The hottest news in Singapore right now is the accidental deforestation of trees in the Kranji area.
This was first brought to the attention of the public by a Facebook user, Brice Li, on 14 Feb 2021.
In the picture below, you can take a closer look at how much land was cleared along the sides of the Rail Corridor.
Two days later, on 16 Feb 2021, JTC said the company which did the deforestation, Huationg, had erroneously cleared the land.
They had engaged an environmental specialist to carry out a biodiversity baseline study in December last year to work out an environmental monitoring and management plan (EMMP) for specified plots of land within the area.
Upon discovering the error on 13 Jan, the order to stop work was given immediately.
A stern warning was given to Huationg and the company has apologised.
Case closed, right?
Satellite Images Reportedly Show That Kranji Woodland Being Cleared Since March 2020
On 18 Feb 2021, ST reported that the forest had been cleared since March 2020.
Satellite images showed that the deforestation efforts have started even before the December 2020 date claimed by JTC.
Over 8ha of the land has been cleared, according to the national newspaper.
The earlier-than-reported deforestation was backed up by data on Global Forest Watch, which showed that forested land, totally at least 8ha, disappeared from 1 Mar 2020.
In September 2020, photos from Google Street View also showed a sign saying “proposed site clearance and earthworks at Kranji Road for Plot 9” at the cleared land next to Kranji Road.
JTC says it’s still investigating the incident.
Salvaging the Situation
Mr Leong Kwok Peng, who chairs the Nature Society Singapore’s conservation committee, has also spoken on this situation.
He mentioned how he’s never seen such a huge mistake despite working with developers in the past.
However, he added, it’s also worth looking at what can be saved from this incident.
One suggestion is to widen the already narrow vegetation around the Rail Corridor through replantation.
One thing for sure, though, this won’t be the last we hear about the Kranji incident. Or maybe, it will, given our worse-than-goldfish attention span.
Feature Image: YouTube (Straits Times)