Saturday, 23 February 2008

Pulau Semakau

Aerial view

On Saturday, about 50 of us headed off to Pulau Semakau, one of Singapore’s offshore landfill. We started our long journey there at 12.50 pm. At Marina South Pier, we embarked on a 45 min ferry ride to our destination – Sumacau Island. On arrival we headed into the conference room for a talk and video. The video mainly showed the operations of the island. We learnt that Pulau Semakau was created by forming a 7 km bund around two existing island, Semakau and Sakeng. The bund had 2 layers to prevent any leakage into the sea. The area within the bund was divided into cells to be filled. Did you know that our incinerated waste is transported to the island using barges that can carry up to 30 tonnes of incinerated waste daily?
We had the opportunity to observe the many cells that the island was divided into. Some were still in the process of being filled. Our friendly tour guide Mr. Poothaphan drove us along the road where we could compare the already filled cells with the adjacent unfilled one. We were also able to observe the mangrove plants that were planted on the left side of the road to increase the biodiversity of the island.

Upon reaching the southern part of the island, we stopped to enjoy the breathtaking view of the sea. While resting, we had some refreshments and had an opportunity to interact with one another and with our guide. He was very helpful in answering the questions many of us had. We spent quite some time there taking photos or just appreciating the good view. All too soon, it was time for us to leave.

Through this trip, we have gained a deeper appreciation for the efforts taken into processing our waste and also the planning and thought put into Semakau that has led to it becoming a clean, green and beautiful island. We also know that the waste that we throw down our rubbish chute simply does not just disappear, but it is used in the development of our offshore islands. Much thought and care have been put into ensuring that they are disposed off properly without affecting the environment.

At the end of the day, we are reminded of the importance of keeping the environment clean and green all while enjoying ourselves in Sumacau Island.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Report on Trip to Tuas South Incineration Plant

On 15th February 2008, Public Education Portfolio of NTU Earthlink organized a trip to Tuas South Incineration plant.
The objective of the event was to educate participants on the incineration process and its significance in sustaining a healthy and clean lifestyle in Singapore. Due to space constraint, Singapore resorts to incineration of its waste which allows a reduction of 90% of volume of refuse.

A Brief Description of Tuas South Incineration Plant(T.S.I.P.)
Tuas South is the forth Incineration plant which was built in year 2000. It is currently the largest refuse incineration plant and can incinerate 3,000 tonnes of refuse per day through its 6 incinerators.
TSIP is a "green" plant, helping to conserve our portable water resources by using industrial water pre-treated by its own water reclamation plant for use in the boilers. The plant will also not consume any of Singapore's present electricity resources. Rather it will generate 80 MW of electricity, 80% of which will be made available for the public to use. Together the four plants supply about 2 % of Singapore's overall electricity consumption.

1235 – Departure from Chinese Heritage Centre
Ms. Grace Ngan, Public Education Officer gave a quick introduction of the trip and what to look forward to.

1255 - Arrival at Tuas South Incineration Centre

1300 - Video presentation of Managing Solid Waste in Singapore
Video highlighted the importance of managing waste and illustrated the whole incineration process.Most of the participants were enlightened that Pulau Semakau will take 30 to 40 years to reclaim. Once complete, it will be an island resort with a golf course and more!

1315 - Presentation by Mr. Ravi,
Mr. Ravi introduced the plant to all the participants, mentioning as stated above in the brief Description. To add, he said that TSIP takes domestic and combustible industrial waste to be incinerated.
Due to the humid Singapore climate, the plant operated 24 hours a day, for 7 days a week. This is to avoid pileup, which could lead to stench and a myriad of diseases.He also covered the incineration process once again and opened the floor for a Q&A session. Participants were clearly engaged and curious, for they brought up various issues regarding the plant and impact on the environment.

1335 - Guided Tour of the Plant
After his presentation, Mr. Ravi started the guided tour of TSIP. Participant were brought to the control room to see first hand how the plant operates. Participants also manage to have a look at the ash pit as they were making their to the control Room.
At the control room, there were various monitors and dashboard for operation purposes. A participant commented that it was like entering a NASA operation centre, like in the movies. Mr. Ravi talked about what happens in the control room and explained on the functions of the huge screens that is used monitor the operation level of the plant and to detect any fault in the system.

1400 - Moved from Control Room to view the Stoker Model
The Stoker Model is the minimized version of the incineration plant. This 3D model clearly illustrates the whole incineration process that takes place in TSIP.

1415 - Refreshments
As a close for the trip, participants were given light refreshments and were able to quench their thirst of curiosity regarding the plant. Mr. Ravi was enthusiastically answering various questions from participants.

1430 - Departure from TSIP
Heavy heartedly, participants boarded the bus to return to NTU. This trip was very knowledgeable and interesting for all.