SINGAPORE – Singapore’s greening journey marked a milestone on Thursday with the planting of 50 trees at Punggol Waterway Park, 59 years after founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew launched the first Tree Planting campaign in 1963.

Speaking at the event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her ministry, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said Singapore’s pioneer leaders had sought to balance environmental protection with economic growth and social inclusion.

This was even before sustainable development became a global concern, she added.

“We were one of the first countries to form a Ministry of the Environment to tackle issues in pollution and environmental health,” she said.

It was renamed¬†the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) in 2020, to reflect the Government’s emphasis on sustainability and the country’s commitment towards climate action.

In her speech, Ms Fu described Singapore’s sustainability story as truly remarkable.

“From the clean-up of the Singapore River to fostering a Clean and Green Singapore, our green efforts have significantly improved the liveability of our little island for our people.

“We made Newater a reality and invested in our water infrastructure to ensure a resilient supply of clean water,” she said, adding that waste collection and recycling efforts have also strengthened.

Ms Fu said the greening of Singapore will continue with improvements to water treatment capability and resilience, and also by protecting the coastlines, improving public hygiene, and growing the country’s local food production capability.

All this while the Republic transits towards a circular economy, with trash turned into treasure through the Zero Waste Masterplan, she added.

Thursday’s event saw around 100 civil servants and political office holders plant 50 trees at the park in Singapore’s first eco-town, Punggol.

The trees planted included critically endangered species asam gelugor (garcinia atroviridis) and pianggu (horsfieldia irya), as well as native vulnerable species penarahan tandok (knema curtisii).

Each tree planted contributes towards the OneMillionTrees movement, said MSE.

The movement seeks to transform Singapore into a City in Nature by planting a million trees across Singapore between now and 2030.