Seeing Green in Singapore – A Guide to Eco-Living in the City State

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These solar “supertrees” are part of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

Editors Note:  The following is a guest post from Ruth Harrison-Roberts.

If you’re someone who prefers to live life in an eco-friendly way, you may be wondering how exactly you’ll manage it in Singapore. The city-state is, after all, a very built-up place, with a dense population, busy roads and high-rise buildings dominating the skyline.

However, it was in fact designed as a garden city! You would never consider grouping it in with Letchworth and Welwyn in the UK, but the premise remains the same: soften the urban sprawl by planting trees along the highways and byways and creating parklands. And, this is one of the first things that people tend to notice when they visit Singapore – just how green it looks.

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Solar trees set to open in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

Solar SuperTrees at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

You may recall I did a series of stories earlier this year about Siingapore’s green transformation. One of these stories featured Singapore’s waterfront horticulturally-themed park Gardens by the Bay. The long awaited opening day is now just days away – set for June 29th. And one particular area the crowds is sure to seek out will be the Solar Super Trees in Bay South. Located mainly in a Supertree Grove, these 18 fantastical “tree” towers soar up to 164 feet (50 meters) in height and are embedded with photovoltaic cells to collect solar energy. They’re also entwined with a living skin of bromeliads, ferns and climbing flowers, all of which are illuminated at night. With these and the hundreds of thousands of  remarkably colorful plant species and cutting edge green features that abound throughout the park, visitors may well end up being gloriously and delightfully overwhelmed.  Gardens by the Bay, its domed conservatories, lakes and sustainable building technologies is sure to become one of Singapore’s national icons.

Gardens by the Bay – Singapore’s latest green Extravaganza

Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, photo by Craig Sheppard

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, photo by Craig Sheppard

The island nation of Singapore is passionate about green, and National Parks Singapore (nParks) has spearheaded the nation’s recent green transformation. As the government agency that conserves, creates, sustains, and enhances the Singapore’s green infrastructure, nParks has helped Singapore reach its status as the “Garden City of South East Asia.”

The creation of a green garden paradise has been underway since 2005.

To learn more about Gardens by the Bay and the innovative wonders it will feature, go to http://bit.ly/w3bsIY.

Changi Airport, Singapore’s Green Gateway

Part of the indoor gardens in Changi Airport Photo by Magunth Kumar, Flickr

Singapore’s Changi Airport, one of most highly awarded airports in the world, was reclaimed from swampland and from the sea.

In 2010, the Changi Airport Group (CAG) established an environmental management system designed to proactively protect the environment, prevent pollution, and improve environmental performance and regulatory compliance. This program is based around the ISO 14001 standard, and debuted at CAG’s and Clean and Green Singapore “Changi Goes Green” event in November 2010.

To learn about the distinctive and stunningly beautiful ways this airport has incorporated Nature within it’s facilities and to view some breathtaking pictures, see the full article at http://bit.ly/xbsd5v.

Drinking reclaimed wastewater – the pros and cons

Several years ago I got to tour the local wastewater treatment plant. Towards the end of the tour, the group I was part of was shown the machinery that did the final “scrubbing”.

In explaining the process, our guide mentioned that one of the final steps included putting the “cleaned” water through reverse osmosis. That brought the former wastewater up to drinking standards!

But is reclaimed wastewater really safe for drinking?

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Sustainable Singapore balances building and Nature

Singapore's Forest Walk is part of their continuing success to green the island-nation

With a population of over 4.4 million, Singapore is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Known at various times throughout its history as The Little Red Dot, the Lion City, and the City in the Garden, this tropical island city-state covers less than 300 square miles, over ten percent of which is land reclaimed from the sea.

Juxtaposed to this crowded urban area is also over 2,000 plant varieties, 57 types of mammals, 98 types of reptiles, and 25 varieties of amphibians. Hundreds of bird and butterfly species migrate there each year and one-third of the world’s hard coral reefs are found in its surrounding waters. The natural diversity that is Singapore includes rainforests, freshwater swamp forests, mangrove forests, and coastal forests.

To discover the amazing success of Singapore’s green efforts, see the full article at http://bit.ly/A18uHL.