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Environment: The great Kranji kerfuffle

It was recently revealed that about 4.5 hectares of forested area in Kranji was cleared before a biodiversity study and an environmental management plan were completed. The JTC Corporation, in charge of the project, said that a sub-contractor had erroneously begun deforesting some of the land, prompting criticism from nature groups and conservation advocates.

While many Singaporeans bemoan the incident, not all feel similarly concerned by the potential loss of biodiversity. Indeed, our data shows notable geographic and demographic differences. Some 92% of Singaporeans consider this incident as “serious”, but it is predominantly seen as “very serious” by those living physically closer to Kranji: 50% for those in the north of Singapore versus 36%-48% for those in other regions. It is also seen as far more serious by older Singaporeans, as 56% of Boomers consider it “very serious”, compared to only 34% of Gen Zers. While not indifferent, younger Singaporeans feel much less strongly about this issue than older Singaporeans.

Older Singaporeans are also more animated about the way the incident was handled. Close to four in five (79%) Singaporeans aged 25 and above think JTC should have gone public with the information as soon as it was known, while close to one in three (31%) of Gen Zers say JTC was right to withhold the information until an investigation was conducted. These generational differences are also found in Singaporeans’ perception of the government’s work to preserve and/or conserve green spaces in Singapore. 56% of Gen Zers and 61% of Millennials think the government is doing “enough” in this regard, while 53% of Boomers think it is not doing enough. 

These differences may be due to younger Singaporeans viewing natural green spaces as less directly or personally relevant to them. The consequences arising from mismanagement of green spaces appears less critical to them compared to more immediate environmental issues such as climate change or plastic wastage, which often record much higher concern levels.