Siloso Beach Resort first hotel to bag President's green award

SINGAPORE - Siloso Beach Resort on Sentosa, carved into a hillside, is alive with the hum of cicadas that live in its trees - some 200 trees that were preserved during construction nearly a decade ago.

The 200-room resort also composts its food waste to grow the lettuce and herbs used in its restaurant, has installed water-efficient showers warmed by waste heat from the air-conditioning system and has a rooftop garden that needs no watering as a plastic layer beneath the soil traps water that feeds tree roots.

For its environmental sustainability efforts, the resort, which opened in 2006, became the first hotel in Singapore to receive the President's Award for the Environment, the highest green accolade here. Its owner, businessman Ng Swee Hwa, who developed the Robertson Quay Hotel, explained how he was inspired to protect the lush forest on the site.

"If you just do business to make money, it's like eating at a buffet every night," he said in Mandarin. "You can take all the rich, expensive food but after a while, you get sick of it." Mr Ng, who is 62 and owns several privately held construction and real estate firms and other companies, added: "I wanted to do something so the next generation learns about protecting the environment." Besides Siloso Beach Resort, two schools also received the award, now in its eighth year.

Fuhua Primary School in Jurong East is known for providing practical environmental education in its curriculum at all levels. For instance, it has annual no-cleaner weeks to impress the importance of cleanliness on pupils, hanging gardens made from plastic bottles and a miniature wetland that pupils use to learn about ecology. It is the first primary school to receive the award.

Meanwhile, Dunman High School in Tanjong Rhu has long emphasised water conservation. Its students test the water quality of the Geylang River and do regular river clean-ups. President Tony Tan Keng Yam presented the awards to winners at a ceremony at the Marina Barrage yesterday evening.

Four winners of water agency PUB's Watermark Awards and eight individual winners of the National Environment Agency's EcoFriend Awards received their awards from Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the ceremony.

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