Subsidise eco-tours for students

It is heartening to see that Singaporeans and tourists are increasingly open to the idea of eco-explorations ("Nature beckons"; Oct 30).

Research has shown that there are various benefits of eco-tourism; beyond the aesthetic appeal of nature, people start to appreciate landscapes, wildlife and coral reefs more, thus stimulating a desire to do their part to protect the natural environment.

Therefore, eco-tours are a step in the right direction in educating the public on environmental conservation and its importance.

However, one obstacle that may deter some from participating in such eco-tours is the high cost.

The Mangrove Kayaking Adventure and Ubin Bike Trail organised by Asian Detours is priced at around $80 for an adult and $60 for a child.

Another company, Edu Outdoor Activities, charges $20 to $40 a person for guided nature walks at places like Bukit Brown Cemetery and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

In addition, these tours are usually targeted at working adults.

To reach out to younger Singaporeans, the Ministry of Education could consider partnering these companies to organise such tours for primary and secondary school students.

By subsidising some of the fees charged, all students would be able to participate in these tours.

This is a good way to get students more acquainted with nature, especially in urban Singapore, where the abundance of flora and fauna is unknown to many.

For Singaporeans to truly care about the environment and do what they can to protect it, the importance of environmental conservation must be inculcated from a young age.

Kimberley Goh Shi Hui (Miss)