My time in Singapore as an eco-conscious-sustainability-backpacker, by Iona Neilson, Project Analyst Simply Sustainable
September 26, 2017

I was lucky enough to be able to take time off over the summer to go travelling, and as a self-proclaimed eco-conscious backpacker, it was hard not to consider sustainability along the way!

Singapore skyline featuring the Benjamin Sheares Bridge and Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel

As urban populations expand and competition for resources increases, Singapore was one of the many cities I visited that appreciates the challenges of sustainable development. The city is extremely committed to being green, and I think this is one of the reasons they are doing so well economically. After all, green isn’t only improving their quality of life, but it also lures international business as a consequence.

Transport is one of the sectors in particular that has received investment, and I experienced this first-hand. The city’s promotion of public transport as opposed to private, is just one of their national plans for a more liveable and sustainable Singapore. The vehicles which I did see on the road may have all been very efficient, but also very expensive. This is because the government has increased the cost of vehicle ownership in order to limit cars on the roads and improve traffic, but this has meant that only the wealthy can afford them. What’s more, I also saw very little in terms of improvement in congestion, and think that this has actually had more of an adverse effect because drivers appear to be using cars more frequently in order to get the most out of their investment.

Measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, meet the amazing Supertrees!

Singapore’s  amazing Supertrees

My welcome antidote from traffic came when I visited the Marina Gardens, a nature park spanning 250 acres of reclaimed land in  central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir, where the first thing that caught my eye were the gigantic ‘Supertrees’. And yes, they really do live up to their name! Eleven of these

Singapore’s Supertrees

Supertrees actually have environmentally sustainable functions embedded into their canopies – from photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy for lighting up the trees, to cooled conservatories that serve as air exhaust receptacles, to rainwater harvesting. These were introduced as part of their ‘Forest Cities’ scheme, as Singapore has struggled with their air quality for some time now. If you visit Singapore, I highly recommend you to go there and see them.

Singapore is making good progress in becoming a more sustainable city but it still has a while to go yet. Fingers crossed, that this vibrant and powerful business city can continue to drive change and make a difference that benefits everyone with its efforts to ‘go green’.