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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Take preventive measures to reduce silt from marine construction activities

Letter from Nature Society (Singapore) Straits Times Online 7 Oct 006
full letter

I refer to the article 'Silt in water: Harder 'whacks' planned' (ST, Sept 30).
We applaud the PUB's plan to impose better work practices and heavier fines on contractors who allow silt run-off from their worksites to pollute the waterways.

This is a timely initiative and we welcome the PUB's monitoring and prevention measures.

As far as we can see, this is essentially applicable to land-based construction activities and internal waterways.

How about marine or sea-based activities such as foreshore or land reclamation, trenching in seabed and dredging in Singapore waters?

These activities that include work on islands off Singapore are usually of a greater scale than land-based construction.

Uncontrolled marine-based activities can cause sedimentation that 'pollute' the sea with a tremendous amount of silt.

This is not only unpleasant and detrimental for diving, swimming and the many activities that we promote in our offshore waters, they also threaten our diminishing marine habitats such as coral reefs, seagrass beds, inter-tidal shores including mangrove.

Moreover, as we move into desalination as a source of water supply, excessive silt in Singapore waters is definitely not welcome.

We hope that the government agencies that have jurisdiction over Singapore waters will follow the good example of PUB and take preventive measures to reduce silt from sea-based activities.

More can be done to our sea as divers and boaters will testify.

Leong Kwok Peng
Marine Conservation Group
Nature Society (Singapore)

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