One of the many actions Singapore implemented as part of its strategy for sustainable development was the cleanup of its several river systems which were grossly polluted when the city–state became independent in 1965. The then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew viewed river pollution not as an isolated problem, but as the end result of other development and social-related problems. He realized that if the nation was to develop as a successful industrial society, its population should have an improved quality of life and the environment should be protected. The overall philosophy was thus that economic development of the city–state could not be sustained and the quality of life of its people could not be significantly improved, unless environmental factors were considered as important as development issues.
By Yugal Kishore Joshi, Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K. Biswas, 2012. Article published in AMBIO, Volume 41, Issue 7, pages 777-781. DOI: 10.1007/s13280-012-0279-0