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December 7, 2002

Singapore Poly hopes artificial reef project will bring back marine life

From: Channel News Asia, Singapore - 07 Dec 2002

By Fiona Tan

The Singapore Polytechnic is involved in a project to build an artificial reef which it hopes can bring some marine life back.

Much marine life have left Singapore waters and the Polytechnic is hoping that the project could reverse that.

For marine life, home is where the reef is but experts say land reclamation has snuffed out much of Singapore's natural reefs.

Anglers now have had to go further out to cast for fish.

The frame of the reef is made of chicken-wire which acts as reinforcement while PVC pipes create holes so fish can swim through.

The structure is filled with cement and fitted with solar-powered lights which will attract marine life.

With no artificial reefs available commercially, the Polytechnic says this reef could be mass-produced for $100 each.

It will be monitored at the Polytechnic's marina for six months and if successful, will become another reef possibly for the southern waters.

Ng Suet Yeng, Student, Singapore Maritime Academy, Singapore Polytechnic, said: "The waters there is much clearer, therefore it will benefit commercial divers or any leisure snorkellers to actually enjoy marine life in Singapore instead of going anywhere else."

Frederick Francis, Lecturer, Singapore Maritime Academy, Singapore Polytechnic, said: "When I go to Sentosa I'd like to just swim out at the lagoon, and see an artificial reef and go snorkelling and enjoy the marine-life there. So I would say hey, this place you are going to reclaim, give us a chance to just transport all the corals and bring it there!"

The team has several deaf members who say underwater work is perfect for them.

Adrian Yap, a deaf participant, said; "People do not have to talk in the water because they cannot talk in the water. For us we can use sign language to communicate with other people, so no problem for hearing-impaired!"

It would be ideal to leave the artificial reef in any one location undisturbed so that marine life can grow and thrive, but the project team knows very well that land reclamation can take place anytime and anywhere in Singapore waters, so they've made the reef portable.

It can be lifted with air-bags and shifted to a new location - a reef that could leave anytime.

Copyright © 2002 MediaCorp News Pte Ltd