Screenshot from Aljazeera video

In an independent news report by Aljazeera, the Singapore government has been illegally sourcing black market sand from sand poachers from Cambodia and Indonesia.

(Video at 11.30): “The Singapore government has transformed 130 sq km of water into land and it intends to add another 100 sq kms by 2030.  Having devoured it’s own reserves, it’s ferocious appetite has targeted at it’s neighbours’ supply. One after another, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia has each decided to ban sand trade with Singapore but it’s addition to sand is not easy to restrict.”

In 2013, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that 2030 is the deadline for his 6.9 million population target.

Aljazeera reporters interviewed a sand dredger ship operator working for a Singapore company who acknowledged on the video that the 3,000 tonnes of sand he is ferrying came from Cambodia, when the country has already banned Singapore from sand purchase.

A researcher of the illegal sand trade from Global Witness George Boden told Aljazeera that the Singapore government is a hypocrite when it comes to protecting the environment as it often proclaims itself to be an environment leader in the ASEAN region:

“Global Witness’ investigation tracked boats being loaded with sand in Cambodia to their destinations in Singapore. It also uncovered contracts linking Singaporean companies to Cambodia’s sand industry. In June this year, Singapore will host the World Cities Summit, which promotes ‘sustainable and liveable cities’.

Singapore says that the import of sand is a purely commercial activity but it also presents itself as a regional leader on environmental issues. The country’s failure to mitigate the social and ecological cost of sand dredging represents hypocrisy on a grand scale. If Singapore wants its environmental stance to be taken seriously, monitoring where the sand is sourced and what is being done to obtain it would be an obvious place to start.”