Ubin worth protecting for its rich biodiversity

LING XIN HUI Today Online 26 May 16;

Given Pulau Ubin’s abundant biodiversity, conservation measures are necessary to protect its more than 720 native plant species and 500 animal species. I am heartened by the measures being planned (“Restored shoreline, boardwalk to protect Ubin’s biodiversity”; May 23).

These species are essential to both humans and nature, and for educating young visitors to Ubin.

First, these species keep the food chain functioning. Without some of them, other animals might end up being dominant on the island. Their prey would then disappear quickly, creating a vicious cycle and disrupting the food chain.

Such happenings are evidenced by the increasing population of wild boars, as their predators have decreased in number. This is worrying, as the wild boars can, especially in large numbers, bring harm to visitors and endanger the boars’ prey.

The second reason conservation measures must be undertaken is that Ubin’s plant and animal habitats are vital to educate its visitors, especially young ones, who will play a significant role in its conservation in the future.

To conserve Ubin successfully, efforts must be kept consistent for decades. And to allow future generations to see Ubin’s beauty is to allow them to understand the importance of protecting the island, its natural habitats and its species.

The shoreline restoration work can also contribute to educating the public on coastal protection measures, serving as learning sites to pique students’ interest in geographical topics.

I am concerned, however, about the construction of the coastal boardwalk. Though it is a useful way of letting the public gain more insight into Ubin’s biodiversity, it might bring pollution, too. The boardwalk extends to the sea, and any increase in littering would disrupt conservation efforts.

One way to reduce such occurrences is to have guides take small numbers of visitors onto the boardwalk. The guides would then be there to monitor and advise visitors on the proper measures for efficient coastal protection.

As a deterrent, substantial fines could be imposed on those who do not adhere to the guidelines.

Let us support this commendable effort to preserve Ubin, given the many benefits it will bring.

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