Singapore says cutting down on sand as Putrajaya bans exports

Sand is a key resource for Singapore, which looks to land reclamation as part of its plan to mitigate the impact of climate change. (Bloomberg pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore said it’s been trying to reduce reliance on sand, as neighbouring Malaysia announced a ban on all exports of sea sand since last year on environmental concerns.

The city-state piloted a polder development in outlying Pulau Tekong that uses less sand compared to regular reclamation, a spokesperson for Singapore’s national development ministry said in a statement. The government has also sought to diversify its sources of sand to ensure resilient supply, the spokesperson said.

The ministry was responding to questions after Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said that the country’s sea sand will be limited for domestic use only.

The exports ban won’t affect ties with Singapore as it isn’t related to the city-state’s reclamation efforts, he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Sand is a key resource for Singapore, which looks to land reclamation as part of its plan to mitigate the impact of climate change. Almost one-third of the country rests just 5m above sea level.

Over the years, the country’s biggest suppliers of the resource, including Indonesia and Cambodia, have already halted exports to limit environmental damage.

Exports of river sand from Malaysia would require approval from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Xavier said.