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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Remember that Old Saying, "Prevention is Better than Cure"?

Maybe that is not taught anymore in school nowadays.

The proposal to improve the quality of our rivers is good but the method appears rather costly as it proposes to treat the pollution after the water has turned bad.

Such a system will not be cost effective unless more stringent measures are taken before the river gets so polluted.

A few days ago, I was walking along the Rocor Canal in Singapore near the Bus Station and the water in the canal was quite low. In the water I could see hundreds of fishes some about 70mm in length. One can also see fish in the Singapore River. Maybe we can learn some simple effective measures from our southern neighbours.

To me a more cost effective solution would be the following:

1.Control of squatter colonies near rivers with proper sanitation
2.Treatment of all effluents by factories and enforcement of regulations
3.Proper monitoring of factories and waste disposal contractors
4.Enforcement of dumping restrictions near rivers.
5.Ensure landfills are properly managed

The basic steps of water quality improvement should the maximum reduction of wastes entering the river and not trying to undo the damage. Gravel beds require regular maintenance and I expect that to be a recurrent problem with this proposal.

I think the Singapore River took about 10 years to see the vast improvements and usually the first few years of this type of project show negligible results.
There is really no quick fix.

Graphics: Thanks to the Star

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