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Environmental news in Singapore

A snapshot of environmental news items about Nourishing The Planet, the One Planet Leader program and Chinatown’s ‘green’ shop Choose by Olive Ventures

Water out of thin air

Residents in slightly more fortunate areas of rural sub-Saharan Africa have something to rejoice about: clean, fresh water. The Nourishing The Planet (NTP) project, led by Jana Olivier from the University of South Africa, has developed a contraption that can literally harvest water from passing fogs. The device consists of two wooden posts between which are strung  steel wires, which support two layers of cloth netting. When placed across a mountain pass, the device can collect as much as five litres of water each day from each square metre of netting. This water is then sent in tubes to surrounding villages. Co-director of NTP, Danielle Nierenberg, says the project is about “low-cost but high-payoff ways of helping feed people”.

Building Business Leaders

As the economy shifts towards privatisation, the private sector’s role in reversing environmental degradation becomes increasingly important. Implementing innovative and sustainable business models is a good way to start. WWF Singapore’s One Planet Leader programme is a four-day preparatory workshop for business executives, featuring seminars, case studies and project planning, with notable speakers. The participation fee also includes post-workshop support. Past participants include the GM of Sony and the CEO of the IKEA Foundation.

Choose by Olive Ventures

Located in a shophouse in Chinatown, Choose by Olive Ventures describes itself as a one-stop location for every green need. What started as an idea among friends has now become a three-pronged business, with a concept store, a research and development wing and a consultancy firm. Apart from offering green products, the store’s “green delivery service” promises deliver all orders via sustainable modes of transport within a 3.5km radius of the store. Choose also practises what it preaches: Managing director James Low, who recently converted to vegetarianism, is known for taking his own lunch container to the nearby hawker centre.

Soap Nuts, $23

Naturally coated with cleansing saponins, these nuts successfully replace laundry detergents and softeners, producing bright and odourless laundry. Simply pop a couple in a muslin bag and toss it in with your laundry.

Waterless Car Wash, $42

Each set comes with a spray bottle and two microfibre towels that work wonders onmetal, chrome, fibreglass, plastic, leather, vinyl and rubber. Containing no toxic materials, this alternative cleaner works effectively without water.

Etrican Organic Apparel, $21-$43

All clothing from this Singaporean eco-fashion label is made in a factory in India with 100-percent organic cotton that has been certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard.