'Need for trust' between people and Govt to solve environmental problems

SINGAPORE - There is a need for trust between the people and the Government in order to solve Singapore's environmental challenges, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the National University of Singapore U@live Forum, a monthly discussion featuring alumni speakers, he highlighted the three challenges which he felt lie ahead.

He listed pandemics such as Sars (the severe acute respiratory syndrome of 10 years ago), transboundary effects like this year's haze, and the warming climate and its adverse effects on food, water and energy.

He cautioned that these problems might be mere preludes of worse to come.

"There has to be a balance between commanding a sense of urgency and yet not have people panic," he said, stressing the importance of trust.

"The combination of being completely open, having a proven track record, and the sense that we are all in it together - we all breathe the same air, drink the same water, and go to the same hawker centres - will reaffirm the people's trust with the Government."

He highlighted how younger Singaporeans seem to be getting "greener" and more passionate about long-term sustainability. "There is an opportunity to show the rest of the world a working model of a sustainable future."

Held at the NUS Shaw Foundation Alumni House, the forum was attended by some 200 students, staff and alumni.


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