Singapore Green Plan

Singapore Infopedia


The Singapore Green Plan (SGP) is Singapore's first environmental blueprint. Released in 1992 by the then Ministry of the Environment (now known as the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources or MEWR), its objective is to ensure that Singapore could develop an economic growth model that does not compromise its environment. In 2002, a second SGP known as the Singapore Green Plan 2012 (SGP 2012) was launched. By setting a series of environmental targets, the aim of SGP 2012 is to help Singapore attain environmental sustainability. Today, many of the SGP 2012 targets have been met. But to ensure the country’s sustainable development strategies could be maintained until 2030, the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint was unveiled in April 2009.1

Singapore’s green efforts can be traced back to the late 1960s when the country was undergoing rapid industrialisation and urbanisation.2 One of the earliest initiatives was the launch of the Garden City – a vision by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1967 to turn Singapore into a city with abundant lush greenery and a clean environment.3 This was followed by the implementation of the Environmental Public Health Act in 1969, to strengthen Singapore’s health legislation and improve public health standards.4

Through careful land-use planning and effective pollution control, Singapore had become a world-renowned “garden city” by the late 1980s.5 However, in light of increasing concern over global environmental issues such as global warming and preservation of biodiversity coupled with a growing population that expected higher standards of living, a major policy review was carried out, and thus the Singapore Green Plan was born.6

The Singapore Green Plan issued in May 1992 was the country's first formal plan to balance environmental and developmental needs.7 It was presented at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (commonly known as the Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992.8 The plan described the policy directions that Singapore would take to become a model “green city” by the year 2000.9

In 1999, a review of this first green plan was initiated to take into account new ideas and concerns that had emerged since 1992 such as transboundary air pollution and climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The outcome was the SGP 2012, launched in August 2002. With the new plan, Singapore wanted to move beyond from just being clean and green and towards attaining environmental sustainability.10 The SGP 2012 was presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002.11

To keep the SGP 2012 up-to-date, an extensive review was conducted in 2005. Representatives of the 3P (public, private and people) sectors were consulted and public feedback was sought through various platforms such as an internet survey and a public exhibition. After the review, MEWR released the revised edition of the SGP 2012 in March 2006.12

The SGP 2012 is Singapore’s ten-year plan for achieving sustainable development.13 It describes the strategies and programmes that Singapore would adopt to maintain a quality living environment while pursuing economic prosperity.14 It also contains a list of specific targets that need to be met.15 A Coordinating Committee and six Action Programme Committees oversee the development and implementation of action programmes to help Singapore reach the stipulated targets.16

Some of the targets set in the updated SGP 2012 are listed in the following table:17

Focus Area

Selected Targets

Air and climate change  

  • Maintain the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) for ambient air within the "good" range for 85% of the year and within the "moderate" range for the remaining 15%.18
  • Reduce the ambient Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) level to
    within an annual average of 15µg/Nm3 by 2014.19


  • Increase catchment areas to 67% of Singapore's land surface.20
  • Increase the supply of water from non-conventional sources, such as desalination and water reclamation, to at least 25% of Singapore's water demand.21
  • Reduce per capita domestic water consumption to 155 litres a day by 2012.22

Waste management

  • Increase the overall waste-recycling rate to 60% by 2012.23
  • Extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill to 50 years, strive towards "zero landfill" and "close the waste loop".24

Conserving nature

  • Establish more parks and green linkages.25
  • Set up a National Biodiversity Reference Centre.26

Public health

  • Increase community ownership to sustain a high standard of public health.27
  • Maintain low incidence of vector-borne and food-borne diseases.28

International environment relations

  • Intensify collaboration with partners at regional and global levels to tackle environmental challenges.29

Meeting the targets
Singapore made good progress meeting the targets set by SGP 2012.30 The following are some examples. 

  • Ambient air quality as measured by the PSI was in the “good” range for at least 96 percent of the days in 2008.31
  • The annual average PM 2.5 level fell from 21µg/Nm3 in 2005 to 16µg/Nm3 in 2008.32
  • The opening of the fourth NEWater plant in 2007 allowed Singapore to meet 25 percent of its water demand through non-conventional sources.33 The fifth plant, which was officially opened in May 2010, has allowed NEWater (which is water reclaimed from treated used water) to meet 30 percent of Singapore’s water demand.34
  • Domestic water consumption per capita declined from 165 litres a day in 1999 to 155 litres a day in 2009.35
  • The overall waste-recycling rate rose from 40 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2008.36
  • The total land area covered by greenery rose from 36 percent in 1986 to 47 percent in 2007.37
  • The National Biodiversity Reference Centre (now called National Biodiversity Centre) was set up in 2006.38
  • The incidence of food-borne diseases has remained low, with the number of food outlet-related food poisoning outbreaks averaging just 2.8 cases per 1,000 food outlets between 2006 and 2008.39
  • Several high-profile environmental conferences and multilateral summits have been held in Singapore.40 In June 2008, for example, Singapore hosted the World Cities Summit, which focused on the sustainable development of cities.41

