Clean and Green, That’s My Singapore
Singapore prides itself on being the “City in the Garden” – and it very well stands by that image. The city is shrouded with greenery - from the meticulously planted shrubs along the roads to the development of green spaces in various neighbourhood heartlands.
Yet, the perfectly manicured garden city that we see today is the culmination of the environmental education campaigns that started as early as 1958. Early environmental campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s were mainly advocating for the major clean-up of the city.
We needed to “[behave] more like first world citizens, not like third word citizens – spitting and littering all over the place”, said the first PM.
And so, campaigns such as the were introduced to inculcate cleanliness in public areas such as work spaces, parks and common areas in the HDB estates. Posters reminded Singaporeans to before throwing and in the numerous public bins provided. This also included keeping Singapore mosquito free (1969) and pollution free (1970), as well as ensuring a clean water supply.
The was also introduced during this decade. Alongside this campaign, public spaces were adorned with abundant lush greenery on top of the newly cleaned environment.
The massive clean-ups also saw the eradication of informal street hawking. Hawking food became came under the state's purview which required hawkers to have licences and stalls collectively housed under the hawker centres. Concurrent to this cleanliness movement was the attention to that inculcated washing hands before consuming food and using clean culteries and tableware.
By the 1990s, environmental campaigns morphed beyond general cleanliness and hygiene issues with the launch of in 1992, and the start of the yearly Clean and Green Week campaign. Sustainability and environmental awareness goals, such as the clichéd ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, were introduced to discourage Singaporeans from wasteful consumption and mindful disposal of refuse. In part, this paralleled the global green movement that manifested in international cooperative efforts like 1992 The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro which Singapore had a part in.
Environmental campaigns also reflected events on the ground that are affecting the masses. The 2003 SARS outbreak in Singapore saw the launch of as part of the "We Care. We’re OK" campaign. It was a massive public education campaign to continuously remind Singaporeans on personal hygiene at home, in school, in public areas of high footfalls such as . This campaign rallied solidarity among Singaporeans, appealing for individuals to do their part to fight against the common enemy, SARS.
Similarly, the spike in the dengue cases in the early 2000s mobilised anti-dengue campaigns that advocated . Posters warned Singaporeans of dangers of the dengue hemorrhagic fever from unintentionally breeding the Aedes mosquitos in their homes and work spaces. posters are often seen in the lift lobbies of public housing blocks and offices to remind Singaporeans to stagnant waters.
The environmental issues mentioned above are visualised in the bar chart below. Each colour represents a general objective. Hover over the coloured boxes to see the posters and how their style have changed over the years.