Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Indonesia releases five of 12 barges carrying granite: Mah

By Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia
10 May 2007 2122 hrs

SINGAPORE: Indonesian authorities have released five of the 12 barges carrying granite which had been detained.

This was revealed by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on Thursday evening.

Speaking at a Building and Construction Authority (BCA) dinner, Mr Mah also said prices of concrete are dropping as alternative sources of sand and granite kick in.

But to encourage the construction sector to keep looking for new alternative sources, the BCA is formulating a scheme to co-share some of the risks involved.

Mr Mah says the recent disruption in the supply of sand and granite from Indonesia is a wake-up call to the industry.

It made Singapore look at how to diversify its supply sources and switch to sustainable construction, as much as possible.

And to encourage the industry to import from other sources, the BCA will soon be releasing details of a scheme to help co-share some of the risks involved.

Mr Mah also listed three key elements needed for Singapore to develop a world-class built environment.

And these are environmental sustainability, construction sustainability and barrier-free accessibility.

The minister added that his ministry wants to push harder for green building technologies and sustainable construction.

And this means, using materials that are recyclable and readily available from many sources.

According to Mr Mah, "We must aim to be less dependent on concrete. We can do so in several ways. First, switch to non-concrete alternatives such as structural steel, glass, dry wall systems and metal claddings.

"BCA is working with several agencies to review the existing regulatory requirements to facilitate greater use of structural steel. Second, explore use of suitable substitutes for sand and granite in the production of concrete.

"Just as in the case [of] Newater, can we find an alternative for sand and granite which is economically viable and readily available, a "NewConcrete" perhaps?

"One innovative solution uses copper slag and recycled coarse aggregates as substitutes for sand and granite to make concrete-like products.

"The challenge is to continue to find ways to bring down the cost to make such products commercially viable while enhancing its structural strength." - CNA/yy