Sustainable Singapore Blueprint
In April 2009, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development (formed in January 2008) launched the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, a new national framework to guide Singapore’s sustainable development efforts up till 2030.42 The framework set higher targets than those in the SGP 2012, and introduced several new initiatives such as turning Singapore into a city in a Garden, introducing minimum energy and water efficiency standards for more household appliances, improving the standard and efficiency of public transportation, and creating a Centre for Liveable Cities for knowledge sharing.43 

Singapore Green Plan 2030
The Singapore Green Plan was launched on 10 February 2021 and charts the country’s green targets for the next decade. The five pillars under the plan are city in nature, sustainable living, energy reset, green economy and resilient future. Some of the key targets include adding 1,000 ha of green spaces by 2035, increasing solar energy deployment by five-fold, and increasing local food production to meet 30 percent of the country’s needs.44

May 1992: The Ministry of the Environment issues the first Singapore Green Plan.45
Jun 1992: The Singapore Green Plan is presented at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.46
Aug 2002: MEWR launches the second Singapore Green Plan, known as the SGP 2012.47
Sep 2002: The SGP 2012 is presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.48
Mar 2006: MEWR releases an updated edition of the SGP 2012.49
Jan 2008: Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development formed.50
Apr 2009: Sustainable Singapore Blueprint was launched.51

Valerie Chew

1. “Singapore Green Plan,” Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, accessed 11 August 2016.
2. Azra Moiz, The Singapore Green Plan: Action Programmes (Singapore: Times Editions Pte Ltd, 1993), 9. (Call no. RSING 363.7095957 SIN)
3. “S’pore to Become Beautiful, Clean City Within Three Years,” Straits Times, 12 May 1967, 4 (From NewspaperSG); Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-–2000: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore: Times Editions: Singapore Press Holdings, 2000), 118. (Call no. RSING 959.57092 LEE-[HIS])
4. The Environmental Public Health Act 1968, Act 32 of 1968, Government Gazette. Acts Supplement, 315 (Call no. RCLOS 348.5957 SGGAS); Parliament of Singapore, Second Reading of the Environmental Public Health Bill, vol. 28 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 16 December 1968, cols. 396–8. (Call no. RSING 328.5957 SIN)
5. Moiz, Singapore Green Plan, 9.
6. Moiz, Singapore Green Plan, 9–10.
7. Moiz, Singapore Green Plan, 10.
8. Moiz, Singapore Green Plan, 10–11.
9. Moiz, Singapore Green Plan, 11.
10. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”
11. Lim Swee Say, “The World Summit on Sustainable Development,” speech, Johnnesburg, South Africa, 4 September 2002, transcript, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (From National Archives of Singapore document no. 2002090401)
12. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”
13. Chua Lee Hoong, The Singapore Green Plan 2012: Beyond Clean and Green Towards Environmental Sustainability (Singapore. Ministry of the Environment, 2002), iv. (Call no. RSING 363.70095957 CHU)
14. Chua, Beyond Clean and Green, iv–vii.
15. Chua, Beyond Clean and Green, x.
16. Environmental Protection Division, National Environment Agency, Singapore, Annual Report 2003 (Singapore: National Environment Agency, 2004), 7. (Call no. RCLOS 363.7095957 SNEA)
17. Foo Siang Luen, ed., The Singapore Green Plan 2012 (Singapore: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, 2006), 5. (Call no. RSING 363.70095957 SIN)
18. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 7.
19. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 10.
20. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 10.
21. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 10.
22. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 10.
23. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 12.
24. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 12.
25. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 14.
26. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 14.
27. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 15.
28. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 15.
29. Foo, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 17.
30. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”
31. “Air and Climate Change,” Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, accessed 11 August 2016.
32. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Air and Climate Change.”
33. “Water” Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, accessed 11 August 2016.
34. Public Utilities Board, “Opening of Singapore’s Fifth and Largest NEWater plant, the Sembcorp NEWater Plant,” press release, 3 May 2010. (From National Archives of Singapore document no. 20100510002)
35. Ong May Anne, Towards Environmental Sustainability: State of the Environment Report 2005 (Singapore: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, 2005), 26 (Call no. RSING 363.72095957 ONG); Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Water.”  
36. “Waste Management,” Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, accessed 11 August 2016. 
37. Peter K. L. Ng, Richard T. Corlett and Hugh T.W. Tan, eds., Singapore Biodiversity: An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2011), 206. (Call no. RSING 333.95095957 SIN)
38. “National Biodiversity Centre,” National Parks Board, accessed 11 August 2016.
39. “Public Health,” Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, accessed 11 August 2016.  
40. “International Environmental Relations,” Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, accessed 11 August 2016.  
41. Tania Tan, “Summit to Tackle Problems of Cities,” Straits Times, 23 June 2008, 18. (From NewspaperSG)
42. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”
43. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan”; Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Our Home, Our Environment, Our Future: Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 (Singapore: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, 2016), 10.
44. “Singapore Green Plan 2030 Key Targets,” SG Green Plan, accessed 28 March 2022.
45. Moiz, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 10.
46. Moiz, Singapore Green Plan 2012, 10–11.
47. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”
48. Lim, “World Summit on Sustainable Development,”
49. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”
50. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”
51. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, “Singapore Green Plan.”

