Semakau Island: Man Made Green Offshore Landfill of Singapore

by OldSailor on June 3, 2008


garbage recycle island_2

Singapore is a small island of 272 square miles. Domestic and industrial waste of Singapore during the year 2007 was approximately 7,000 tons a day. All these waste is incinerated but how to dispose tons of incineration ash produced every day ? In addition, what to do with tons of non incinerable waste produced everyday ?

Singapore has created an island named Semakau at sea in an area of 350 hectares, to safely dispose waste in an environment friendly way. The Semakau landfill has a capacity of 63 million cubic metres. This landfill is the world’s first offshore landfill constructed fully from the sea space.

Some of the interesting features of Semakau offshore landfill are:

  • this creative concept of offshore landfill is from National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore, in consultation with Nature Society of Singapore, Sport Fishing Association (Singapore) and Wild Singapore.
  • the design and operational work at this landfill ensures that the site is clean, free of smell and scenic.
  • located 8 km south of Singapore and can be reached in 20 minutes by a ferry from Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal or in 35 minutes from West Coast Pier.
  • construction was started in 1995 and landfill operation started on April 01,1999.
  • silt screens were used during construction to avoid damage to corals during the reclamation works.
  • surrounding sea is kept free from pollution by a 7 km perimeter bund lined with impermeable membrane to contain waste within the landfill area and any leachate produced is processed at a leachate treatment plant.
  • mangroves planted in an area of 13.6 hectares around the perimeter bund are growing well which proves that there has been no seepage through the liners.
  • further,the integrity of the impermeable liners is checked by testing water samples regularly in the area.
  • presently, about 1,400 tons of incineration ash and 600 tons of non-incinerable waste are disposed everyday.
  • the western coast of Semakau is now green with plants and beautiful landscaping with pristine water and fresh air.
  • it is estimated that the landfill can last till 2040 to meet the requirements of Singapore.

Semakau landfill was opened for public in July 2005 with following sightseeing attractions:

  • Inter tidal Walk: during low tide visitors can walk around to see the vast mangroves, seagrass, coral reefs, crabs, starfishes, sponges, shrimps and many other interesting flora and fauna.
  • Bird Watching: as many as 66 species of migratory birds, shore birds and forest birds can be seen on Semakau landfill that live on abundance of fish in the surrounding waters.
  • Stargazing: Semakau landfill offers a clear view of the skies for stargazing in a refreshing sea breeze.
  • Educational/Recreational Outing: An educational visit to explain the design, operation and process of solid waste management in Singapore followed by a tour of the landfill. After the educational programme, visitors have the option to engage in recreational activities, including fishing, cycling, barbecuing and camping.
  • Sport Fishing: sport fishing enthusiasts can enjoy catch and release fishing activities and as many as 17 different fish species including barracuda and queen fish can be sighted.

Here is the map of Semakau offshore landfill.


Here is a interesting video news clip on Semakau offshore landfill.

Update: October 13

Singapore is expected to announce development plans for its offshore landfill during a global congress that will be held from November 03 to 06. The masterplan for the Semakau Landfill includes test-bedding environmental technologies and increasing its use for educational purposes. Read more from Channel NewsAsia.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rolando A. Godoy June 19, 2012 at 2:15 PM

solid waste management at its best!!! it will be also be interesting if the community can see how they segregate the garbage at the plant before incinerating. how to join a tour to semakau?

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