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The New Paper, 31 Mar 04

Road to link Sentosa to St John? | Plans for the Southern Islands | Visibility problems

Visibility problems
by Teh Jen Lee

About 1,000 people visit the Southern Islands every year. They include divers, boaters, picnickers and temple devotees to Kusu.

Since 2001, Miss Elsie Wong has been diving near the islands at least once a month to conduct surveys for her work. The 27-year old research assistant with the National University of Singapore's marine biology laboratory complains that reclamation reduces water visibility. "Sometimes it's so bad, I can't see anything and I have to abort the dives. These days, visibility is less than one metre". Miss Wong said.

Miss Jani Thuaibah, 23, a research assistant with the Tropical Marine Science Institute, which has a facility on St. John's Island, said visibility improves to four metres when reclamation stops.

Mr Mark Ray, 54, marine manager at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, said leisure boats used to anchor at Lazarus on weekends. "Boaters have stayed clear of the reclamation area because you don't know the water depth any more. It's dangerous, plus there are always strong currents there." Mr Ray said.

A notice from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore yesterday extended the period of work at the Southern Islands until the end of September.

Related articles: Road to link Sentosa to St John? | Plans for the Southern Islands

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