring it to school and throw it away.” – Oh, my God, it’ll be like…
– You all will bring to the office. Chris! Why do you keep laughing so loudly? So, funny thing – there are other things they mentioned, like… pre-paid trash bags. So you must pay for this trash disposal bag. What this does is to let us have personal responsibility over our trash. Mmm. But imagine telling Singaporeans now. “I’m going to make all of you buy this bag, which is 20 cents more expensive…” “…for one big bag, so that we can throw the trash for you.” It’ll be a riot. The concept is still very premature. Because on one hand, you want us to reduce our trash, our waste, but on the other hand you don’t give us the means to do it. I think there’s only one supermarket in Singapore where you can go there with… your own jars and stuff to get soap and detergent… And everyone goes to Sheng Siong. You can’t go all the way to Bukit Timah just to buy washing detergent.
And everyone goes to Sheng Siong. You can’t go all the way to Bukit Timah just to buy washing detergent. One of the things this person talked about… is how it focuses on each individual’s waste. There’s a potential that your cost is actually lower than what you are paying now. For apartments it’s about $8.25. For landed properties, it’s about $27? So every house is Singapore is already paying a fee for it. It’s part of your utility bills. – Per month.
– Oh, that’s quite a lot. – It’s in your utilities.
– I didn’t know. But most of the netizens kept saying… “Wah! Like this also must pay more!” I guess everyone just kind of jumped on the
negative bandwagon and decided that this is a bad idea. The average household will open the
rubbish chute at least once or twice a day. Let’s say, $8 divided by 30 days… How much is that? 20 cents. So would you be ok if you were charged 20 cents every time you opened your rubbish chute? I can just imagine an Ah Ma (grandma) opening the chute and shouting, “Ah boy, hurry up! I open the chute very long already!” That’s a damn good idea. Some of the netizens are erring on the positive side.
That’s a damn good idea. Some of the netizens are erring on the positive side. They’re saying that we should be focusing more on educating the public. Different habits, like recycling. I feel like we don’t care after throwing away our trash. I literally see people like… …and they throw it inside the recycling bin! Who is going to clean up after you? It contaminates everything else in that bin! In Singapore, unfortunately there are no companies that do this sort of cleaning. So imagine that you’re that one person after 100 people that have recycled clean stuff. You contaminate the whole thing, and the 100 people’s efforts are wasted. I think the problems that the government is foreseeing is that… A lot of our trash goes into the landfill. The landfill, Pulau Semakau, was initially started in 1999. It was projected to last till 2046. Unfortunately, based on our current trash rate, it is envisaged to only last till 2035, which is about 11 years shorter. I think that technologies that try to close the loop is one way, I think another way is to educate people on consumption. Recycling is not enough. But I read that 70% of the Earth’s waste… is produced by companies and factories. It’s actually true. That became a topic, because when the metal straw thing became all the rage, Then people were saying, Even if every human on Earth uses a metal straw, it’s not going to make a huge difference. It’s all very noble for us to want to make a change. You can speak to a hundred thousand people
who would buy metal straws and stuff like that, buy bamboo toothbrushes, but companies will still keep on producing. When you go to the store and buy toothpaste, it comes in cardboard packaging. And it comes with the toothpaste… You can’t get toothpaste anywhere else, unless you make your own. So there aren’t a lot of ways for us to actively reduce our trash. So I feel that imposing this fine isn’t entirely fair. I’ll speak for the netizens. They’re not giving us enough outlets to save the environment, yet you want to charge us for not saving the environment. I think it’s a bit hypocritical.
yet you want to charge us for not saving the environment. I think it’s a bit hypocritical. The point of this episode is for us to realize that there is a problem, and that we might not be able to save the world individually,
The point of this episode is for us to realize that there is a problem, and that we might not be able to save the world individually, but we can try to reduce things we use. People always say, “You’re just one person. What can you do?” But I’m one person, you’re one person… if I can find 10 other people who feel that they can do something, It’ll eventually multiply. That’s what the corporations want you to think… while they continue polluting the Earth.
It’ll eventually multiply. That’s what the corporations want you to think… while they continue polluting the Earth. – Yes.
– Oh, my God… – It’s true!
– I don’t disagree. It is a reality. Now we are on the same team.
– It’s true!
– I don’t disagree. It is a reality. Now we are on the same team. But if you’re not trying yourself, it’s only going to accelerate us into a hellhole. Even if you convince a billion people, but one corporation does it,
it negates your efforts. But let’s say, for example, we stop buying their shit… – We stop chasing and consuming these items…
– The demand will be lower. They’ll have no choice but to cut their supply. A billion people who’d just buy it anyway.
They’ll have no choice but to cut their supply. A billion people who’d just buy it anyway. That doesn’t mean you cannot do your part to save it. It adds up. You say that we can make a choice, but it’s not easy for us. It’s not about governments or corporations. Ugh! So, speaking of efforts that people are taking to reduce their waste… one of the things that happened on social media recently is #trashtag. People are taking pictures of them cleaning up trash and tagging on social media. – That’s great!
– Some of the images are pretty impressive,
People are taking pictures of them cleaning up trash and tagging on social media. – That’s great!
– Some of the images are pretty impressive, in a sense that one individual making the effort to clean the trash… That one guy cleaned 10 bags of trash by himself. – Give that guy an award.
– Yes, man. He worked so hard, he took off his shirt.
– Give that guy an award.
– Yes, man. He worked so hard, he took off his shirt. It’s basically about community, right?
When people around you have the same mindset, it helps. And I think that’s something #trashtag really helps with. In fact, this trend has also started picking up in Singapore. No pun intended. People are taking the initiative to clean up the beaches. Last time, the rivers were super polluted and
the government put in so much effort to clean up. We just take it for granted. It’s an in-between… The negative point for this development is that we’ve developed so fast we’ve become so entitled. And we still expect more. That’s actually a really good thought. We shouldn’t be modeling ourselves after other countries, because… our situation is quite unique. While it’s idealistic, while it’s ideal, it’s not something we can immediately pick up. Like what Chris said – in order to implement this, we need to change all the rubbish chutes… to standardize so that they can calculate by RFID. For me, I believe that education is the way to go. I think we are able to shape the mindsets of the younger generation. And I think it’ll also start from us. Similar to what they are doing for cigarettes. They should heavily tax corporations that are producing a lot of – nonbiodegradable…
– Like a green tax. So they should increase the green tax. And make that the focus and highlight,
so that people will understand that the corporations have a part to play. If you are doing something to reduce waste in your communities, let us know because I’d like to know. This is one episode where I’m very curious to hear from you guys out there. So, as always, thank you very much for watching. You can like, share and subscribe… and watch our other episodes here! Until next time… Bye!