11 May 2010

Singapore rejects claims that it imports Cambodian sand illegally and without regard for the environment

The Ministry of National Development said it is not true that the Singapore Government imports sand without due regard to the laws or environmental impact of Cambodia.
Barges piled with sand ply regularly along Pasir Ris.

The Ministry was responding to a Global Witness report Shifting Sand: how Singapore’s demand for Cambodian sand threatens ecosystems and undermines good governance.

From media reports, among the points made by the Ministry were:
  • The Ministry is committed to the protection of the global environment.
  • The Ministry does not condone the illegal export or smuggling of sand, or any extraction of sand that is in breach of the source countries' laws and rules on environmental protection.
  • The Singapore Government did not receive any official notice on the ban of sand exports from Cambodia.
  • The import of reclamation sand to Singapore is done on a commercial basis by Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. JTC requires all its sand suppliers to comply with local legal procedures to extract or transport sand from the sources without causing adverse impact to the environment. It has also put in place specific measures to ensure accountability from the sand suppliers.
  • Singapore Customs has in place procedures to check and investigate the import of all goods, including sand, at the various checkpoints.
  • The policing and enforcement of sand extraction licences is ultimately the responsibility of the source country.

Media articles on the Global Witness report and on Singapore's response.

See also Eugene's letter Stop Burying Our Head in the Sand on AsiaIsGreen.

More related news articles on the sand issue, and related posts on this blog about sand mining in Singapore and elsewhere, and about reclamation.

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