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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tampines Eco Green

Living in the east, previously the only natural greenery Eastsider have was the reclaimed land of Changi Beach. Otherwise, it was the usual small little town parks scattered all over the HDB estates + of course the 3 big beach park. But unfortunately, all of them are nicely manicured products – the products of the zombies sitting in their nice air con offices in the Nparks. How much better for the people in the West and Central where they have the Bukit Timah nature reserve, the various reservoirs, even “Little Guilin” in Bukit Batok and Mount Faber.

However, within the span of a year, things have started to look up in the East.

First, there was the opening of the Lorong Halus wetland. The artificial part is still there but right next to it is a vast piece of wild reclaimed land where mud, oil and slime fertilize the plants and feed the many birds that called the piece of junk land home.

Wide open green carpet trail
Then recently opened is the Tampines Eco Green. I used to see this vast piece of empty land when I go to my father-in- law’s place.  I have expected HDB flats to sprout out from that land but surprise surprise, what came up almost 20 years later was a beautiful piece of park land called the Tampines Eco Green.

Leaving most of the natural vegetation untouched, the park planner has cleverly designed a 3 km walking trail around the 36.5ha Park. What is unique about this park is that the paths are not the usual concrete or asphalt path or dirt ground. In fact it is covered with a layer of “carpet” grass that is so soft to the touch that it was almost like walking on air!

Bird hide made of twigs and branches
Everything there is touted to be “eco” friendly down to the toilet which supposedly does not use water for flushing and use friendly bacteria to keep the smell away while the waste decomposed naturally. During my last visit there, the toilet was still not open so no chance to spend the “aroma”.

Then there are a few bird hides for people to hide behind and look at the birds. The structure is made from waste wood and looks like a vertical bird nest that has been sliced off in half.

A swamp?

Finally, what is most exciting is the “natural” feel to it. The place looks like a savannah and I almost expect to see deer and zebra roaming around and crocodiles lying around the various ponds. That would be nice but no such luck. What I understand is that there are plenty of birds and insects and is a wildlife photographer’s dream come true. Just look at some of the shots posted on the net!

Me? I am just so excited at the prospect of another trail to run just 1km away from my place. This + the Tampines Mountain Bike Park can provide a good 10km workout! Hurray!

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