The first land reclamation works began in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles cleared mangrove swamps and fishing villages in order to build trading centres. He obtain material from the nearby hills by levelling them and using the earth to fill the surrounding seabed. Fast forward 146 years, after Singapore declared independence from Malaysia, she began her first land reclamation project.


Land reclamation project at Sentosa Island

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To date, Singapore has seen a 24.4% increase in land size after several land reclamation projects through the years. The government also laid out an extensive land reclamation project in several parts of Singapore, estimated to end in 2030 and provide more residential, industrial and military spaces for future use.

Time Lapse of Singapore’s land size from 1984-2012

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Singapore is noted worldwide for it’s extensive land reclamation projects. As such, it has received much attention from local and foreign nature lovers and environmentalist about the impact that these works can have on the environment and the ecosystem. Research has indeed shown that land reclamation has had a detrimental impact on marine life in the surrounding seabed, as well as parts of nature that has been cleared to make space. An estimated 73% of local natural species is found to have been wiped out, and a projected 85% of species loss in the region by the year 2100 has been found if these reclamation works persists.