Asbestos found on Kusu Island; lagoon and beach areas to be closed till Oct

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 4 May 18;

SINGAPORE — Traces of asbestos, a hazardous material, have been discovered on Kusu Island, the authorities said on Friday (May 4) after a similar discovery on St John's Island over a week ago.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said it would conduct surveys for asbestos on other publicly accessible islands around Singapore, but declared Lazarus Island, Pulau Seringat and Kias Island to be free of the hazardous material thus far.



Asbestos is a potentially toxic mineral that could cause lung cancer and other illnesses if its fibres are inhaled over a prolonged period. It was once commonly used in building materials, but has since been banned in Singapore and other developed countries due to concerns about health risks.

In a statement, the SLA said that it would be closing off the affected areas on Kusu Island - a lagoon and parts of the beach - until October this year for workers to remove the asbestos.

Popular sites like the Da Bo Gong (Tua Pek Kong) temple, wishing well, tortoise sanctuary, a temporary hawker centre and the jetty will remain open to public as asbestos was not discovered there.

The daily ferry services to the island, about 5.6km south of Singapore, are unaffected as well, SLA added.

It did not disclose how much asbestos was discovered on Kusu Island, beyond saying the hazardous material was discovered in "pieces of debris".

On April 23, SLA announced that it was sealing off the recreational areas on St John's Island until the middle of next year following the discovery of debris containing asbestos.

Meanwhile, survey work on Pulau Hantu is expected to be completed by next week.

"If asbestos is found, SLA will undertake the necessary removal works and implement similar precautionary measures to safeguard public safety," the authority said.


Asbestos found around lagoon, beach areas on Kusu Island
Channel NewsAsia 4 May 18;

SINGAPORE: Pieces of debris containing asbestos have been discovered around the lagoon and beach areas on Kusu Island, the Singapore Land Authority said on Friday (May 4).


Public access to the affected areas have been cordoned off and will remain closed until removal works are completed, SLA said, adding that it aims to do this by October.

Asbestos was not detected at the Da Bo Gong (Tua Pek Kong) temple, wishing well, tortoise sanctuary, temporary hawker centre, and jetty. These areas will remain open to visitors.

The regular scheduled daily ferry services to Kusu Island will also continue.

The announcement follows the discovery of asbestos on St John’s Island last month. Asbestos removal works on St John’s Island are ongoing.

After the discovery on St John’s Island, the SLA worked with relevant agencies to conduct further asbestos surveys on islands open to the general public as a precautionary measure, it said.

No debris containing asbestos was found on Lazarus Island, Pulau Seringat and Kias Island, SLA said.

The asbestos survey work for Pulau Hantu will be completed by next week. If asbestos is found, SLA will undertake the necessary removal works and implement similar precautionary measures to safeguard public safety, it said.

The agency noted that asbestos has been banned in Singapore since 1989 due to concerns over health risks, following similar moves by other developed countries.

Nevertheless, the asbestos materials in old buildings are unlikely to pose any health risk as long as they remain in good condition and are not disturbed, it added.

Asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis occur mainly in people with many years of continued exposure to high levels of asbestos, and this is commonly work-related, SLA said.

It added that the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease for people with incidental exposure, including visitors to affected islands, is low.

Source: CNA/aj

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