Lax dumping rules behind dirty sea water?

Straits Times Forum 21 Jun 10;

I HAVE lived in Singapore for more than 20 years and am a big fan of how clean and green the country is.

I applaud the efforts of those who have made it this way. I wonder, however, if the same care is extended to Singapore's surrounding waters.

Whenever I swim in the sea, I notice that the water quality looks bad and my skin starts to itch after I come out of the water. I love the ocean and coastal areas in general, and have travelled enough to know that these are not signs of a healthy marine environment.

I have heard that Singapore is one of the few countries that does not require shipping traffic and industries to treat their waste. Is it really true that tankers are allowed to dump their untreated waste into the sea without cost or recrimination?

I would like to know why Singapore's surrounding waters are so dirty and what is the official policy towards water pollution by the main offenders, be they vessels or industries.

Yumiko Davis (Ms)

Ironic accolade
Straits Times Forum 24 Jun 10;

'I am embarrassed that Singapore has been named a green city when it has a dirty sea.'

MR STANLEY KOH: 'I refer to the Forum Online letter by Ms Yumiko Davis ('Lax dumping rules behind dirty sea water?'; Monday). I am embarrassed as a citizen and regular beach goer that Singapore has been named a green city when it has a dirty sea. It is time to clean up our beaches.'

Maritime authority polices pollution by ships vigorously
Straits Times Forum 1 Jul 10;

WE REFER to Ms Yumiko Davis' Forum Online letter ('Lax dumping rules behind dirty sea water'; June 21). With about 1,000 vessels in our port daily, preventing pollution from ships is an important concern of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

The authority enforces strict regulations for ships visiting Singapore and monitors them in port to ensure compliance and that they do not discharge waste into the water.

All ships, including tankers, are required to properly treat their harmful waste. Ship masters face prosecution if they break the rules.

Singapore provides adequate reception facilities for ships to discharge oily and chemical waste.

The authority also employs a contractor to collect garbage from ships to help ensure proper disposal, as well as to monitor and retrieve floating debris.

These measures contribute towards ensuring the cleanliness of our port waters and coastline.

Capt M. Segar
Group Director (Hub Port)
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore