Asbestos suspends monthly guided walks at Sisters’ Islands; part of St John’s Island remains closed

Photo: Koh Kwan Siong / Facebook
Photo: Koh Kwan Siong / Facebook

Debris containing asbestos — the fibers of which can cause serious and fatal illnesses if inhaled — was found at four isolated areas along the beaches at the lagoons on Big Sister’s Island, according to the National Parks Board (NParks).

While asbestos removal works at affected beaches are being conducted, the monthly guided walks at the Sisters’ Islands will be suspended for May and June. NParks aims to complete the works by end June 2018.

The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park spans about 40 hectares around Sisters’ Islands, and the monthly intertidal walks held there allow visitors to check out shores teeming with marine life during low tides.

Asbestos has also shut down part of St John’s Island from now till the end of the year. The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) are conducting investigations and works to remove asbestos found in the campsite area of the island, and have similarly closed island trails until further notice.

Hazardous and toxic it may be, asbestos has been used in sea vessels for its heat resistance properties and insulation. Its appearance at sea could sometimes be due to offshore illegal dumping of the material.

According to SLA’s statement to The Straits Times, investigations are now ongoing to determine the source of the asbestos debris that has so far appeared in St John’s Island, Sisters’ Island, Kusu Island, and Pulau Hantu this year.

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