Pulau Semakau Landfill To Turn Into An Eco-Park

by Mallika Naguran

Pulau Semakau - the one and only landfill designated area on an island off Singapore - will soon be turned into an   eco-park, the government revealed at a media briefing today. The eco-park will be a hub for the testbedding of renewable energy technologies and will house recreational and educational facilities.

Pulau Semakau to become a testbed for waste management technologies.

Pulau Semakau to become a testbed for waste management technologies.

Further details and completion date will only be revealed to the media prior to the ISWA Congress which takes place in Singapore from 3-6 November 2008, but Gaia Discovery understands that two companies have already been awarded with the tender for development works.

Pulau Semakau is a half-hour boat ride from the south end of Singapore mainland, off the Straits of Singapore. The Semakau Landfill is located on the eastern side of the island, and was created by joining up Pulau Sakeng (or Pulau Seking) with to Pulau Semakau. Covering 3.5 square kilometres, the landfill has a capacity of 63 million m³.

A 7 km perimeter rock bund was built to surround Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng. On a daily basis, a covered barge ferries ash from the country's four incineration plants to the island. Singapore burns its rubbish in these four plants.

Smoke-free incinerator chimneys in Singapore.

Smoke-free incinerator chimneys in Singapore.

During construction, silt screens were used to protect corals during the reclamation works. The landfill is lined with an impermeable membrane. Clay and any leachate produced is processed at a leachate treatment plant. The centre carries out regular water testing to ensure that the impermeable liners do their job in sealing off leakage.

Given such success in building and managing a non-polluting and relatively odourless environment, Singapore hopes to share its expertise with neighbouring countries in their urban development as a way of solving critical waste management problems.

Pulau Semakau outside the bund boasts of a lively habitat for birds and marine creatures thanks to re-planted mangrove trees, healthy swamp, environmentalists and eco volunteers.

Related article: Waste Management in Singapore gets Technological Funding