Cleaner Production in Singapore

Country Profile

The Republic of Singapore is the only island city-state in Southeast Asia lying one degree off the equator. Lying on an area of 719 kilometer squared, the country has a population of 5.5 million as per the 2015 estimate. The unitary multiparty republic has a Westminster system of parliamentary governance with the People’s Action Party having ruled the country ever since 1959. The country relies mostly on investments and commerce for its growth and has been rated as the easiest place to do business. Despite there being income inequalities, most of the citizens own homes due to the incidence of low taxes. The per capita income amounts to above 82000 dollars making it among the leading countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product. Agricultural production is limited in the country and most of the food used by the citizens is imported from other countries. In contrast, industrial production is on an increase and is one of the major contributors to the national income.


Environmental issues in Singapore

One of the main issues in Singapore is the air pollution and carbon emissions from the industrial processes in the country. Over the recent past, activities in the industrial fronts have increased thereby raising concern over the quality of the air in the country (Mol & Buuren, 2003). In addition to the issue of carbon emissions, Singapore is faced with the threat of deforestation due to the increasing urbanization. Part of this problem is occasioned by the fact that the country is small and the growth in income means that every piece of land is up for grabs. Although the government has averted this issue by planting trees, the problem still persists to date. There is also an issue with water resource management owing to the dense population of the country. In a bid to solve the issue of water resource management, the country faces the risk of contamination as sewage and clean water usually come into contact resulting in environmental and health concerns. There is also the issue of noise pollution from the many industries and locomotives that ply the country. The growth in industries is also a concern as it leads to the issue of soil contamination in Singapore. This is not only a risk to the environment alone but one that poses inherent danger to the health of the people.


Benefits of Cleaner Production

Cleaner production is an increasingly beneficial strategy both to the organization and the country at large. Singapore, with its increasing industrial development is an ideal venue for cleaner production and this can help in conserving the environment. The concept can help in reducing pollution and degradation of the environment through the incorporation of waste minimization and safe disposal of waste (Osborne, 2013). In so doing, the risk of air pollution and water contamination can be reduced to minimal levels if not eradicated. The concept is also important to the health of the country’s environment as it helps in the achievement of sustainable development (Schaltegger, 2008). This is to say that cle3aner production is useful in environmental preservation and especially in an economy with very high population.

In addition to the above benefits, cleaner production strategies are important in sustaining economic growth through the use of the most effective production processes (Wu & Low, 2013). In addition, the concept incorporates efficiency in raw material utilization and use of energy therefore reducing wastages. The use of recycling and source reduction of wastes is one of the main advantages of cleaner production as these by products can be used in the production of other products. The concept further strengthens the competitiveness of the products in the global market due to increased environmental awareness on the part of consumers (ASEAN, 1998).


Implementation of cleaner production

The government has been at the forefront in advocating for the implementation of cleaner production strategies in the country. For instance, source reduction has been emphasized at great lengths with industries being required by law to treat all the wastes before disposal. In addition, the industries are required to reduce the volume of waste before it is disposed and waste that is hazardous requires approval before transportation. Moreover, the use of eco-business parks has also been encouraged with industries that complement each other setting up base in the same location. Essentially, an industry that requires waste material from another industry is set up in the same location. For instance, sugar industries are set near energy generating companies so that the molasses from sugar production can be used in the process of electricity generation.


Success Stories

One of the most notable success stories of cleaner production is the catalyzing of sustainable production strategies in different industries. The concept involved the remanufacturing of worn off products and those that become faulty after production. A brainchild of The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR), the concept allows organizations to bring old products into life. In fact, the concept has been tried at the country’s first eco business park where it achieved increased efficiency in the industries involved. Remanufactured products are brought back to the standard of new products through the processes of disassembly and cleaning. The concept has changed the perception of most industrial players with most of them looking towards manufacturing as the future of manufacturing processes (Madu & Kuei, 2012). The project has increased the up[take of remanufacturing in industries such as automotive, aerospace and even oil and gas.


Challenges and Barriers

Even when cleaner production seems to be the most effective concept in environmental preservation, its implementation is faced with numerous challenges and barriers. Singapore is no exception as the country grapples with the occasional resistance to the implementation of cleaner production strategies. One of the barriers to the implementation is the lack of strict environmental policies in the industries (Cervantes et al., 2006). Although the companies may be willing to incorporate cleaner production strategies in their processes, the lack of government legislation leads to laxity and therefore lack of implementation. It is as though the companies know that they cannot be prosecuted for not implementing the required strategies. Another barrier to the implementation of cleaner production is the existence of financial disincentives in the country (UNEP, 1998). Generally, there is a focus on labor cost efficiency and a lack of focus on resource efficiency. Most companies therefore view cleaner production as not helping them, in saving labor costs therefore disregarding the process altogether.



Singapore is an increasing industrialized country that is an ideal candidate for cleaner production strategies. Cleaner production can heal the country from the many challenges that face its bid to preserve the environment (Baas & Powell, 2005) and is one of the factors for sustainable development. The government has put in place measures to ensure the effectiveness of cleaner production processes. In fact, several success stories point to the motivation of the government in implementing the same concept. However, there are still challenges, some of which have been occasioned by the government itself. The resolution of these challenges can help the country in achieving total implementation of cleaner production strategies in future.



ASEAN. (1998). Technology and environment: The case for cleaner technologies. Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat.

Baas, L. W., & Powell, R. E. (2005). Cleaner production and industrial ecology: Dynamic aspects of the introduction and dissemination of new concepts in industrial practice. Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers.

Cervantes, F. J., Pavlostathis, S. G., & Haandel, A. C. (2006). Advanced biological treatment processes for industrial wastewaters: Principles and applications. London [Angleterre: IWA Pub.

Madu, C. N., & Kuei, C. (2012). Handbook of Sustainability Management. Singapore: World Scientific.

Mol, A. P. J., & Buuren, J. C. L. (2003). Greening industrialization in Asian transitional economies: China and Vietnam. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Osborne, D. G. (2013). The coal handbook: Towards cleaner production. Oxford, U.K: Woodhead Publishing.

Schaltegger, S. (2008). Environmental management accounting for cleaner production. Dordrecht, Netherlands?: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.

United Nations Environment Programme. (1998). Cleaner production: A guide to sources of information. Paris: United Nations Environment Programme, Industry and Environment.

Wu, P., & Low, S. P. (2013). Lean and Cleaner Production: Applications in Prefabrication to Reduce Carbon Emissions. (Lean and cleaner production.) Berlin, Heidelberg: Imprint: Springer.




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