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Chek Jawa under a different kind of threat
Broadcast on 93.8FM, 24 Dec 01, 6pm

The vibrant marine life off the coast of Tanjung Chek Jawa in Pulau Ubin may be saved now that plans to reclaim the area have been deferred. But still, the area has come under a different kind of threat. Melissa Tan with this report.

Melissa Tan: Chek Jawa, located on the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin, was to have been reclaimed under an original plan by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. This spurred Singaporeans to rush there to catch a final glimpse of this vibrant marine habitat. But last Thursday, the National Development Ministry announced that the reclamation plans for Chek Jawa would be deferred. So now nature enthusiasts are urging the public to allow the habitat recover.

President of the Nature Society of Singapore, Dr Geh Min, said that Singaporeans have been treating the lagoon like an aquarium having a closing down sale.

Dr Geh Min: There have been a few people who have been collecting every specimen or certain specimens that they see. Their attitude is "well, it's all going to go under reclamation so we might as well help ourselves". Now hopefully that will change. I hope they won't be picking up the marine life. That, of course, is a sure way to destroy the place.

Melissa Tan: Biologist N. Sivasothi, a researcher with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity, urges the public to give the lagoon a break.

N. Sivasothi: The thing about a place like Chek Jawa is that when you walk over the area, you are actually creating some kind of impact. So they'll be stepping on a lot of wildlife. A lot of things are being stepped on. We're urging the public not to visit it as much. We would like to see a drop in numbers. A very good thing we can do for Chek Jawa is to leave it alone for a while, and let it recover.

Melissa Tan: A final decision on the fate of Chek Jawa is expected in a fortnight. The authorities are now looking at reclaiming only the southern part of Pulau Ubin for housing purposes.

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