Pulau Semakau is an island located at the south of mainland Singapore. The current island is reclaimed from two islands, Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng, to build Singapore's first offshore landfill - Semakau Landfill.
Before the reclamation, both Pulau Sakeng and Pulau Semakau were home to small fishing villages. Most of the villagers were fishermen, and the houses were built on stilts. In 1987, the Singapore government relocating the islanders to the mainland and the last villager moved out in 1991.
The two islands were joined together with a seven-kilometre perimeter rock bund to form the current Pulau Semakau which covers an area of 350 hectares. During the construction of the landfill, a rigorous marine monitoring programme was established to ascertain if the still extant reefs around the reclamation had been impacted and/or recovered. Silt screens were also erected to protect the coral reef on the western side of Pulau Semakau from excessive siltation.
On 1 April 1999, the landfill started operation and is estimated to be able to last till 2040. It can hold up to 63 million cubic metres of waste, and is managed by the National Environmental Agency of Singapore.
While the whole of Pulau Sakeng and part of the old Pulau Semakau were subsumed by the land reclamation process, the remaining natural part of Pulau Semakau that was not affected by the landfill construction has an enormous intertidal area rich in biodiversity and comprising several ecosystems.
These ecosystems support an astounding variety of flora and fauna, many of which are no longer found on mainland Singapore.