LTA statement on soil works leaves some questions unanswered

Straits Times Forum 2 Jul 18;

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) recently released a statement on its environmental monitoring findings within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve as part of the Cross Island Line soil investigation works (LTA elaborates on impact of soil tests; June 29).

While it is heartening to hear that "similar animals were present in the areas before and after the works", LTA's claim that such findings "validated the mitigation measures developed" appears misleading.

While it is undoubtedly important to determine if the number of animal species remains unchanged following the soil investigation works, such an analysis provides little useful information for assessing the effectiveness of mitigation measures, and overlooks the possibility that animal population sizes, spatial distributions, as well as individual health could have been negatively affected by the soil investigation works.

Studies have shown, for instance, that noise pollution resulting from heavy machinery may drive animals further away from affected areas as well as reduce their reproductive success and lifespan.

The information released by LTA thus far neglects to address these additional factors.

Furthermore, LTA's claim that it will work "to further analyse the data collected" indicates that the data analysis is far from complete, and suggests that its conclusions about the validity of the mitigation measures may be premature.

I strongly recommend that LTA release the raw environmental monitoring data so that its conclusions can be independently verified, and more sophisticated analyses can be applied.

David Tan Jian Xiong

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