Friday, January 4, 2008

MPA's reply to the labrador issue

My email to MPA

Dear Sir/Madam,

I chanced upon a fellow singaporean's blog commenting on the sad state of labrador beach due to the tearing down of concrete structures.

During my undergraduate years in NUS I was part of a team that studied the biodiversity of animals on Labrador beach. Our study had revealed the rich diversity of the area [D. Huang., L.M . Chou, P.A. Todd, K.H. Ang, P.Y. Boon and L. Cheng. Algal and Invertebrate Diversity of the Intertidal Zone at Labrador Nature Reserve, Singapore (2006) Malayan Nature Journal 59(1), 93-102] and it pained me to see the beach in its current state. May I enquire why the contractors were allowed to leave debris lying about in this manner as it is no doubt destroying the fragile coast.

From MPA's contacts website I was not sure which person to contact regarding this matter but I would appreciate it if you could help to forward this email to the person in-charge if I have sent this email to the wrong department. I (and many other nature-lovers in Singapore) look forward to MPA's favourable reply.

a concerned Singaporean

MPA's reply

Dear Ms Boon,

1 Thank you for the feedback dated 30 Dec 07.

2 The MPA is concerned with protecting the marine environment, and had taken pre-emptive measures to conserve the environment in the affected area in Labrador Park, even before the works began. One such measure was to translocate the corals in the area to an artificial reef. This project was led by local marine expert, Prof Chou Loke Ming. The corals will be returned to their original site once the works in the area are fully completed. An article regarding this project was recently published in the Straits Times. We attach the article for your information.

3 Since early Dec 07, our contractor has stepped up the maintenance of the beach in the work area and has been assisting to clear the debris brought in by the tides.

4 The contractor is currently in the process of removing the cofferdam, and all construction debris including the concrete blocks will be removed and disposed properly. The removal of the cofferdam is expected to be completed in end Jan 08, and we will ensure that the cofferdam work area is cleared of all debris before it is returned to the National Parks Board's management. Please be assured that conserving and sustaining the environment is an important consideration in the planning and execution of our works.


Joe Lai said...

Pre-emptive measures don't seem to measure up at all if conditions have been left to escalate to this point of pollution. Now then remove debris? I wish there is external audit to the 20 million dollars spent in a conservation project when it seemed that accumulation of the debris point only to neglect by all active parties involved. And we the public won't have known how circumstances have fallen into this mess if not for normal folks who chanced upon it, reported it and started asking important questions.

Liana said...

Hehe, it's quite funny. "...local marine expert, Prof Chou.." reeks of copy+paste, or the person didn't see/recognise a certain "LM Chou in your letter. I roll me eyes.

We will never know who was really responsible for all that trash I'm sure. Anybody from the team leader, project head, organisation head.. could have been responsible.

My guess is that MPA is probably the last organisation that would even be in the know of it, seeing as how autonomously the project seemed to be operating.

I daren't doubt anybody's feeling of sentimentality toward our last rocky shore; we can't expect them to change their tune anytime soon -- but the only thing amiss in this whole fiasco is that nobody has nominated a scapegoat yet (or has to balls to own up).

peizee said...

Well said. The coral relocation project had good objectives but having pre-emptive measures doesn't mean they can allow pollution to happen. Then pollution will just cloud (pun intended) the whole purpose of having the relocation.

And I don't think it's a problem of who's responsible, rather that everyone involved in the cofferdam project knows that there is damage done and yet no one has made a move to stop it. Same for the SP project.

And I'm not sure about Singaporean's sentimentality about Labrador. Besides pple already in the know through our blogs, how many people actually know we have such a nature reserve or have visited her in the first place. Think we still need to up Labrador's visibility.

Monkey said...

when they move the coral and then move them back again, they are assuming that corals can somehow rebound back without acknowledging that the percentage of successful transplant will be lower than 30%! since i am no local marine expert and just a sea monkey, obviously i don't have the figures for this but im sure even said local marine expert doesn't know for sure that this is 100% successful. mortality will be high.

i agree that labradors visibility is very low despite it being a nature reserve. must be the worst amongst all reserves. how depressing