Friday, August 18, 2006

Speak up for our shores

Here's an email from Ria of WildSingapore about giving feedback to MEWR about its National Climate Change Strategy. Having taken Prof Wong's Coastal Management module, I feel a strong urge to put my lessons to practice. But you don't need geography lessons to tell the government how you feel about the protection of our shores. Even without threat from sea level rise, we need to ensure that our shore is resilient as it is. Ria makes some interesting suggestions in her email.

Sea Wall
High erosion on ubin shores led to need for extensive sea walls along the coastline. Much of the erosion is due to aggravated waves by the large shipping vessels that pass by along the shipping route between Ubin and Changi/Punggol. Photo by monkey, taken near OBS jetty.

Actually, being a small island state (SIDS), we are actually highly under threat by climate change and sea level rise. For some island states like the Maldives, already people have to evacuate islands due to land loss from continuous annual sea level rise. Whole islands have been lost!

BBC reports that:

"To the naked eye, the signs of climate change are almost imperceptible, but government scientists fear the sea level is rising up to 0.9cm a year. Since 80% of its 1,200 islands are no more than 1m above sea level, within 100 years the Maldives could become uninhabitable. The country's 360,000 citizens would be forced to evacuate."
I'm quite glad the government is doing something about it but the impact to our islands and marine biodiversity can be quite severe as well. The usual strategy for coping with sea level rise is a) retreat b) attack or c) adapt. It would appear that Singapore has chosen the adapt tactic. It would make the most sense since we hardly have enough land to retreat to as it is. Read on to find out what the government has planned and what their strategy for Singapore is.


Dear Friends,

If you haven't already done so, you might want to contribute your thoughts to the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources' public consulation on a National Climate Change Strategy.

Check out the portion on "Singapore's Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change" which includes
=Land Loss and Flooding
=Water Resource Impacts
=Higher Energy Demand and Heat Stress
=Public Health Impact from Resurgence of Diseases
=Impacts on Island and Marine Biodiversity

Here are the two issues that would be of most concern to those of us who care about our shores...

Land Loss and Flooding
A sea level rise of 88cm by 2100 could result in some coastal erosion and land loss in Singapore. In order to minimise the impact of this sea level rise, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) has been
requiring all coastal land to be built to a level 40cm higher than the new sea level after an 88cm sea level rise.

Impacts on Island and Marine Biodiversity
A rise in sea level could also lead to loss of mangroves which could further aggravate coastal erosion rates. Increased erosion could impact recreational areas at the coasts, such as East Coast Park , Sungei Buloh, Pasir Ris Park , West Coast Park , and Sentosa. A rise in seawater temperature as a result of global warming could also have a negative impact on marine life e.g. coral bleaching.

You CAN make a difference!
Send your feedback to MEWR

The feedback portion seeks YOUR views on "What other possible steps can Singapore take to adapt to the impacts from climate change described?" i.e., Land Loss and Flooding, Impacts on Island and Marine Biodiversity

We can also use this opportunity to highlight other issues relating to the shores.

For example, increasing the resilience of our natural shore habitats so they can withstand warming by reducing sedimentation, pollution, drift netting and unregulated over-use of natural shores. For a list of threats to our coral reefs (applies also to other shore habitats) see Tse-Lynn's Coral Reefs of Singapore website (scroll down to bottom of the page)

More? ...
For the latest global warming and climate change events and issues in Singapore, see today's daily wildsingapore e-newsletter posting...


Wilson Ang a.k.a ShamU said...

Great Blog. do you have an email I can email you? I can't find it. *sob sob*

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