Environmental issues in Singapore

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Environmental issues in Singapore include air and water pollution, urbanisation and deforestation. The government established the Singapore Green Plan in 1992 to help with environmental problems.

Short History[edit]

Since the British established Singapore in 1819, more than 95% of its estimated 590 square km of vegetation has been cleared. At first for short-term cash crops and later because of urbanization and industrialization. Its population grew exponentially from approximately 150 subsistence-economy villagers in 1819 to the nearly 5 million citizens today.

61 of its original 91 bird species has been lost leading to many native forest plants not being able to reproduce because of loss of seed dispersal and pollination.[1]

Environmental policy[edit]

To combat the country's environmental problems the Singaporean government first made the Singapore Green Plan in 1992 and a new edition of it in 2012 to continue it.[2] The plan aims to keep tabs on the unstable populations of fauna and flora, to place new nature parks and to connect existing parks.[3] It was announced on June 3, 2013, that the government will begin recording the amount of carbon emitted in the country and how much of it is absorbed by the country's flora.[4]


Air pollution in Singapore[edit]

A housing estate in Jurong East being shrouded in haze, photographed October 15, 2006

In 1984, there were health concerns with the great number of pig farms in Singapore. They were deemed to have contributed to the pollution of the country, namely to the air. This problem was solved by reducing the number of such farms.[5] 65.8 metric tons (64.8 long tons; 72.5 short tons) of carbon dioxide were emitted in the country in 1996, ranking among one of the highest emission levels in the world. Air polluters in Singapore are mostly, but not only, vehicles for transport, despite the country's tough regulations.[6] The country is blanketed in haze for a period of time annually, contributed by smoke from Indonesian fires.[7]

Water pollution[edit]

Bottles of NEWater on display at a 2005 function

Water in Singapore is polluted by unwanted materials contributed by industrial facilities, coupled by oil from both incoming and outgoing trading vessels.[8] Corrective measures are taken, and affected water is taken for treatment at specialised centres.[6] Plants such as NEWater treat unwanted water into drinkable water.[9] One major water body in Singapore which used to be polluted is the Singapore River.[10][11]

Urbanization Study[edit]

Singapore's rapid development into an urban nation has neglected the natural environment, according to a report published by the National University of Singapore, which ranked the country as the "worst environmental offender among 179 countries". The report was "slammed" by the Singaporean government.[12]

Interactive Graphics[edit]

  • What's causing the haze in Singapore?- The haze in Singapore is back. See what's causing it and how you can protect yourself from the ill-effects of the haze. Explore the hot spots across Indonesia with the current wind direction to show where the haze is coming from plus the current and historic PSI levels from Singapore's National Environment Agency.
  • Singapore Underwater - A look at how rising sea levels as a result of climate change might affect Singapore's low-lying land in virtual reality. Accompanied with an essay on what Singapore is currently doing to protect itself for the foreseeable future.[13][14]


  1. ^ Ceballos, G.; Ehrlich, A. H.; Ehrlich, P. R. (2015). The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 148-149. ISBN 1421417189 – via Open Edition.
  2. ^ "About SGP 2012". Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ "National Initiatives". National Biodiversity Reference Center. Archived from the original on March 2, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  4. ^ Zengkun, Feng (June 3, 2013). "Government to track Singapore's carbon emissions". The Straits Times. 
  5. ^ "Singapore - Agriculture". Country Studies. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Environmental Issues in Singapore". Allo' Expat Singapore. June 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ Harper, Damian (2007). "Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. Ediz. Inglese" (10 ed.). Lonely Planet. pp. 69–. ISBN 9781740597081. 
  8. ^ Loke, Ming Chou (1988). The Coastal Environmental Profile of Singapore. The WorldFish Center. pp. 78–. ISBN 9789711022488. 
  9. ^ "NEWater". Public Utilities Board. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Environmental Trailblazing in Singapore" (PDF). Centre for Liveable Cities. May 29, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The History of Singapore River". Singapore River One. Archived from the original on May 30, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  12. ^ Vaughan, Victoria (May 14, 2010). "Is Singapore the worst environmental offender?". AsiaOne. 
  13. ^ "How Singapore is responding to the threat of rising sea levels". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2017-05-31. 
  14. ^ "Singapore underwater". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2017-05-31.