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A Russian hiker's bid to remove a discarded fridge in Clementi Forest succeeds after a year; authorities reviewing processes

SINGAPORE — For more than a year, a discarded refrigerator laying in the middle of Clementi Forest has vexed a Russian man with a deep love for nature, who has made it a personal crusade to rid the forest of the unsightly electronic waste.

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  • Mr Semenov Pavel Dmitrievic, a Russian man living in Singapore, came across a rusty fridge while hiking in Clementi Forest last March
  • After seeking advice from fellow hikers on social media, he decided to report the fridge to the authorities through the OneService app instead of removing the fridge on his own
  • Last week, which is more than a year after his discovery, Mr Semenov posted on social media that the fridge remained along the trail
  • NParks said the fridge was cleared entirely on Friday and it is working with NEA to review its internal process for the delay in clearance of the refrigerator 

SINGAPORE — For more than a year, a discarded refrigerator laying in the middle of Clementi Forest has vexed a Russian man with a deep love for nature, who has made it a personal crusade to rid the forest of the unsightly electronic waste.

Mr Semenov Pavel Dmitrievich, 40, first stumbled upon the refrigerator while walking along a trail in the forest in March 2022, after his leg brushed against the object and he felt a sharp pain,  he told TODAY in an email interview.

Later, he asked other hikers on the Singapore Hikers Facebook page whether he should remove the fridge himself, but was advised against it. 

Several people suggested that he file a report to the authorities on the OneService mobile application. He did as he was told.

But a year later, the refrigerator remained in the same spot about a 10 minute walk from the Rail Corridor entrance along Holland Plain, posing a safety hazard to other hikers, Mr Semenov said following his recent visit to Clementi Forest last Sunday (April 16).

When TODAY visited the site last Friday, the fridge — a large, crumpled heap of rusty metal about 1.5 metres in length — had been moved several metres away from the original location described by Mr Semenov, but remained within the forest. 

There was a deep indent on the ground where Mr Semenov said the fridge had originally been.

On Monday, Mr Semenov said the fridge has finally been removed from the forest.

In response to queries from TODAY, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Monday that it was first alerted to a case of illegal dumping of a refrigerator in the land near Clementi Forest last March through the OneService app.

"As the refrigerator was in close proximity to the Rail Corridor, out of concern about the impact of illegal dumping on biodiversity, NParks arranged for its removal. The refrigerator was subsequently cleared on April 21, 2023."

The board said that together with the National Environment Agency (NEA), they are reviewing the internal process for the delay in the clearance of the refrigerator.

The discarded fridge was removed five days after TODAY first approached the authorities over the delay in clearing the electronic waste. TODAY had reached out to NParks, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), NEA and the Municipal Services Office (MSO) over the course of last week.


Describing how he discovered the fridge after unknowingly walking into it, Mr Semenov, who is in Singapore to look after his six children living here, said he initially saw the leg of “some object sticking out of the dense thickets”.

“Having cleared the part adjacent to the path from the grass, I realised that it was a refrigerator,” said Mr Semenov, who used a translation software to respond to TODAY as he is not fluent in English.

The short-term visit pass holder, who is from Russia and makes YouTube videos of Singapore as a hobby, said that he was upset to see household garbage in the forest.

Shortly after he discovered the fridge, Mr Semenov reported it to the authorities through the OneService app, and included the coordinates of the fridge in his report.

The app, which is managed by MSO, allows the public to provide feedback on municipal issues in Singapore and routes feedback to the relevant agencies.

Mr Semenov recalled that the status of the application changed to “working on it” after several days.

Eventually, two weeks passed and “neither the position of the refrigerator, not the status of the application” changed, he said, adding that he had visited the site again in that time.

“Only someone threw additional garbage, some cans, into the refrigerator chamber,” he added.

Mr Semenov said he did not receive any notifications on the matter via email. He also did not contact the authorities directly on the phone as he does not speak English well. 


During his most recent hike last week, Mr Semenov spotted the fridge again and said he felt “a bitter spiritual realisation” that he was right in realising the futility of his idea to report the issue on the OneService app.

He took to social media again to post about the encounter, lamenting in his post that “nothing had been done”.

“Yes, he's (the fridge) still there. 

“Everything also sticks out at an acute angle from the thickets to the crowd. I cleared it off the grass as best I could so that it would be visible to those walking along the trail and they would not be injured,” he said in his post.

Mr Semenov then set up a separate Facebook group in a bid to organise a group of volunteers to remove the fridge from Clementi Forest at the end of April. 

As of noon on Monday, the group has six members.

Last Thursday, Mr Semenov visited the spot to find that the fridge had been moved from its original position to several metres away from the trail.

A spot in Clementi Forest where a rusty fridge was when Mr Semenov Pavel Dmitrievic first discovered it while hiking. It had been moved from its original position to several metres away from the trail when TODAY went to check on April 21, 2023.

As the fridge appeared to be closer to a small stream, Mr Semenov was worried that the fridge could “aggravate the pollution of the soil and water”. 

He visited the spot again on Monday morning to find that most of the fridge had been removed. 

Nevertheless, he aims to proceed with his plan to remove any remnant parts of the fridge from the forest with the help of volunteers on April 30.

While he is glad that now visitors to the forest "do not risk breaking their legs on a rusty frame hidden in the bushes", he still wants to clear the remaining debris such as cooling tubes and polystyrene foam scattered in the area until the place looks "normal".

His takeaway from the entire episode? “If you want to do something well, do it yourself,” he said.

Related topics

Clementi forest electronic waste fridge

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