“Today, I’m proud to say that Singapore is one of the cleanest and most liveable cities in the world”, said Mr Masagos Zulkifi, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. “But the hard truth is that we are still dependent on our army of 58,000 cleaners who clean up our housing estates, roads, public walkways and waterways every day. How confident are we that we will remain clean without them?”
Reinforcing the message that everyone needs to take personal responsibility in keeping Singapore’s public spaces clean, Mr Masagos made his opening speech at the launch of the “Keep Clean, Singapore!” 2019, which was held at Bedok Town Square on Sunday, 28 April 2019¹.
The launching ceremony was organised by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC), a government body with the vision of creating a Singapore where everyone has the deeply held value of keeping public spaces clean². This year, PHC will partner with 350 organisations to conduct over 500 clean-up activations across Singapore.
Among three key initiatives launched by PHC, the first is to establish a network of champions named R.I.S.E. R.I.S.E stands for Reach-Inspire-Synergise-Empower³. Comprising of 24 non-governmental organisations, student eco groups, uniform groups and public agencies, this network will work together to conduct regular clean-up activities in various locations such as housing estates, beaches, and parks.
ASEZ, the University Student Volunteer Group of the World Mission Society Church of God, is among the members of R.I.S.E as well. ASEZ makes efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spearheaded by the United Nations by organising worldwide environmental campaigns. ASEZ is a group of global university student volunteers that carry out the SAVE Movement in 175 countries and recently received the US President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold award) in December 2018. The SAVE Movement is an acronym for Social Service, Awareness Raising, Victim Relief and Environment Protection. Specifically under the category of Environmental Protection, ASEZ seeks to take the lead in protecting the environment by launching campus cleanup campaigns at the levels of city, region, and nation, so that we may protect the entire Earth ultimately.
Committed to drive the Keep Singapore Clean Movement, ASEZ was also invited to the “Keep Clean, Singapore! 2019 Launching Ceremony. A token of recognition was also presented to ASEZ for our commitment to being a R.I.S.E partner.
A cleanup activity was also conducted around the housing estate of Bedok Town Square at noon. ASEZ members facilitated this session by briefing the rest of the volunteers from other organisations about the do-s and don’t-s and distributed trash bags, gloves and thongs. Despite being the younger participants, ASEZ members took the lead in setting good example in picking up trash in the vicinity. Shedding beads of sweat with burning passion and beautiful smiles, volunteers picked up little trash such as bottle caps, cigarette butts, and tissue papers left on the floor.
Local news Channel 8 also covered this launching ceremony and captured several ASEZ members in action picking up litter.
Chairman of Public Hygiene Council, Mr Edward D’Silva, was among the VIPs present for this launching ceremony. “Some of them are passionate about zero waste, or recycling, but do not have a platform to promote their activities. Through our conduits and channels of communication, they can publicise their causes and have a greater effect,” said Mr D’Silva⁴ who was pleased to see members of ASEZ and specially thanked the participants.
“Let us all do our part to keep our living and shared spaces clean, not just for ourselves, but especially for our loved ones”, said Mr Masagos, closing his speech at the launching ceremony. With the love of God the Mother, members of ASEZ will strive to deliver Mother’s heartwarming love to our neighbours through volunteer activities. As a partner of R.I.S.E, ASEZ will continue to play our part in keeping Singapore clean through various volunteer activities organised by PHC.