Our politicians have always pledged to protect the environment. Shortly after the general election last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (PM Lee) had announced renaming the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources to the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) in a bid to signal the Government’s commitment to sustainability.
PM Lee noted that sustainability had become an “increasingly important part of our national agenda” and highlighted climate change defence and managing the island’s carbon footprint. He even posts wildlife on his Facebook page — setting out the adventures of the wild otters.
Disturbingly, it has come to light that 33 hectares of expansive forest, south of Clementi forest, Dover forest is now slated for residential development and would most probably be cut down to make way for new flats in the coming years.
Apart from the tranquillity and beauty, an environmental baseline study of the area reveals not just four untouched freshwater streams and its rich flora and fauna, but also its immensely rich history – from kampungs to plantations – a rich tapestry of our country’s heritage.
Isn’t a huge swathe of forest (such as Dover forest) a big part of helping with our carbon footprint?
As this natural habitat is destroyed, where will the adorable wildlife housed in it go?
There is an increasing number of Singaporeans who are paying attention to how our green spaces are being zoned.
Calls for Clementi Forest not to become zoned as a residential plot have been made to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) by concerned citizens, some of whom have even started a petition.
The petition calls for the area to be designated as a nature park instead — on the basis that it is extremely rich in biodiversity and is “the most important and largest unprotected patch of forest/woodland contiguous to the Corridor“.
Why are we potentially tearing down this eco powerhouse and historical landscape just for more flats? Shouldn’t there be a greater value placed on these places that take a split second to destroy but several decades (at least) to form?
A Facebook user, Ho Xiang Tian has posted a sobering photo of Pasir Ris Park. Once rich in greenery, reduced to a wasteland of concrete. Most notably, Ho said:
” Dover forest could soon look like this. A patch of forest the size of 10 football fields next to Pasir Ris Park was destroyed a couple of months ago for BTOs, because it was zoned as “Residential” in the URA masterplan. Now, Dover forest with a size of 46 football fields will be destroyed for BTOs too because it is also zoned as “Residential” in the URA masterplan.
The forest at Pasir Ris is gone, but Dover forest isn’t gone yet.”
We still have a chance to preserve Dover forest even if we have already lost Pasir Ris Park.
At end of the day, how many more flats do we need?
Bear in mind that the People’s Action Party government has categorically stated that it has no plans for Singapore to increase its population to 10 million.
“Let me be clear: The Government has never proposed or targeted for Singapore to increase its population to 10 million,”
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat who is slated to be the next Prime Minister of Singapore also wrote back in July last year, “And if we look at today’s situation, our population is likely to be significantly below 6.9 million by 2030.”
So who are exactly are we clearing the forest to build the flats for?