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Singapore's seagrass meadows at risk from reclamation

Half of Singapore's only flowering sea plants killed in the last 50 years

Published on Jul 12, 2014 9:33 AM

Land reclamation is putting Singapore at risk of losing all of its seagrass meadows - lush, underwater "gardens" of the only flowering plants that live in the sea.

A National University of Singapore (NUS) study has found that filling the island's coastal waters with sand over the almost five decades since independence has killed 1.6 sq km of seagrass - nearly half of the country's total.

Dredging and reclamation works either bury it or cloud the water with sediment, blocking out the sunlight that it needs to thrive.

"One of the main threats to seagrasses is declining water quality," said marine ecologist Siti Maryam Yaakub, who recently graduated after carrying out the four-year study as a PhD student.

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