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Activists oppose tunnel under Singapore forest

Friday, March 25, 2016 - 01:48

Environmentalists hold walks through Singapore’s rainforest to oppose government plans to build a tunnel underneath, part of a growing social activism in the country. Yiming Woo reports.

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Lizards...parakeets....caterpillars...Singapore's MacRitchie rainforest is home to hundreds of animal and plant species. But if government plans to run a tunnel underneath go through, many of them could disappear. Biologist David Tan has organised guided walks through the forest -- he's hoping enough public opposition will keep it safe. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARCH FOR MACRITCHIE ORGANISER, DAVID TAN, SAYING: "A lot of these impacts that may result from the site investigation works will have downstream effects, not only on the biodiversity, but also on the ability of the forest to regulate climatic conditions, on the ability of the forest to maintain the services that it's been providing for us as well." The government says they are also looking at skirting the tunnel around the nature reserve, but it could cost $1.5 billion more. Social activism isn't popular in Singapore. The last time residents were vocal was for the start of government construction at Bukit Brown's historic cemeteries a few years ago. Raymond Goh was one of the activists who tried and failed to stop it, but he remains optimistic that times are changing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTIVIST RAYMOND GOH, SAYING: "You know, now, when people look at our Singapore, it's like an urban concrete jungle, we see towering (buildings). When people become more affluent, people tend to treasure things like nature, heritage, history value, and things that can remind them of their past and identity." Singapore lacks land and natural resources, but it's clear many think losing nature and history may be too high a price to pay for development.

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Activists oppose tunnel under Singapore forest

Friday, March 25, 2016 - 01:48