Biggest rubbish dump grows bigger

The second phase of the offshore Semakau Landfill (left), which started its development in 2011 (far left), can hold enough incinerated waste to fill 6,680 Olympic-size swimming pools.
The second phase of the offshore Semakau Landfill (above), which started its development in 2011, can hold enough incinerated waste to fill 6,680 Olympic-size swimming pools.PHOTOS: NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
The second phase of the offshore Semakau Landfill (left), which started its development in 2011 (far left), can hold enough incinerated waste to fill 6,680 Olympic-size swimming pools.
The second phase of the offshore Semakau Landfill, which started its development in 2011 (above), can hold enough incinerated waste to fill 6,680 Olympic-size swimming pools.PHOTOS: NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Semakau Landfill adds new section, enabling it to last until at least 2035

Singapore's biggest rubbish dump is ready for more trash.

Yesterday, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan opened a new section of the offshore Semakau Landfill that can hold enough incinerated waste to fill 6,680 Olympic-size swimming pools.

All 11 cells in the Phase I section of the landfill are expected to be filled by next year, and the new added capacity will take it to at least 2035. The National Environment Agency (NEA) started development of the second phase in 2011. Unlike Phase I, which has multiple landfill cells, the second has a single large cell to maximise capacity and lower costs.

Pulau Semakau is also noted for being a recreational area with guided walks. Said Dr Balakrishnan at an event to mark the completion of the second phase: "This is probably one of the few landfill sites in the world that can also become a tourist attraction.

"We can bring people here and they can see many things - both on a technological front as well as on the conservation and environmental fronts."

In Phase II, a gap in the southern perimeter bund of the landfill was closed to convert a 157ha sea space into space that could be used for waste disposal.

A 200m floating platform and a floating waste water treatment plant were also constructed.

Dump trucks will transport incineration ash to the landfill via the floating platform, which can move to allow the ash to be spread across the large cell. Water that is displaced is processed at the treatment plant before it is discharged into the open sea.

NEA also carried out two marine life preservation projects, including transplanting more than 700 colonies of corals to Sisters' Island. Dr Balakrishnan stressed that Singaporeans should produce less waste and recycle more.

He said: "In the long run, Singapore can't keep creating more and more Pulau Semakaus."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 12, 2015, with the headline 'Biggest rubbish dump grows bigger'. Print Edition | Subscribe