Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC, at the Second Reading of the Environmental Protection and Management Bill (Bill No. 21/2021)
Sir, this Bill tackles two distinct but important problems: noise and greenhouse gases.
Residents will be happy to hear that the Bill empowers NEA to more effectively ensure that construction sites remain quiet on Sundays and public holidays.
Singaporeans should also be happy that the Bill empowers the Government to better mitigate climate change given that Singapore is getting warmer much more quickly than the rest of the world.
I have three clarifications about this Bill.
My first point relates to our efforts to reduce HFCs. Reducing HFC emissions, which makes up about 7% of Singapore’s emissions, will contribute to our climate mitigation efforts and I wholeheartedly support this move.
HFCs have nearly 12,000 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. And Singapore is emitting such gases more than ever before – a 30% increase from 2014 to 2016, based on the latest available data. Things might be getting worse, not better.
I’m glad we are doing more but my question is why are household RAC and commercial water-cooled chillers the only equipment being regulated?
I understand that these contribute to about half of the emissions and the question is what about the other half? When can we expect to address emissions from the remaining types of equipment?
Beyond using the stick, can we offer more carrots especially in terms of the remaining types of equipment that is currently not regulated? Can we increase grants for businesses to encourage adoption of cooling equipment with lower global warming potential?
All these while we work on stricter regulations and an eventual ban on the remaining types of equipment, which are currently not regulated?
Multi-language training and certification for Greenhouse Gas Works
My second clarification is about the requirements for becoming a competent person for carrying out Greenhouse Gas Works.
Training and certification is important to upskill our workforce, improve quality of services, and reduce emissions by preventing leakage of greenhouse gases.
However, training and tests are often conducted in English, which not all of our existing technicians may be fluent in, causing them to be disadvantaged. It is important that certification is accessible and fair so that we improve our workforce rather than cause some to be excluded.
Can Minister share the intended format of training and tests, whether they will be multilingual, and what other measures will be implemented to support our existing technicians in getting certified?
Noise limits on Saturdays.
My third and final clarification relates to the control of construction noise. In the post COVID-19 world, more activities are taking place from the home, such as remote learning and working.
Can Minister provide an update on its review of construction noise limits, and also consider whether we can have even stricter construction noise limits on Saturdays.
This will give families more quiet time to rest and recover over the weekends. Can Minister also share what other measures do agencies have in place to manage construction noise in residential areas?
Sir, notwithstanding my clarifications, I stand in support of the bill.
Watch the speech here.