Update (26/6/07): The Today reporter said she only reported the estimated figure of 2.5m (which was prominently featured in the headlines), as provided by NWDCD, and advised me to contact them for clarification. I have emailed them and will update here if they reply.

I saw this headline in the Singapore papers today: “North West CDC initiates move to recycle 2.5m bottles yearly.”

That’s great news. For a population of 4.5 million people, 2.5 million plastic water bottles is a substantial quantity.

Until I read the article and realised that this plastic waste is created by North West CDC (NWCDC) itself.

OK, some background information for our overseas readers: A CDC is a government organisation which organises community-building programmes for Singapore residents. CDCs are divided according to geographical regions, and there are five in all.

NWCDC formed a Brisk Walking Club (BWC) five years ago to encourage regular walking as a form of exercise. BWC is not a single club, but an umbrella of over 100 separate clubs and 28,000 members. A typical walk is 2.4km long with warm-up exercises at the start.

Singaporeans love freebies. So there are various enticements to get us to participate, such as a complimentary breakfast at the end of the walk.

And a free bottle of water.

Hmm, there are 2 things I don’t get:

First mystery is why go to this trouble of recycling plastic waste that could have been avoided in the first place.

Simply encourage participants to bring their own water bottles. Or they could provide re-usable water bottles, similar to our recent campaign for plastic carrier bags.

What is also puzzling is how the figure of 2.5 million bottles is derived:

Liang Eng Hwa, MP, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said: “In the case of North West CDC Brisk Walking Club, we have monthly walks.

28,000 bottles per participant x 12 walks a year = 336,000 bottles per year

Can anybody enlighten me? 🙂