We interviewed some of our partners. Hear what they have to say about conservation.



Grow, Greenies, Grow!
Even as a child, Language & Communication lecturer Ong Wooi-Hsen has been a nature lover and an advocate for the environment. “I grew up making my own toys using whatever materials I could find in the natural environment or whatever was discarded by others!” he reminisced. But what made him stand up and do something about it was “seeing how much rubbish humans generate and its contribution to environmental degradation”.

“When my children came along, I wanted to ensure that they are heirs to a good inheritance, one that I had helped nurture and replenish,” explained Wooi-Hsen. So when Singapore Polytechnic embarked on its plan to achieve sustainability, Wooi-Hsen was more than happy to contribute. “It is great when we can share the same goal as our organisation,” he said.

Sowing the seeds of sustainability
Wooi-Hsen started off by playing an active role in the SP Green Committee. After his stint there, Wooi-Hsen decided to set up the SP Gardening Club to develop interest in gardening among SP staff, create greater awareness in environment conservation and provide an educational venue for visitors. The Club now has a small area where they cultivate a variety of fruit trees, vegetables, herbs and spices.

So how has his efforts paid off? “It has been encouraging. We currently have about 17 members and the plot has definitely cooled down the area. It has also been generating a lot of interest with each new harvest,” says Wooi-Hsen. The positive results of his first campus gardening project have prompted Wooi-Hsen to explore how he can expand it further. “I’d like to share with the other departments and perhaps get them interested in similar projects. In fact, I’m already in the midst of helping my children’s primary school set one up with support from NParks!”

Passing the baton
To see his project take flight and expand is something that Wooi-Hsen is proud of, but what really matters to him is sustainability. And for that, he relies on instilling the message of conservation in his children and those around him. “[By doing so], that would be my greatest conservation effort as I think it would be the most sustainable over the long term. If we don’t do that now, we are doomed as a species and it would sadly, be of our own doing”.

Ong Wooi Hsen is a lecturer in the Language and Communication Department and has been with SP for 12 years. He believes that the key to sustainability is to have people take ownership of the environment they live in.


Environment Warriors
Whoever said students were apathetic about things other than the hottest pop stars, latest fashion and grades obviously did not speak to the students from SP’s Environment Club (SPENV)! Fiercely passionate about the environment, these students have made their presence known in school through various environmental awareness projects such as Earth Day and Animal Protection Week.

Interview with SP ENV Club. Watch Video. (Requires Windows Media Player)

Baby steps
Said president of SPENV, Chia Shang Ming, “Students should be more concerned as whatever happens to the environment is going to impact us more than the older generation. At SPENV, we do a lot of public awareness because many students don’t know much about environment conservation.” Ex-president of SPENV, Alvin Goh agrees, “I feel the best method is to invoke their interest first, simply by allowing them to observe your actions.”

And it seems that the students’ efforts were worth it. Alvin, together with the SPENV members, started the Paper Recycling Project in SP and thanks to them, recycling bins are now a permanent feature around the campus.

On top of exhibitions, the SPENV adopts more interactive methods of education. “We also conduct visits to nature conservation areas such as the HSBC Tree Top Walk, Lower Seletar reservoir and Sungei Buloh where we try to inculcate an interest for appreciating nature in the students. In doing so, perhaps they might be inspired to do more for the environment,” explains Shang Ming. “We want to shift from getting students to be aware, towards getting them to do something about it both in school and outside of it. But for that, we need funding and support from external organisations.”

The quest for survival
So for now, the Club continues its green mission and Alvin has one parting shot for SP students, “When we “save the environment” we are actually saving ourselves. The earth has the ability to heal itself but will we, as the inhabitants of the earth, be able to survive through this healing timeframe? In this sense, environmental conservation shouldn’t be considered a noble task but more like a fight for survival.”

Chia Shang Ming, 18, and Alvin Goh, 20, were both recipients of the 2006 SP Green Buddy Award for their efforts in environment conservation. Shang Ming’s green efforts has also led him to being sponsored by HSBC and the National Youth Achievement Award board to help out in the EarthWatch Study Trip overseas. Both continue to inspire with their passion for the environment.



