MEWR to raise minimum level for land reclamation [News]
By Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel NewsAsia, 12 Oct 2011.
The Environment and Water Resources Ministry (MEWR) will raise the minimum levels for land reclamation by at least one metre, as an adequate buffer against a potential rise in sea levels.
This is one of the steps the MEWR will take to enhance Singapore’s resilience against the potential impact of climate change, the ministry said in its addendum to the President’s Address.
As a low-lying and densely populated island, Singapore is vulnerable to climate change. Experts said a rise in sea level can result in some coastal erosion and land loss.
Chairperson of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Environment and National Development, Lee Bee Wah, said: “The minister is looking long-term – the rise of the sea level perhaps in (the next) 100 or 200 years. We want to address it now and the cheaper way of doing it is to do it (during) the land reclamation by building up the additional one metre.”
The ministry will also develop capabilities in climate science to improve its understanding of future localised climatic conditions. It will form networks with relevant experts and institutions at the forefront of climate research.
In a separate addendum, the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCSS) said the government will invest in infrastructure as well as in research and development of low carbon technologies for deployment in Singapore. In addition, it will enhance understanding and expertise in climate science, and build up Singapore’s resilience and adaptability to climate change.
Singapore suffered one of the worst floods in June last year, which led to parts of the Orchard Road shopping belt being submerged.
The ministry said it takes a serious view of flooding in Singapore and is conducting an in-depth review of all flood protection measures to be implemented over the next decade. This is being done in consultation with a panel of local and overseas experts, and also through public consultation efforts.
The review will be completed by the end of the year.
In the meantime, it will continue to enhance the drainage system and work with the public to ensure adequate flood protection for their properties.
Separately, the ministry also pledged to raise the standards of public cleanliness and hygiene. The public can expect improved standards of cleaning services.
The MEWR said a quality living environment relies on more than tighter standards and cleansing regimes and that ultimately, it is the people who make the city beautiful. So citizens and visitors alike must do their part to reduce littering.
Eugene Heng, founder of the Waterways Watch Society, said: “Education is very important… perhaps (make it) a little bit more mandatory (for) schools to go through this kind of education programme. I believe it has to be hands-on, place-based… The students must come down and actually participate in this so that it gives a lasting impression and encourages them to change their social habits, wherever they are.”
The smoking ban may also be extended to cover more places to reduce the impact of second-hand smoke on non-smokers. The ministry however did not give details on the areas being considered.
Dr Lee said: “Quite a lot of my residents are asking if we can ban smoking in the park. We can (also) ban smoking at the bus stop because, for example, in the early morning the bus stop is normally quite packed.”
Another area under review is noise standards and guidelines to protect public health and minimise nuisance.
Source: Channel NewsAsia