what is a landfill and can it co-exist
taken from "Towards
Enviromental Sustainability: State of the Enviroment 2005 Report"
on the NEA website (PDF file)
to 2000, the amount of solid waste disposed of increased six times
to 7,600 tonnes per day. At this rate, Singapore will need a new incineration
plant every 5-7 years and a 350-hectare landfill every 25-30 years.
This is unsustainable for a small city-state.
This is why - Singapore is now pursuing a strategy of ‘Towards
Zero Landfill’. With limited land for landfills, Singapore’s
policy is to incinerate all incinerable waste that is not recovered,
reused or recycled.
Incineration reduces waste volume by up to 90%. About 91% of
waste collected is incinerated.
The remaining 9% that cannot be incinerated is disposed of at
Semakau Landfill, along with the ash generated from incineration.
solid waste management strategy Towards
Zero Landfill and Towards Zero Waste
Volume reduction through incineration
Reuse and Recycle to reduce waste disposed of at incineration
plants and the landfill
Waste minimisation to reduce waste generated.
Pulau Semakau began its life as an offshore landfill in 1999, when
the last remaining landfill on Singapore’s mainland had been exhausted.
Covering 350 hectares, it has a capacity of 63 million cubic metres
and an expected lifespan of 30 to 40 years.
The landfill space was created by enclosing Pulau Semakau and a small
adjacent island (Pulau Sakeng) with a rock bund. The bund is lined
with an impermeable membrane and a layer of marine clay to ensure
that used water generated in the landill is contained within the landfill
area. Monitoring wells dot the perimeter at 100-metre intervals to
measure the surrounding water quality.
Today, all non-incinerable waste and incineration ash are loaded into
barges which make the 25-km sea journey from Tuas Marine Transfer
Station to Pulau Semakau. The barges are equipped with hatch covers
to prevent waste from being blown off during transportation. Once
the waste arrives, huge excavators transfer it onto large, off-road
trucks. The waste is then transported to the tipping sites for final
Five years on, birds and plants are thriving on Pulau Semakau, and
the air quality remains good. This idyllic state is possible due to
the careful construction of the landfill space. Efforts were made
to protect the marine ecosystem, especially mangroves and corals near
the landfill. 13 hectares of mangrove were replanted to replace those
removed during construction of the bund. The replanted mangroves now
also serve as a biological indicator of the safety and ecological
soundness of the landfill.
see Pulau Semakau
general info page