Further resources
Arti Mulchand, “Singapore Is Getting Greener,” Straits Times, 25 June 2008, 33. (From NewspaperSG)

Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore, Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (Singapore: Centre for Liveable Cities, 2015)

Grace Chua, “Health of Rivers in the Spotlight,” Straits Times, 24 February 2010, 3. (From NewspaperSG)

Grace Chua, “Dry Spell: Enough Water, But Conservation Still Vital,” Straits Times, 9 March 2010, 6. (From NewspaperSG)

Huey D. Johnson, Green Plans: Blueprint for a Sustainable Earth (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008). (Call no. R 333.7 JOH)

Joyce Hooi, “NEWater Will Meet 40% of Demand By 2020: SM Goh,” Business Times, 4 May 2010, 3. (From NewspaperSG)

Ministry of the Environment, Singapore, The Singapore Green Plan: Towards a Model Green City (Singapore: SNP Publishers, 1992). (Call no.: RSING 363.7095957 SIN)

Nisha Ramchandani, “Sembcorp NEWater Plant Starts Operations,” Business Times, 4 August 2009, 5. (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is valid as of 17 August 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


Rights Statement

The information on this page and any images that appear here may be used for private research and study purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder.

More to Explore

Chinese Garden (Yu Hwa Yuan)


The Chinese Garden in Jurong was built by the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) in 1975 to provide social and recreational amenities for the rapidly developing industrial town. ...

Pan Shou


Pan Shou (??) (D. Litt) (b. 26 January 1911, Quanzhou, Fujian, China–d. 23 February 1999, Singapore) was a noted Chinese calligrapher and poet. In addition to his artistic pursuits, Pan had also worked in other roles, from newspaper editor to bank manager. He was the founding secretary-general of Nanyang University....

Bukit Batok Town Park


Constructed from a disused granite quarry, Bukit Batok Town Park is commonly known as “Little Guilin” or “Xiao Guilin”, due to its resemblance to a similar scenic location in Guilin, China. Comprising 42 ha of land, it is located along Bukit Batok East Avenue 5. The name “Bukit Batok” is...

Chan Kim Boon


Chan Kim Boon (b. 1851, Penang–d. 1920, Singapore?) is a Peranakan who gained fame with his Baba Malay translations of Chinese classics such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin....

Henry Nicholas Ridley


Henry Nicholas Ridley C.M.G., M.A. (Oxon), F.R.S. (b. 10 December 1855, West Harling, Norfolk, England – d. 24 October 1956, Kew, Surrey, England) is the first director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens from 1888 to 1911. Ridley is also known as the “father of the rubber industry" , and inventor...

Lim Peng Siang


Lim Peng Siang (b. 1872, Fujian, China–d. 1944, Singapore) was a Chinese merchant who made significant contributions to Singapore’s economic and social developments in the early 1900s. He was a prominent leader of the Chinese community and held key positions in a number of public and private companies. He founded...

Kreta Ayer incident (1927)


On 12 March 1927, a clash in the Kreta Ayer neighbourhood between police and Kuomintang (KMT) supporters revealed the strength of leftist influence on the local Chinese population. A memorial service to mark Sun Yat Sen’s death was followed by a procession of Chinese, many of whom were young Hainanese...

South Seas Society, Singapore


The South Seas Society, Singapore (????; Nanyang Xuehui) is a non-profit scholarly society dedicated to Southeast Asian studies. Founded in 1940, it is the first academic society set up by overseas Chinese based in Southeast Asia focusing on this field. The society frequently publishes books and texts, and periodically organises...

Tan Yeok Seong


Tan Yeok Seong (b. 1903, Penang, Malaysia–d. 1 April 1984, Singapore) was a historian of Southeast Asia and a collector of books and historical artefacts. Educated at Amoy University (now known as Xiamen University), Tan was well versed in English and Chinese. He donated his private collection of books and...

Tao Nan School


One of Singapore’s oldest primary schools, Tao Nan School was established on 18 November 1906 by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (Singapore Hokkien Clan Association). The school was first located on North Bridge Road and then Armenian Street, before moving Marine Parade in 1982. The school building at Armenian Street...