The proposed Cross Island MRT Line will cut across our Central Catchment Nature Reserves (CCNR) on the southern corner in the Thomson area. Whilst waiting anxiously for the verdict on whether this line will be re-routed to avoid the nature reserves or will cut through it as proposed, I was shocked to hear another announcement about the development of a 126 ha mega-attraction at Mandai. This development is slated to be built adjacent to the CCNR on its northern front. These two developments would significantly affect the biodiversity in the CCNR.

The plans for these two major projects raise questions about Singapore’s commitment to protect our nature reserves. The CCNR takes up only about 4% of our total land area. With the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, they are our treasure trove of biodiversity, something unique to our city that other cities in the Northern hemisphere are not able to boast of. Singapore is one of four biodiversity hotspots overlapping Southeast Asia[1].

These are areas that contain high densities of endemic species and have undergone immense habitat loss through the years. We have lost more than 95% of our land and freshwater species over 183 years[2]. Despite this, we still have a healthy and diverse number of species that is rare in any built-up city and which need our protection.

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