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  NEA newsroom 16 Jul 05
Launch welcomes back 40 former resident families from Pulau Sakeng
News Release No: 30/2005 Date of issue: 16 July 2005

For 40 families, returning together to the island of Pulau Sakeng where they once lived was something they had often talked about. It was a wish come true for them this morning as they set foot on the island - now joined by a bund and road to Pulau Semakau to form Semakau Landfill - as special guests of Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

The Minister was there to officiate the launch of Semakau Landfill for recreational activities. Semakau Landfill was developed to meet Singapore's need for landfill when the last one on the mainland at Lorong Halus closed in 1999.

It is also the world's first manmade offshore landfill. Throughout the planning, design, and construction of the landfill island, and since it came into operation, painstaking efforts have been made to protect the island's ecosystem and preserve its rich natural environment and biodiversity.

These efforts have clearly paid off. So much that when Minister Yaacob first visited the landfill last year, he saw the potential in Semakau to become a recreational haven.

The idea became a challenge that the National Environment Agency (NEA) has made good.

Three special interest groups have responded with enthusiasm to the idea of using Semakau Landfill as a place for recreational activities. They are the Sport Fishing Association of Singapore, Nature Society of Singapore, and Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR).

'We are proud to be playing a part, alongside NEA, in increasing the awareness and promoting the island's abundant biodiversity,' said Ms Ria Tan of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, which has been carrying out inter-tidal surveys at Semakau Landfill.

'Semakau's marine life is amazingly rich. Semakau has probably the largest seagrass area in the Southern shores while Semakau's reefs abound with a rich variety of corals and other creatures. Semakau's natural mangroves also shelter a wide variety of flora and fauna. Some so rare that they are no longer found elsewhere in Singapore,' she added.

Members of the public who are interested in visiting Semakau Landfill should contact one of these three interest group:

Sport Fishing Association of Singapore (sport fishing) at http://www.sfas.net;
Nature Society of Singapore (bird watching) at contact@nss.org.sg or 67412036; or Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) at http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/.

About NEA A statutory board under the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, National Environment Agency's mission is to protect Singapore's Clean Air, Clean Land, Clean Water and high standards of Public Health and sustain it for the benefit and enjoyment of many future generations to come - through close partnership with the Public, Private and People sectors and promotion of environmental ownership by everyone in Singapore. More information about NEA is available at http://www.nea.gov.sg.

About Semakau Landfill The Semakau Landfill is located eight kilometers south of the mainland Singapore. Commissioned in April 1999, the Semakau Landfill was initially expected to meet Singapore's need for landfill space for 30 years, but the nation's recycling efforts have extended this to beyond the year 2040, as at 2005. The goal towards Zero Landfill as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2012 can only be achieved with everyone's commitment, and Semakau Landfill's increasing life expectancy shows that Singaporeans are indeed playing their part. Semakau Landfill is the first offshore landfill in the world accepting mainly inorganic waste - that is, ash from Singapore's four incineration plants - subsequently, will double up as the world's first island made almost entirely from a waste landfill.

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