Learning Trail With Children At Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park

As a keen supporter of corporate volunteering program, when the learning trail activity with children from low income families was announced, I quickly signed up for it.  Turns out, only 6 of us have put our names down.  Unlike the one we did for the elderly, this activity was intense.  And it involved quite a bit of reading up and preparation as well.

Bishan AMK Park with the Children

By the time our chartered bus has rolled into the neighborhood, immediately, I saw kids and teenagers jumping up and down eager to attend our learning trail event.  Once they entered the bus, one by one they have started screaming!  Really loudly so.  I was slightly intimately by them.  I did a quick headcount.  Around 20 of time.  All screaming at the same time as they dashed into the bus looking for a seat.  Aged between 8 to 18, these kids were active.  Hyperactive.

Soon, we found out that these wonderful kids were from four Malay families.  Beyond Social Services has organized this event and our organization has participated.  Their target groups are low income families.  Families that may have a single parent, or from teenage mothers.  The kids may not have sufficient parental care because their parents need to work, and at times night shift.  Some kids may be delinquencies and Beyond Social Services‘s role would be to facilitate the parental ownership of the issue.  Beyond Social Services also engages volunteers to provide tuition to the kids, as well as regular activities such as soccer for the boys and dancing for the girls.  Our role today was to bring them out for a half day trip and raise the awareness of water conservation.  Play some games that were relevant to the theme.  Hand out gifts to everyone.  Basically, have a fun time.  By the time the event has ended, I was exhausted.  But it was a heartwarming and fulfilling experience.

Click here to view the photo album of today’s event.

As mentioned previously, Bishan-AMK Park has recently been renovated.  The old concrete canal has been converted into a natural river.  It is part of our government’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) initiative to transform Singapore’s drains, canals, and reservoirs into beautiful and clean streams, rivers and lakes for recreation and community bonding.

Singapore is a small country.  We have been relying on Malaysia – our neighbor – for water supply under two bilateral agreements.  One expired in 2011 and the second one will expire in 2061.  With the completion of the Marina, Punggol, and Serangoon reservoirs (which brings the number of reservoirs in Singapore to a total of 17), the water catchment area has been increased from half to two-thirds of Singapore’s land surface.  We have plan to boost water catchment area to 90% by 2060.

Then we have NEWater, which is a high-grade reclaimed water produced from treated used water that is further purified using advanced membrane technologies and ultra-violet disinfection.  Our NEWater plants is now meeting 30% of the nation’s water needs.  By 2060, we intend to push this to 50%.

Singapore has one of the Asia’s largest seawater reverse-osmosis plant.  Producing 30 million gallons of desalinated water a day, it is currently meeting 10% of our nation’s water needs.  By 2060, the plan is to ramp up the desalination capacity by 10 times in meeting at least 30% of our water demand.

Today, our per capita domestic consumption is 154 liters a day.  Water conservation programs are important.  We can never have enough water if we do not treasure what we have and use water wisely.  Here are some of the ideas that may help lowering the consumption to 140 liters by 2030.

  • Monitor your water bills.
  • Take shorter showers and turn off the tap while soaping.
  • Use a mug when brushing your teeth.
  • Check and repair leaks promptly.
  • Install water saving devices such as thimbles.
  • Use water-efficient devices.
  • Cut down your shower time to 5 minutes.

It's a beautiful park!

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