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Here's a view from 1961.

StraitsTimes: "Back in the 1970s, squatters, hawkers, and manufacturing industries crowded the banks of the river, leading to severe pollution. The Government eventually mounted a large-scale clean-up, with enhancements over the years, forming the vibrant waterway that we know today.

"The clean-up involved a massive relocation of about 4,000 squatters, along with hawkers and vegetable sellers, whose daily waste flowed into the river. Public housing was found for the squatters, while street hawkers were persuaded to move to hawker centres.

"Hundreds of bumboats ferrying goods from warehouses along the river to cargo ships out at sea were moved to a new lighter anchorage at Pasir Panjang by the Port of Singapore Authority.

"Foul-smelling mud also had to be dredged from the banks and the bottom of the river, and debris and other rubbish cleared."
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