The seeds of sustainability were sown during our Tree Planting Day on 11 December 2021. The annual event was held in the soon-to-be completed community space at Tampines Neighbourhood 2 (N2) Centre, Connect@N2. This year, due to safe management measures, residents joined our MPs in the tree planting ceremony, using a DIY gardening kit issued prior to the event, from the comfort of their own homes via livestreams in Zoom and Facebook Live.
Five Lempoyang Paya trees were planted by the MPs of Tampines GRC, next to Block 201B Tampines Street 21. They are Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs; Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministries of Health and Manpower; Mr Desmond Choo, Mayor of North East District; Mr Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Ms Cheng Li Hui, Chairman of Tampines Town Council. Together, they poured water over the plaque, washing away the uppermost layer of soil to reveal the community space’s new name, Connect@N2.
Connect@N2 encapsulates the vibrancy of the Tampines community, as evidenced by how enthusiastic residents came together to give the new community space its name. Two names were shortlisted and Connect@N2 won both the hearts and minds of residents, emerging as the winner in the public voting phase.
During the event, residents was given a preview of the new amenities that they can look forward to enjoying in Connect@N2. There will be an allotment garden, children’s playground and basketball court, all will be ready by 2022. The Tampines Town Council also launched ground-breaking technologies and solutions for town projects. They include repurposing waste to build essential amenities to revolutionising urban farming methods to strengthen the local food supply.
Ms Cheng Li Hui, Chairman of Tampines Town Council and Sustainability Champion (of Action for Green Towns) for Tampines, commented: “While it is important to embrace innovations when building a greener and more sustainable Tampines, we must always engage residents through community-driven programmes. We will continue to take in more ideas from residents and put them into action. Everyone can play a part to transform Tampines into Singapore’s model Eco-Town by 2025.”
A New Community Space to Connect@N2
Centred around a botanical floral theme, Connect@N2 features a three-generational space comprising a basketball court, a playground and an allotment garden.
A game of basketball with your neighbours and friends will become a reality with the completion of the basketball court in the near future. The basketball court is designed in the colour scheme of green and yellow to reflect the botanical theme of the entire site. The sports coating provides good grip with an anti-slip surface for active and safe play.
Instead of being cooped up at home, the younger generation can enjoy a brief respite at the children’s playground. They will probably be enchanted by the magical garden theme, with botanic elements such as leaves, stems, vines and flowers incorporated into its design. The large, colourful floral patterns on the ground create a larger-than-life experience. Children can climb the tower of vines, slide down into the bed of flowers and hop from flower to flower. Exploring the magical garden in countless ways will enhance their creativity and imagination.
The allotment garden beckons with a lush green paradise teeming with assorted leafy vegetables and medicinal plants. Planters of different heights cater to residents of all ages. Trellises rise from the planter boxes to allow climbing plants to grow. The overall colour scheme of green and yellow is a dynamic reflection of verdant greens with abundance of sunshine in a typical botanical setting.
NEWSand, Repurposing Waste into Eco-friendly Construction Material
In 2020, around 1,900 tonnes of incineration ash and non-incinerable waste were landfilled each day. At the current rate, the landfill on Semakau Island is expected to run out of space by 2035. Therefore, Singapore aims to achieve by 2030, a 30 per cent reduction from the amount of incineration ash and non-incinerable waste per capita per day that was sent there in 2018.
The production and use of NEWSand will help to extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill. NEWSand is a form of construction aggregate derived from the treatment of processed waste, also known as incineration bottom ash. One form of NEWSand is vitrified, glass-like slag produced from the high temperature gasification of municipal solid waste at Nanyang Technological University’s Waste-to-Energy Research Facility, which is co-funded by the National Environment Agency (NEA).
The concrete floor finish of the allotment garden in the new community space, Connect@N2, is built using a form of NEWSand, an eco-friendly material made from processed waste. Tampines is the first town in Singapore to use NEWSand as a construction material for amenities in a neighbourhood centre.
