Annual tree planting day breaks new ground with mangroves on platforms

SARA GROSSE Today Online 14 Nov 16;

SINGAPORE — To improve water quality, trees were planted in Punggol Reservoir yesterday — the first time in Singapore that trees have been placed directly in water during the annual tree planting activities.

A total of nine tropical mangrove trees were planted, and their roots will help to filter pollutants and absorb excess nutrients. This increases the clarity and quality of the water, similar to the Sengkang floating wetland. Mangroves also provide a habitat for wetland birds.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several Members of Parliament helped to plant the trees on floating platforms in the reservoir. The idea was inspired by a floating forest in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Over time, the trees will be pruned so they do not exceed the floating platform’s capacity. And their current position will not be permanent. “This is a modular system where you can actually, like a jigsaw puzzle, put it in different configurations,” said MP (Sengkang West) Lam Pin Min.

“The intention is to put a three-by-three configuration and we’re actually discussing with PUB to see whether we can locate it near to the floating wetland, where people can actually view it as they walk across the bridge.” CHANNEL NEWSASIA


Tree Planting Day floats up a new idea
Chong Zi Liang, MyPaper AsiaOne 14 Nov 16;

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (centre), flanked by Sengkang West MP Dr Lam Pin Min (left) and Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Dr Koh Poh Koon (right) plants a series of Api-api Putih trees on floating modules along the Punggol Reservoir during the Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West SMC Tree Planting event on 13 November, 2016.

The time-honoured tradition of Tree Planting Day treaded new ground - or rather, water - yesterday, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong planting mangrove tree saplings in the Punggol Reservoir.

He and his fellow MPs for Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West planted tropical mangrove trees on specially designed floating turfs of soil, the first time trees are being planted here using this method.

The Avicennia alba trees, commonly known as api-api putih, will have roots suspended in the water that help absorb nutrients that algae depend upon, thereby reducing algae and improving water quality in the reservoir.

Lam Pin Min, MP for Sengkang West, told reporters after the event that he had read about an installation of floating trees in Rotterdam, Holland, and decided to try it out here.

Besides, the constituency is next to Punggol Reservoir that already houses the Sengkang Floating Wetland, he added.

"We're discussing with (national water agency) PUB to see whether we can locate it near to the floating wetland where people can view it when they walk across the bridge," he said.

The tree-planting campaign was launched in 1963 by founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

It has become an annual nationwide affair to highlight the importance of greening the city and keeping it clean.

Tree-planting activities have been held in various constituencies across the island this month, including in Sembawang GRC yesterday.

It was attended by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan.


PM plants mangrove saplings in water at Punggol Reservoir
Chong Zi Liang, Straits Times AsiaOne 14 Nov 16;

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mingles with children and their families as they plant small plants at Punggol Reservoir during the Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West SMC Tree Planting event on 13 November, 2016.

Photo: The Straits Times

The time-honoured tradition of Tree Planting Day treaded new ground - or rather, water - yesterday, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong planting mangrove tree saplings at Punggol Reservoir.

Mr Lee and his fellow MPs for Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West planted tropical mangrove trees on specially designed floating turfs of soil, the first time trees are being planted in Singapore using this method.


The Avicennia alba trees, commonly known as api-api putih, will have roots suspended in the water to help absorb nutrients that algae depend upon, thereby reducing the algae and improving water quality in the reservoir.

"This is the first time I've planted a tree in the water!" Mr Lee said later in a Facebook post.

"The mangrove plant absorbs pollutants and will hopefully make the area greener and more scenic for residents," he added.

Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min, who is the MP for Sengkang West, told reporters after the event that he had read about an installation of floating trees in Rotterdam, Holland, and decided to try it out here.

Besides, the constituency is next to Punggol Reservoir, which already houses the Sengkang Floating Wetland, he said.

"We are discussing with (national water agency) PUB to see whether we can locate it near to the floating wetland where people can view it when they walk across the bridge," he added.

Residents from both constituencies attended the event, which also featured a carnival with booths on protecting and safeguarding the environment.

Many also participated in games that challenged players to clean up the surrounding areas.

As part of the day's activities, Secondary 3 student Syabil Qusyairi, 15, and his Bartley Secondary schoolmates rowed kayaks for half an hour, looking for litter on the surface of the reservoir.

Before setting off, they were given a quick lesson on why throwing trash into bodies of water is harmful. He said: "I learnt that rubbish thrown into the water may be eaten by fishes and they, in turn, are eaten by bigger fishes that may eventually be caught for human consumption."

The tree-planting effort comes on the back of recent initiatives to improve the living environment in one of Singapore's newest estates. Last month, an 8.8km cycling network in Punggol linking homes to train stations, schools and other amenities was unveiled.

Mr Lee said the Sengkang-Punggol region has flourished over the past 10 years, and is home to many young families, with ample outdoor recreational options.

The tree-planting campaign was launched in 1963 by first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and has become an annual nationwide affair to highlight the importance of greening the city.

Tree-planting activities have been held across the island this month, including in Sembawang GRC yesterday which Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan attended.

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