Step up checks and monitoring of tree health

I am very relieved there were no fatalities in this particular episode (14 people taken to hospital after tree falls in Sembawang Park; Dec 21). It was a miracle that more were not injured, as there could have been children running around in the area, it being the school holidays.

National Parks Board, however, has to be more proactive and think of ways to prevent this from happening again as lives are at stake and property could be damaged.

Perhaps NParks could list the trees around Singapore that may be potentially unstable either because they have been newly uprooted or are in the path of potential strong winds. Making this list should not be too arduous, with artificial intelligence and data analytics being so advanced.

NParks can also approach the Ministry of Education to get schools to adopt a few trees from this list and get students to note the state of their adopted trees regularly. Teachers can help to spice up these visits by asking students to study the history and characteristics of the trees.

Another solution is to use drone technology to inspect these trees regularly and record their stability.

I hope Singapore's green culture will not be substituted by potentially more islandwide tree-felling.

Colin Ong Tau Shien

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2018, with the headline 'Step up checks and monitoring of tree health'. Print Edition | Subscribe