SINGAPORE - Plans to restore the shoreline on northern Pulau Ubin, build a coastal boardwalk and support the recovery of endangered plants and animals on the island were revealed on Sunday morning.
Announcing these initiatives at Pulau Ubin, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee said more must be done to protect the rich biodiversity teeming on Pulau Ubin.
Noting that the island has over 720 native plant species and over 500 animal species, including some not found on mainland Singapore, he said: "This is remarkable, but we must do more.
"We have plans to restore Ubin's eroding shoreline, which will serve as a base for more of Pulau Ubin's flora and fauna to be restored in the near future."
Shoreline restoration was one of the earliest priorities for The Ubin Project, announced in 2014 to generate ideas from the public on how to sustain Ubin's special character. Erosion has badly affected about 40m of the northern part of the island, destroying the habitats of critically endangered species like the Eye of the Crocodile tree and leading to the closure of Noordin Beach - a popular camping site - in 2013 for public safety.
A year-long study by the National Parks Board (NParks) found that changes in wave conditions partly due to ship wakes as well as changes in land use were the key causes of erosion.
It has identified possible measures to restore the shoreline, such as using man-made rock structures and sand to widen the existing beaches, growing more mangroves and adding wooden poles along the shoreline to mitigate the impact of waves.
NParks will call a tender, and works are expected to start in 2017 and end by 2020.
A coastal boardwalk of 500m, part of which will extend into the sea, will also be built at Noordin Beach, which will reopen when restoration works are completed.
NParks also on Sunday unveiled a design for new otter holts - which are essentially dens for the critically endangered Oriental Small-clawed Otter unique to Ubin. By the end of this year, two holts will be installed on the island to monitor and study otter behaviour.
Other species recovery efforts include installing 30 bat boxes of six different designs across the island for bats to roost and reintroducing endangered orchid species to parts of the island.
At the event to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity, which falls on May 22 annually, Mr Lee joined over a hundred members of the community to plant 100 mangrove saplings at the mangrove arboretum in the Ubin Living Lab.
"There will certainly be more avenues for community participation with initiatives, such as the orchid conservation project and mangrove restoration programme," he said. "I hope that many more Singaporeans will join us in our endeavour to conserve the many living organisms that exist alongside us."