NParks needs to be more transparent on Ubin

NParks should educate and guide visitors on how to live harmoniously with the natural environment on Pulau Ubin, says the writer.
NParks should educate and guide visitors on how to live harmoniously with the natural environment on Pulau Ubin, says the writer.PHOTO: ST FILE

I have mixed feelings regarding the dilemma facing Pulau Ubin (Trouble in paradise, Feb 24).

The free-spirited adventurer in me recoils at the thought of even more rules being enforced.

But the sustainability advocate in me also realises that the National Parks Board (NParks) has a statutory obligation to conserve the flora and fauna within our borders, which includes preventing over-fishing and the mistreatment of wildlife. And this is a responsibility that we all share.

NParks should educate and guide visitors on how to live harmoniously with the natural environment.

When incidents occur, NParks should step in to maintain the balance.

NParks also needs to be more proactive and transparent.

Despite overwhelming testimony from people on the ground, NParks said that it has "not observed any discernible drop in visitorship since" it stopped tracking visitor numbers in 2010.

This is difficult for the public to accept, and I would like to know how it came to this conclusion.

And as for the issue of compensation for Pulau Ubin villagers, they have been stalwarts of the kampung community here, familiar to Singaporeans while providing novel encounters to foreign visitors.

Having invested in their homes - even if they are built on state land - the villagers should be adequately compensated.

Adam Reutens-Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2019, with the headline 'NParks needs to be more transparent on Ubin'. Print Edition | Subscribe