Bringing ‘Future Food Functional’ Edible Greens to Your Doorstep
Exotic herbal plants and edible greens of higher nutritional density are the fruits of continuous research in state-of-the-art plant science technologies. The collaboration of Tampines Town Council with Temasek Polytechnic’s Centre for Research and Opportunities in Plant Science (CROPS) and GRAIN (Global Resources and Agricultural innovations Network) International began three years ago. The allotment garden exemplifies the synergism of these flourishing research disciplines that benefit our Tampines community.
“I am a plant breeder. I know what genes are bad for the plants and how these can be modified. So what we do is we use non-GMO (genetically modified organism) techniques to modify the [bad] genes to increase the nutritional content in these plants. That enhances the nutritional density in these plants by almost twofold,” Dr Mandar Godge, plant scientist from CROPS and Temasek Polytechnic researcher and lecturer, explained. The beneficial traits of crop plants are enhanced without genetic modification to yield heavier harvests and pack a bigger nutritional punch.
He added: “No pesticides, insecticides are used. Our edible greens are organic. That is the direction for food security that we want to take Singapore into. [These methods of farming] are easy to replicate. And we want farmers to adopt these technologies because only then the functional value will come in for the farmers as well as the community.”
The ‘Future Food Functional’ edible greens are filled with antioxidants and other essential nutraceuticals beneficial for phytotherapy. Phytotherapy is the use of edible greens to treat or manage diverse health problems from acute cold and flu, stress and pain to more severe chronic illnesses like diabetes.
Tampines Town Council aims for all households in Tampines to have the tools and know-how to grow their very own ‘Future Food Functional’ edible greens. Ultimately, everyone in Tampines can contribute to the community’s food resilience.
Eco-Park Bench: Closing the Plastic Waste Loop
In 2020, Singapore generated a staggering 868,000 tonnes of plastic waste. Only 4 per cent is recycled. The collaboration between Temasek Polytechnic’s Centre for Urban Sustainability (CUS) and Tampines Town Council aims to close the plastic waste loop by engaging residents to contribute plastic waste, and using it to manufacture Eco-Park Benches.
The Eco-Park Bench is manufactured using recycled plastic waste and cementitious composites. The use of recycled plastic waste helps to reduce the weight and material costs of the bench in comparison to conventional cementitious-based materials. Approximately 1 kg of plastic waste is recycled to produce one Eco-Park Bench. The Tampines Town Council aims to install Eco-Park Benches in every park and garden in the next five years, and will step up its plastic recycling exercise to involve schools in the neighbourhood. You can find an Eco-Park Bench in Tampines Park now.
The highlight in the development of a novel building material is that natural aggregate, such as sand, is being substituted with recycled mixed plastic waste. “This is very meaningful, it is like plowing what is collected as plastic waste and then putting it back for usage, rather than returning to landfill, which will be environmentally unfriendly,” espoused Dr Wong Sook Fun, Head, Centre for Urban Sustainability (CUS). Anti-corrosive property is also considered in the fabrication, as the Eco-Park Benches are exposed to natural elements such as the rain and sun.
“We are encouraged to take this even further in our research. We also look into the life cycle assessment. So after the service life of these benches, we will explore recycling them again for second and subsequent lives. In fact, plastic is really durable, tough and resilient like all of us. So it is a good material, not really a waste. It is a treasure to us,” she said.
As a resident of Tampines for 28 years, Dr Wong emphasised that sustainability means a lot to her as well. “I want to make a difference in the ways we handle waste and reduce carbon footprint. Sustainability is everything. If you just stop there and let the situation deteriorate, then we are doing a disservice for our next generation,” Dr Wong commented.
In Tampines, PLASTIC IS FANTASTIC
Help us close the plastic waste loop by contributing the following:
Containers for laundry, detergent, bleach, shampoo, milk, as well as, squeeze bottles, flexible tubing, Tupperware, syrup bottles, yoghurt tubs, cups and disposable cutlery (cleared and coloured).
We will share your contributions with Temasek Polytechnic, and they will turn your trash into treasures like this Eco-Park Bench.
Please deposit your plastic waste at the following locations:
A gentle reminder: please wash your plastic containers properly!