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|File photo of water being poured into a glass. (Photo: AFP/Franck Fife)|
The Minister for Environment and Water Resources was speaking in a written reply to Nominated Member of Parliament Mohamed Irshad, who asked about the Government's plans to install more water dispensers and water coolers at places such as office buildings, shopping centres and public transport stations.
Mr Masagos said the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) encourages such an initiative, which he said supports Singapore's Zero Waste efforts by reducing the consumption of bottled water, as well as its war on diabetes.
"According to latest figures compiled by the Singapore Food Agency, we import about 17 million bottles of water per month from Malaysia alone," he said.
"Given that water from the tap in Singapore is perfectly safe to drink, we can and should definitely do more to reduce consumption of bottled water."
The National Environment Agency has installed water dispensers in all 26 MEWR-owned hawker centres that the agency operates and will do so in all its upcoming new hawker centres, according to the minister.
He said NEA is also working with the Ministry of Health and town councils (TCs) on providing water dispensers in hawker centres owned by the Housing and Development Board as the common areas in these centres are managed by TCs.
Owners of other premises are also encouraged to install water dispensers and water coolers, said Mr Masagos, citing the Green Mark for Healthier Workplaces scheme jointly developed by the Building and Construction Authority and Health Promotion Board (HPB).
The scheme awards points to firms for providing water dispensers in their offices.
HPB's Singapore HEALTH Award also recognises companies for such efforts to create a healthier workplace.
Additionally, event organisers are encouraged to use water dispensers and reusable cups instead of plastic bottles, said Mr Masagos.