Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lorong Halus Wetland - An Exploration!

Given my two posts on Serangoon Tidal Gates and Lorong Halus pedestrian bridge, it would just be a matter of time that i have to get my butt going on writing an entry for Lorong Halus Wetland.

Anyway, the main reason i was in those places on a weather-perfect Sunday afternoon is actually to visit the wetland and it is contradicting to have this post so much later than the other two!

First point of contact should be this sheltered building (otherwise known as Halus Wetland Kiosk) where you would have a better understanding of this man made wetland. Gaining the knowledge is essential before you start the walking trail.

Lorong Halus was a landfill from 1970 till 1999 (after which waste is sent to Pulau Semakau) but there lies a serious problem when the government decides to expand the water catchment area in Singapore.

The existence of leachate, a liquid that moves through landfills and can be toxic when added to drinking water. Not exactly the component you want for a reservoir.

I am going to spare you the boring information which is not as impressive as reading them while being surrounded by the impressive wetland.

After digesting the information, i began my walk. A lack of sheltered areas (only two) along the trail means that the risk of being struck by lightning has increased significantly.

To be honest, lorong halus wetland has a really uninteresting vibe to it and it's hard not to compare it to a park filled with towering trees, vibrant clusters of flowers, bbq pits, benches, swings, playgrounds, splashes of colours etc.

Okay, there are flowers - to be specific, water lilies.

Except all of them are located within the ponds known as polishing ponds.

Unlike many ponds we see in gardens and parks, the five polishing ponds in Lorong Halus have a similar installation that looks like a draining funnel.

Curiousity can be good at times to increase the knowledge of a layman who knows plants as merely plants - this bright blue panel seeks your curious mind to seek out the eight species of plants found in the polishing ponds!

Time to go into the reed beds zone. I was a bit apprehensive to go in for two reasons; one, the plants can be taller than me in some areas and two, i am dead alone in my exploration despite an article in The Sunday Times that very day promoting the wetland.

Loneliness is not necessarily a bad thing. If Alex is with me, i can bet he would resist stepping out from the air-conditioned car and declaring immediately he has a life-threatening headache.

Could you recognise this plant? Known appropriately as cattails, they are common features in children story books whenever a pond, marsh or lake is concerned.

What about this? This is a cattail as well although the sausage thingy has now disintegrated into a cotton-like material.

Devoid of humans. Any slight rustling can be unnerving even though it could likely be the work of a gentle breeze. Frankly, i am more scared that a snake might cross my path.

This structure (and a few restricted-access tanks and lagoons behind), are the first of three stages for the removal of leachate. Reed beds are the second while polishing ponds are the third.

Most of us are aware that ancient Egyptians invented a paper like material known as papyrus from a plant. I was feeling the papyrus plant for the first time in my life!

To a certain extent, a dried stalk of papyrus does appear to be the horsewhip used by Chinese gods (normally the ones with a full head of white hair and beard).

One question that ran through my brain as i trekked along the reed beds - how come i don't see any water at the base of the reed beds?

Because the water flows underneath the gravel where the roots of the plants take in nutrients from the leachate, thus purifying the water further.

Halfway through the trail - Ponggol town right ahead and you can also catch glimpses of the pedestrian bridge. As i was seriously dehydrated from all the walks, i quickly returned back to the kiosk!

Damn, no bloody vending machine!

For a while, i was contemplating if i should just drink the water from the polishing ponds to quench my thirst and moisture my parched throat.


As above. For motorists, you may exit at Lorong Halus from Tampines Expressway (towards Pan Island Expressway) and continue until you see a green sign showing Lorong Halus Wetland to the left and Serangoon Tidal Gates to the right.

Only six parking lots are available within the premise of the wetland.


  1. give more information and pictures of lorong halus

    1. HI Esabel,

      what other information would you require? maybe i can share them with you here. :)



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