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Singapore not 'in a hurry' to ban plastic bags, minister says

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Singapore, the island nation that likens the fight against climate change to national defence, is not "in a hurry" to ban plastic bags because it burns the waste to produce energy, according to a government minister.

[SINGAPORE] Singapore, the island nation that likens the fight against climate change to national defence, is not "in a hurry" to ban plastic bags because it burns the waste to produce energy, according to a government minister.

Grace Fu, the recently appointed Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, said at an online event that because Singapore incinerates plastic waste to generate power, the value of banning plastic bags "is a little different" than for other countries, the Today newspaper reported on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the ministry didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for further comment.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last year called climate change a matter of "life and death" and an existential threat to the country as important as national defence. Singapore is devising a S$100 billion plan to safeguard the city against rising temperatures and sea levels.

The country is still eager to pursue plastic recycling efforts, Ms Fu said, citing a "bottle-to-bottle" approach that retains the quality of virgin plastic after being processed. Such initiatives could create new jobs and put the country in a position to export its solutions, she said.

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Last year, Singapore recycled about four per cent of the 930,000 tonnes of plastic waste it generated, according to the National Environment Agency.

Meanwhile, more than 12 million pieces of single-use plastic packaging and items were saved last year by Singapore companies under the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore's Pact (Plastic ACTion) initiative, the conservation organisation said on Thursday.

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