Sunday, November 23, 2014

[Parks] Lorong Halus: From Landfill to Wetland

Lorong Halus - a far flung corner of Singapore that no one had wanted to visit. The road off the Tampines Expressway was not only a landfill, it was also a place to dispose the unsavoury collection of the nation's night soil. (1) (The "century old night soil bucket system" and its night soil disposal station closed down in 1987) (2)

The "rudimentary  system (was) a poor reflection of poor public health standards (and that) would keep foreign investors away", according to Mr Tan Gee Paw, Chairman of the national water agency, PUB. (5)

There were more gloom linking to this place. Gangsters lurked in various corners and when the government had wanted to re-develop Tanjong Rhu, they moved "more than 40 charcoal dealers" to Lorong Halus.  (3)

The landfill was operational from 1970 to 1999. (4) 

I remember two instances whereby I had a close encounter with the landfill - both times were in 2002, three years after the landfill was officially closed.

The first was my unexpected visit of the place. I'd taken a wrong turn along the expressway and I'd ended up in Lorong Halus. It started of with it being a metal road. But that soon gave way and before I knew it, I was driving on a muddy road with huge tipper trucks coming from all directions! There was also some burning of refuse happening in that area. My mind went "oh-oh". I quickly did an about turn and scooted out of that area.

The second encounter was when I was house-hunting in Punggol. The wife and I were at Punggol Field Road and from where we were, we caught a whiff of the odour which we believe was coming from Lorong Halus. That encounter helped made up our minds. We chose a housing estate two MRT stations down.

Today, the entire Lorong Halus has been transformed into a wetland. Sited next to Serangoon Reservior, the Lorong Halus Wetland was officially opened on March 5, 2011 by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. (5)

How to get there

If you're driving, you can enter via the Tampines Expressway (Exit 7) towards Changi Airport. The exit will lead you towards Lorong Halus.

If you're jogging or cycling, there is also a bridge from Punggol that runs across the Punggol Serangoon River towards the wetlands.

Updated on: September 17, 2015


1. Chng, G. July 27, 1984. 88 nightsoil workers to call it a day. The Straits Times. P.11.
2. Death knell of nightsoil buckets. January 24, 1987. The Straits Times. P.17.
3. Charcoal traders move to Tampines. April 21, 1984. The Straits Times. P.10.
4. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. The DNA of Singapore. (Accessed on November 24, 2014)
5. Lin, M. September 17, 2015. PUB Chairman Gets Top Honour for Sewer System. The Straits Times. P.B2

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