Approximately one-third of Singapore is situated less than 16 feet above sea level, and with rising waters affecting shorelines worldwide, government officials are taking action to protect over $50 billion in real estate.
“We are not planning to lose any inch of land permanently,” Ho Chai Deck, a deputy director at government agency PUB, told Bloomberg in October. “Singapore will build a continuous line of defense along our entire coast. This is something that we take very seriously.”
The iconic Marina Bay waterfront is reportedly an area that could be impacted by the effects of rising sea levels caused by heat-trapping gases produced by human activities, as is Jurong Island, which hosts several oil and petrochemical companies that, if affected, could release hazardous chemicals into the environment.
“This is a country more susceptible to sea-level rise than virtually any country in the world,” Nanyang Technological University professor Benjamin Horton said.
As detailed by Bloomberg, Singapore is utilizing a multipronged approach for success.
With the reclamation of land using piled-up sand, the use of the Marina Barrage — a dam with large pumps that drain extra water during intense rainfall and high tide — and the help of mangrove trees, Singapore has reportedly added more than 45 square miles of land while preparing for the future.
The country, like some other companies and initiatives, is also looking toward computer technology for assistance, collaborating with the Hydroinformatics Institute and National University of Singapore to build a model to help predict which areas are most at risk of flooding to protect not only the real estate but also human life.
“Both the Singapore Armed Forces and climate change defenses are existential. These are life-and-death matters,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in 2019, acknowledging the challenges Earth’s changing environment presents, per Bloomberg.
With Singapore’s reported plans to spend approximately $73 billion over the next century on coastal and flood protection, the country’s multilayered approach also includes long-term dedication and vision, one attainable step at a time.
“Singapore wants to see if the technology is safe, and ensure everything is working well, before it takes the next step,” added JanJaap Brinkman, a director at water research institute Deltares and an adviser to Singapore.
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