What’s with these MRT seats at HDB estates?


If you were at a launch exhibition in Woodlands Drive last Saturday (Jul 17), you would have seen the following items that look more at home on a train:

That’s right. MRT seats, handrail bar and straps and intercom covers? What are they doing at the heartlands?

Well, it’s all part of the Party’s Action for Green Towns (AGT) initiative, which aims to make all 15 PAP-managed towns more energy efficient and greener.

From now till 2025, this collaboration with the Land Transport Authority will see all 15 PAP Town Councils upcycle at least 1,500 seats, 600 intercom covers, 300 LED light covers and 1,400 handrails from trains.

These old train parts are not easily recyclable and thus this upcycling initiative will rescue about 14,400 kg of material from going to Pulau Semakau – our only landfill and is expected to be fully filled by 2035.

Town Councils gathered residents’ feedback, through a month-long public consultation, on how to reuse these items before deciding on the full upcycling plan. The seats, for instance, were installed earlier at some of the void decks at Marsiling-Yew Tee.

Ms Hany Soh, Vice Chair of the AGT taskforce and the Sustainability Champion leading this upcycling initiative, said, “Our residents have given us wonderful ideas – from seats in community areas to rest and connect, to plant holders in community green spaces, to handrails for accessibility and safety for less mobile residents. I hope residents enjoy seeing their ideas become reality and keep working with us towards better homes.”

What is Action for Green Towns?

In a nutshell, it’s the Party’s response to a motion tabled by the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Sustainability and the Environment on climate change in Feb 2021.

Three months later, the AGT initiative was launched and will see all 15 PAP town councils work together, promoting and encouraging sustainability practices.

The first phase of AGT was launched December last year, featuring a cash-for-recycling programme.

Dr Wan Rizal, Chairman of the AGT taskforce, gave an update on Jul 17: “We have made headway with the recycling of nearly 300 tons of paper with our residents within six months through the 77 paper recycling machines we introduced. This is equivalent to saving over 5,000 trees.”

The AGT initiative also wants to achieve these objectives:

  • Reduce printouts in Town Council offices
  • Implement electronic payments instead of cheques whenever possible
  • Introduce more greenery in public spaces in towns to bring down temperatures
  • In-town conversion of excess plant materials into mulch, which will reduce waste and carbon footprint
  • Over 3,000 lifts will be replaced with more reliable and energy-saving models by 2025
  • Smart sensors will be progressively incorporated when LED lights are due to be replaced

Cover photo credit: Wan Rizal and Louis Ng Facebook page