2019 Pulau Semakau Landfill Learning Journey

Pulau Semakau Landfill – What is it?

Located about 8 kilometers south of Singapore, Pulau Semakau is Singapore’s only landfill, as of the present, that began operating on 1 April 2019. It has a perimeter of 7 kilometers and was build to contain non-incinerable waste and the ash produced by incineration plants.

Initially, the landfill was expected to last till 2045, but due to an unexpected growth in the rate of production of solid waste, it is currently estimated that it will only last till 2035. Bearing in mind that continuously building landfills is neither a viable nor sustainable option, the issue of waste management in Singapore has become a particularly important one to address.  In order to do this, many efforts have been made, including the implementation of specific measures at Pulau Semakau Landfill itself. In order to learn more about these measures, a group of Greenlink members went on a Learning Journey to the island.


Benefits from the Learning Journey

Our Greenlink members were taken on a guided bus tour around Pulau Semakau and got to see how waste was being treated, finding out many interesting facts about the landfill in the process.

One of the most surprising things was that despite it’s identity being that of a landfill, most parts of the island were surprisingly clean and scenic. This is in large part due to the fact that the waste was not randomly dumped , but instead unloaded into landfill cells, where they would be leveled and compacted before being covered with a layer of earth. Flora would then take root and form a green landscape, resulting in the appearance of the island being as such.

One other interesting thing we learnt about is the great length to which the management have gone to ensure that the landfill makes minimal impact on the environment. One of the measures taken in this aspect is the lining of the perimeter of the island with an impermeable membrane and a layer of marine clay, ensuring that any pollution will remain within the landfill, among many others.

It is due to this that Pulau Semakau has a vibrant ecosystem, with marine life such as crabs, starfish, sea otters, tortoises and corals and also other wildlife – particularly birds! In fact, Pulau Semakau is one of the best places to bird watch in Singapore.

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Check out this bird that we managed to spot! Can you identify what it is?


Final Thoughts

The Pulau Semakau Learning Journey was interesting and enjoyable, but simultaneously insightful and educational. Our Greenlink members benefited greatly from this learning journey and strongly encourage everyone to visit should they have the chance to.

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We would like to thank Tiong Bahru YEC for organising this outing and for giving us the opportunity to take part, and we do hope that all of the other participants had fun as well!

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