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The Sunday Times, 17 Oct 04
HSBC staff to turn 'gardeners' for Chek Jawa
By Arlina Arshad

FOR the next three years, Chek Jawa is going to get some tender loving care from staff of HSBC.

The bank has adopted the ecologically rich and biologically diverse area on the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin, under the National Parks Board's adopt-a-park scheme.

Under the three-year conservation programme, staff will plant saplings and weed the forest. Some will also be trained to be Chek Jawa nature guides.

About 150 bank staff and their families were there yesterday at an event to launch the conservation programme. The bank has adopted Chek Jawa to illustrate its 'long-standing commitment to the environmental cause' and to fulfil its 'corporate and social responsibility', said its chief executive officer Paul Lawrence. He added: 'We look forward to making a real and lasting difference to the re-greening of Chek Jawa and enhancing its value as a living classroom for our community, especially children, starting today.'

Yesterday, guest of honour National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan took a guided tour of the coastal plains, and unveiled the 2004 Care-For-Nature Chek Jawa stamp series.

Chek Jawa was discovered by Nature Society members in January 2001, and has since attracted 10,000 visitors who wait for the low tide to reveal tiny sea creatures such as sea horses, starfish, and crabs on the soft mud. It was earmarked for reclamation, but appeals from the public persuaded the Government to put its plans on hold, as long as it wasn't required for development.

Mr Mah called the bank's plan an example of green partnership. He said: 'As the awareness for green issues grow, the Government, green groups, private corporations and the community will find it necessary to work closely in partnership. 'Together, we could implement sustainable programmes in the areas of promoting nature awareness and appreciation, and enriching the public's experience.'

One of the volunteers, Miss Ng Bee Cheng, 33, vice-president of HSBC's risk analysis unit, said: 'I've never been so close to nature. It's not a one-off thing, I'm looking forward to do my part in preserving this place.'


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