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  NEA newsroom, 8 Mar 05
Semakau Landfill may be opened up for selected recreational activities
NEWS RELEASE No: 9/2005 DATE OF ISSUE: 8 March 2005

Semakau Landfill may be opened for selected recreational activities in the second quarter of this year - if all goes well in a feasibility study undertaken by National Environment Agency (NEA).

The study, which started in October last year, involves gauging the interest of various interest groups and organisations such as Nature Society of Singapore, Sport Fishing Association (Singapore) and Wild Singapore in using Semakau Landfill for recreational purposes.

'This initiative is aimed at creating more opportunities for the general public to enjoy Singapore's environmental resources, and to develop a greater sense of appreciation and shared ownership of our environment,' said BG (NS) Lam Joon Khoi, Chief Executive Officer of NEA.

'Initial feedback from these groups has been encouraging and we are seriously considering opening up the landfill for selected recreational purposes,' he added.

Semakau Landfill has been in operations since 1999. It has been carefully designed and managed to ensure that it is clean and free of smell. As a result of these efforts, some parts of the island, in particular the currently unused southern and western areas, are highly scenic and excellent for recreational activities.

Once it is opened up, target interest groups in Singapore will have a unique recreational destination in the form of a huge open landfill tucked away in the pristine waters of southern Singapore, coexisting with a mix of mangrove, grassland and shoreline habitats.

As part of its study, NEA is also looking into the safety measures - such as barriers and warnings signs to keep visitors away from the operation areas - and facilities that should be in place before recreational activities are allowed in the landfill.

Background Information

Semakau Island is Singapore's only landfill situated offshore among the southern islands of Singapore. It covers a total area of 350 hectares and has a capacity of 63 million m3. To create the required landfill space, a 7km perimeter rock bund was built to enclose a part of the sea off Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng. It is currently estimated that the landfill, which began operations in 1999, will last till 2040.

Contrary to popular belief that Semakau Landfill would be another dirty and smelly landfill, the care put into the design and operational work at the landfill have ensured that the site is clean, free of smell and scenic.

During construction, silt screens were installed to ensure that the corals were not affected during the reclamation works. The landfill is lined with an impermeable membrane and clay and any leachate produced is processed at a leachate treatment plant. Regular water testing is carried out to ensure the integrity of the impermeable liners.

Two plots of mangroves totaling 13.6 hectares, which were planted just outside the perimeter bund to replace those affected by the construction work are growing well. This is a good indication that there has been no seepage through the liners.

Another design feature is the built-in channels that allow the flow of seawater into non-active cells, keeping the water fresh at all times.

The natural habitat on Pulau Semakau has also been preserved. Today, after almost six years of operation, the mangrove, landfill and island habitats are growing well. Birds can be seen in the air and the open landscape, fishes swim in and out of the lagoons, and marine life is observed in the mangrove mudflats and the western shorelines of Pulau Semakau.

For more information, please contact: Call Centre: 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) Email:contact_nea@nea.gov.sg

Related articles on Wild shores of Singapore and Singapore's biodiversity and Re-creation in our wild places

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