SP Incorporated
When you are supplying heavy machinery and services to customers from Asia and the Middle East, the last thing on your mind would be to find ways to save the earth while running your business. Not Mr Tang Hang Seah. The Joint Managing Director of Zicom Pte Ltd and Director of SP-Zicom Pte Ltd, Mr Tang is an active advocate in pushing for innovative solutions to reduce his company’s carbon footprint.

“The heavy machinery we build incorporates drive and control systems which have energy savings features to help the end users reduce energy consumption, “explains Mr Tang. “We are constantly trying to improve our processes and products to be environmentally sustainable and the joint Zicom-Poly-Claimer project with Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is one such initiative.”

The successful production of the patent-pending Zicom-Poly-Claimer, a prototype concrete reclaimer was the end-result of Zicom’s first collaboration with SP. This system is able to dramatically reduce the amount of waste concrete for the construction industry by recycling it in a safe, cost-effective manner. This positive experience led to the formation of SP-Zicom Pte Ltd, helmed by Mr Tang and fellow director Dr Ng Khee Yang.

So why did Mr Tang take the plunge and allow such a collaboration in the first place? “SP is an environmentally-conscious campus,” says Mr Tang. “We chose SP as our project partner because of this mutual interest. Besides, our partnership is beneficial for both SP as an academic institution and the industry with its practical and business orientation, and to Singapore as a whole.”

“[On top of] providing R&D resources and laboratory facilities for R&D work, the SP library has also extended help in getting test standards and more. Industry attachment and final-year students were also involved in helping our research engineers carry out some routine tests and calculations. This project has thus provided the students with and an applied and practice-oriented route of learning,” Mr Tang elaborates.

Changing The Face Of The Industry
So what’s next for this visionary and SP?

“We are working with SP on another project titled ‘Development of a Sludge Dewatering System’,” Mr Tang reveals. “By engaging the students in this project, we expose students to simple R&D work with an emphasis on sustainable environmental development for the construction industry. We believe that this will inspire students and create in them an interest in R&D and innovations for their future undertakings.”

Mr Tang Han Seng is Joint Managing Director of Zicom Pte Ltd and one of two directors of spin-off company SP-Zicom Pte Ltd. His passion for the environment has seen him work with SP in a hope to nurture a future workforce that’s environment-conscious.


The Tertiary Institutions Council for the Environment(TICE) in Singapore was formed in 1995. TICE was set up by the Ministry of Environment to allow tertiary institutions to collaborate in environmental projects. The Council is made up of representatives from the nine institutions namely:

Nanyang Polytechnic Nanyang Technology University Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Nanyang Polytechnic Nanyang Technology University Ngee Ann Polytechnic
National Institute National University of Singapore Republic Polytechnic
National Institute
of Education
National University of Singapore Republic Polytechnic
Singapore Polytechnic Singapore Management University Temasek Polytechnic
Singapore Polytechnic Singapore Management University Temasek Polytechnic

TICE work very closely with the National Environment Agency(NEA) as well as the Singapore Environmental Council(SEC). The supporting secretariat is SEC and chaired by Dr Pho Lay Koon of SP.

The objectives of TICE are:
to enable sharing of expertise and resources in environmental care and information
to provide a channel for the exchange of ideas related to our precious environment.
to establish links among national tertiary institutions in Singapore to protect our fragile environment
to conduct and coordinate programmes on environment protection for our tertiary students.

TICE is one of the major driving force in environmental care at the tertiary institutions in Singapore. To date, TICE has organised important national events, camps, competitions and has also facilitated the sharing of projects and practices by institutions.

The members had successfully organised national institutional competitions to promote greater awareness of the environment. At the same time, these competitions encourage students to explore means and ways of enhancing and preserving the natural environment in the vicinity of their campus and beyond. Such activities include cartoon drawing competitions, exhibitions showcasing students’ research and engineering works, media competitions and Eco-Camps.

Our Stakeholders
Through this report, we share with our stakeholders not just our concern for the current degraded state of the environment, but also renewed passion and commitment, fresh ideas and workable plans for the future, within our means. In this process, we hope to address and engage the greater interests of various groups of stakeholders and partners.
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