Monday, April 02, 2007

Land Reclamation: Do we really need them?

An interesting article in the NST entitled "What future in Land Reclamation?" by Prof. Salleh Buang caught my attention last Saturday morning (NST, 30 March 2007).

The article which appeared in the pull-out section, Property Times, discussed on the need, or otherwise, for land reclamation activities along our precious coasts.

I am pretty sure the article would make many people sit up and take notice. For it definitely goes against the grain of current-day believes and practice amongst developers and - if I may add - some politicians, too.

As a town planner, I strongly believe that land reclamation is absolutely unnecessary, not to mention a bane, to our natural coastal environment. It is not as if we are out of land area for urban expansion like the case may be in Singapore.

The shore - where the land meets the sea, has always fascinated the mankind. We have always been attracted to it like ants to sugar. It is, after all, a place of exceeding beauty and full of excitement.

Unfortunately, in our overzealous need to be close to the sea, we are inadvertently destroying the very assets and resources that make the shore so attractive to us in the first place. Yes, a case of 'killing the goose which lays the golden egg' !!

We have to start educating the developers as well as professionals on the need and means for protecting our coastal areas. I have written a short article on the role of planners before in this blog.

But perhaps more importantly, our political masters should lead by example and champion the cause for coastal environmental management and conservation.
Our coastal areas are not wastelands waiting to be 'rehabilitated', nor to be over-developed for short term financial gains at the expense of our future generations.

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