Cleaning up the Singapore river

The Singapore river and the Kallang Basin are a major river catchment and port area on the southern part of the island of Singapore. Major industrial and population growth in the area during the 1960’s and 1970’s turned the river basin into what was described as a “black, foul-smelling waterway devoid of any aquatic life”. The reasons for this were:

  • Raw sewage from squatter settlements flowing into the river
  • The river basin being used to dump waste by farmers and other residents
  • Chemical pollution from heavy industry and ships discharging polluted water into the basin

The Singapore government put in place an environmental action plan to clean up the area. This included moving squatter settlements into proper residential areas with sanitation facilities, the development of stricter pollution controls, and the removal of livestock from alongside the river

Once sources of pollution were removed, the whole area started to recover. Riverside walkways and parks have been built and thousands of trees planted. The beach along the Kallang Basin has been imrpoved with recreational facilities developed.

In 2008 the government announced a further plan to “transform the waterfront into a gathering place for recreational and cultural activities” by building a national stadium, leisure developments and further residential areas.


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