Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Environmental Services Workforce Day 2020 - ES Star Awards 2020 Ceremony at Environment Building
Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Fahmi Aliman, Director of Operations and Mobilisation, National Trade Union Congress
Mr Tony Chooi, President of Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS)
Mr Albert Lee, President of Singapore Pest Management Association (SPMA)
Mr Milton Ng, Vice-Chairman of Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here today to recognise the contributions of our Environmental Services (ES) workforce, who play a critical and important role in keeping Singapore clean, liveable and sustainable.
2 This has been a challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives and activities, forcing us to change the way we do things. For businesses, this has meant adopting new work processes, new modes of communication and managing limited resources more efficiently.
3 Many of our ES companies and workers have had to cope with additional demands for cleaning and disinfection services since the start of the pandemic. They have to manage increased waste in residential areas as more people work from home, often with reduced workforce. Despite these challenging circumstances, our frontline environmental services heroes stepped up to the challenge and continued to keep our environment clean and maintain high standards of public hygiene. We owe a lot to all of the cleaning workers at the frontline.
4 Demand for quality and responsive environmental services will remain high as we strive to maintain public health and hygiene even after COVID-19. Starting mid-2021, my ministry will be implementing mandatory cleaning standards and enhancing environmental sanitation controls to strengthen our resilience against current and future public health threats. To ensure that our industry and workforce will be ready for these changes, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been working closely with our ES partners to transform the industry into one that is technologically-enabled and productive, and raise the skill level of the workforce under the Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map (ES ITM).
Highlights of ES Workforce Day 2020
5 The ES Star Awards is an initiative of the ES ITM and seeks to recognise outstanding ES professionals who have displayed exceptional performance at work and gone beyond the call of duty. Responses to this year’s awards have been overwhelming. We received more than 370 nominations from over 60 companies, of which more than 140 nominations were for the top-tier ES Star Awards. We hope that the awards will motivate our ES professionals to deliver the highest level of service.
6 Let me highlight three ES Star Awards winners. Mr Ker Tee Lye has been a diligent and committed waste truck driver with Transco-pac Transport and Environmental Pte Ltd for the last 19 years. The ever-cheerful Tee Lye takes pride in ensuring that his vehicle is always clean and well maintained at the end of the work day. Not only does Tee Lye have an excellent driving record, he has also received several compliments from the public. He takes the initiative to provide feedback to the management when he spots safety and operational issues so that remedies can be taken. Tee Lye’s sense of responsibility and dedication is recognised by his clients and his management.
7 Next, we have Mr Ravi s/o M G Rajasagaran from Clear3 Environment Pte Ltd. Mr Ravi joined the company as a cleaner in 2018 and was promoted twice to his current role as Operations Manager. Despite being physically challenged, Ravi has not let his condition deter him from achieving his best at work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ravi and his team provided cleaning and disinfection services at dormitories. Besides implementing strict protective measures to ensure his team’s safety, Ravi introduced one-man-operation vehicles and battery-operated carts to alleviate the physical burden of manually pulling rubbish bins to the bin centres. He also encouraged the recycling of plastic and paper waste by setting up a disposal area for recyclables in the dormitory. Ravi’s determination to overcome his limitations and willingness to embrace challenges is truly commendable.
8 The third example is 29-year-old Ms Quek Rui Ting, who joined Ikari Services Pte Ltd five years ago with a Life Sciences degree. Despite her young age, Rui Ting made up for her lack of experience with a positive attitude and willingness to learn. In order to serve her clients better, Rui Ting took up an entomology course to improve her technical knowhow on managing insects. She is now a certified entomologist and leads a team of four to support clients through audits, pest management design and training. Rui Ting serves as a role model for our young employees in the ES industry with her passion of continuous learning.
9 My heartiest congratulations to all our winners today, who are exemplary role models for the industry. I hope that by recognising your achievements, all the other workers and also all of Singapore will be inspired to pursue excellence in your work. Collectively we can make the ES industry more progressive, professional, and attractive to potential job seekers.
10 With the support of industry partners and stakeholders, the NEA has produced a video to showcase the efforts of the ES workforce and recognise their contributions. The video will be launched later during the ceremony and uploaded on NEA’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Do share it with your family and friends as a small but meaningful gesture in recognising the contributions of our ES heroes.
11 Let me conclude by saying that even as we congratulate our winners today, I would like to recognise the many other unsung heroes who will continue to go about their daily duties with silent conviction, taking pride and meaning in ensuring a clean and safe environment for all of us to live, work and play in.
12 You have made a difference to our daily lives and played an important part in allowing Singapore to ease our restrictions and move into Phase 3 next week. I thank all of you for your passion and dedication in keeping Singapore clean and keeping Singaporeans safe.
13 Thank you very much and congratulations.