25 Jul 2017

Thoughts from an environmental expert

In conversation with Eugene Goh. With nearly 20 years of environmental monitoring experience, Eugene is the head of the Environment and Ecosystems Department of DHI Singapore.

Eugene Goh

What is your driving force, Eugene?

‘My motivation is simple – I want to help support sustainable development here in Singapore. 
And I do so by ensuring that projects are carried out with zero or minimal impact on the environment.’

How does the ‘connecting people to nature’ theme of the 2017 World Environment Day resonate with you?

‘Connecting with nature is good for the soul; although Singapore is highly urbanised, there are still a lot of nature areas that are very accessible. We are fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of greenery around our office at Cleantech, and some of my team and I connect with nature as part of our daily work. However, for most desk-bound jobs, it is easy to become disconnected. So it is good for everyone to get out there and re-connect with nature as much as possible in their daily life.’

What are the challenges that your team faces when carrying out projects for clients?

‘Different projects have different challenges, for example the marine biologists have their share of difficulties during field work. It can be physically demanding; long days in the sun with a lot diving can be physically demanding, especially when it is for work and not a leisurely fun holiday!
Sometimes, they can also be quite intensive as they are working continuously in the field for a few months at a stretch on a project.

The team doing the environmental monitoring have a different set of challenges – the engineers running these operational projects have to make sure that all the project’s environmental objectives are met, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even on the weekends, they have to make sure that the contractor’s work is being carried out accordingly to specifications. And at the same time, they ensure that they keep our clients up-to-date as we do our due-diligence as their trusted environment consultant.’

This definitely sounds like tough and serious work!
‘Yes it’s tough – but we enjoy our work. We are just a bunch of passionate people who are in this for the right reasons. Everyone cares and understands the difference we can help make within water environments.’

Could you tell us about any project that left a lasting impression on you?

‘There are a few projects that come into my mind but for me it has to be the first big project that I got involved in when I joined DHI – that has been significant in many ways.
(It was ‘the joint study’ – an environmental impact study for reclamation work at Tuas and Pulau Tekong – between Singapore and Malaysia.)
The project helped to establish our competence and define our position here in Singapore. It also reflects a lot of the values and ideals that the company represents. This was also when DHI Singapore was still young and there weren’t that many employees in the office. So we had colleagues from Malaysia, even Denmark chip in and that is what DHI is all about. That was a perfect example of teamwork and a value we hold on to till date.’