A few weeks ago, I took part in the Green Corridor Run. It was a 10.5km route that started at the Tanjong Pagar Rail Station and continued along the Green Corridor, to end off at the old Bukit Timah Rail Station.
The Green Corridor essentially runs across the country, starting from the Tanjong Pagar station in the south all the way up north to the Malaysian border. The corridor used to be a railway link but train operations have since stopped since 2011 (which is such a shame in my opinion, I took the train once to Johor and it was a nice slow journey with great views of the greenery). Plans for the use of the Green Corridor are still being made, although URA has submitted a proposal for the corridor to be used as a community space (read it here https://thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com/tag/green-corridor/).
The Green Corridor Run has been taking place for the last three years but this year was the first time I joined. Its aim is to encourage participants to experience a side of Singapore that not many people have, in terms of its history and ecology. While I think that it is great that the organisers want people to get more in touch with nature, I couldn’t help but wonder at the impacts an event of this scale would have on the nature. Aside from noise pollution (loud music, emcees talking loudly via microphones), there is also littering as well as the runners themselves to think about. Running events naturally have water points – plastic cups of water/isotonic drinks are handed to runners. There are usually big trash collection points a few metres after the water station for runners to throw their cups into but not everyone does. I saw many cups discarded onto the grass, away from the rubbish collection points. Volunteers usually pick up the trash but there may be cups that get missed and thus, left behind to pollute the area. Not forgetting that runners may sometimes bring their own bottles or liquid packs and discard these where there are no rubbish collection points.
We also have to look at the number of people who take part – more than 7000 people participated in the run this year. That is 7000 people running along the green corridor, their feet pounding on the soil and grass. This can’t be good for the vegetation – compaction of the soil, physical damage of the grass.
While I think the initiative of getting people in touch with nature should be lauded, perhaps there can be a better way to do this instead of letting thousands of people trample through the green corridor. Or a study can be carried out to see whether there are really any negative impacts of such an event on the green corridor (maybe I’m wrong and there aren’t! but I highly doubt it……). What do you guys think?
BTW, there are abandoned iron railway bridges still around if anyone’s up for exploring (or just want to take really nice pictures). They can be found across Bukit Timah Road, Upper Bukit Timah Road and at the Ulu Pandan Canal which is actually near NUS!
Disclaimer: The pictures above aren’t mine, except the two of the bridges at Ulu Pandan PCN (I would have liked to take pictures while running but it was really hot and I just wanted to get it over and done with instead of stopping to take pictures).