Best of our wild blogs: 20 Mar 19



Celebrating Singapore Shores Forever!
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

High time to re-evaluate nature’s worth in Singapore?
Love our MacRitchie Forest

30 Mar (Sat): All Talk, How Action? - A workshop on Civil Society action
wild shores of singapore


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NParks opens nature playground at HortPark as testbed for future ‘biophilic’ sites

SHERLYN SEAH Today Online 20 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE — At first glance, it might not look like much, with leaves, sand and some wooden blocks and poles in the ground. However, the new biophilic playground at HortPark has been specially designed to allow children to play freely with nature.

Centred upon the concept of “biophilia”, the innate emotional connection that humans have with nature, research has shown that interacting with the outdoors helps children develop creativity.

The new play area will also be a testing ground for the National Parks Board (NParks) to develop design guidelines, by early 2020, to help pre-schools, government agencies and developers in building more of such sites around the island.

This is so that more playgrounds can adopt natural designs for children to experience biodiversity.


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Singapore continues to monitor situation in Pasir Gudang as more illegal dumping found

Channel NewsAsia 20 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE: Authorities in Singapore are monitoring the situation in Pasir Gudang, as more illegal waste dumping sites have been found in the area.

One of the new dumping sites found this week is along Johor's Sungai Masai, which empties into the Johor Strait opposite Singapore's northern coast, near Yishun.

The air and water quality in Singapore, as well as the water supply, remain unaffected by the latest developments, said the National Environment Agency (NEA), Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore, Singapore's water agency PUB and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in a joint statement on Tuesday (Mar 19).

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam described the illegal chemical waste dumping as "an irresponsible act".


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Malaysia: Air quality dips in several areas in Pahang and Melaka

Bernama New Straits Times 19 Mar 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Four areas in Pahang and Melaka recorded unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings as at 12 noon today.

Based on the latest readings from the website of the Department of Environment (DoE), Rompin and Balok Baru Kuantan in Pahang recorded the highest API readings of 192 and 157 respectively.


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Malaysia: Govt working on stiffer punishment following Pasir Gudang toxic fumes incident

Syed Umar Ariff New Straits Times 19 Mar 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Stiffer punishment may be introduced as part of amendments to the Environmental Quality Act 1974, following the toxic fumes incident in Pasir Gudang.

Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis told the Dewan Rakyat today that measures were also in the pipeline to significantly reduce pollution.

"We are proposing to change (amend) the Act, and continuously strengthen overall enforcement to ensure pollution can be significantly reduced effectively," she said.


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Malaysia: Sg Kim Kim free of toxic pollution

Reports by NELSON BENJAMIN, MOHD FARHAAN SHAH, REMAR NORDIN and AUSTIN CAMOENS The Star 20 Mar 19;

PASIR GUDANG: The 1.5km stretch of Sungai Kim Kim – which was put under the national spotlight after it became polluted with chemical waste – is declared free of toxic pollution.

This declaration was made after carrying out an extensive cleaning operation, said Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin.

The authorities will still continue to monitor the river for the next 25 days to ensure the water and air quality within the surrounding is clean.

“Now, the job is to bring all the chemical waste collected to a factory for disposal. A total of 900 metric tonnes of soil and 1,500 metric tonnes of water that was polluted has been cleaned,” she said at a press conference held at the main dumping ground near Sungai Kim Kim here yesterday.


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Malaysia: Only the tip of the iceberg

lo tern chern The Star 20 Mar 19;

EXCLUSIVE:BUKIT MERTAJAM: From the north to the south of Peninsular Malaysia, there seems to be no end yet to the discovery of illegal dumpsites.

Although Penang was the first state to implement the “No Single-Use Plastic” initiative, it has a lot more environmental battles to take on, with illegal disposal of waste becoming a hot issue as of late.

Just three days after the report of chemical waste dumped in an oil palm estate in Bukit Teh here, an illegal plastic dumpsite the size of six football fields has been uncovered in nearby Machang Bubok.

During a visit to the site yesterday, The Star saw mounds of shredded plastic almost two storeys high. Excavators and forklifts were at work unloading more of such waste from trucks.

It is believed that the marshland was previously an illegal sand quarry that had been shut down many years ago.

Besides plastic waste, items such as discarded furniture and construction debris have filled up the pools of water there.


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Indonesia: No illegal logging activity in Sentani, Papua area hit by flooding

Martha H, Fardah Antara 19 Mar 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry has confirmed there was no illegal logging activity in the Sentani areas hit by flash floods on Saturday (March16, 2019), according to IB Putera Parthama, the ministry's Director General for River Basin Management.

There were no logs floating or swept away by flood waters in the Sentani Sub-district, Jayapura District, Indonesia's eastern most province of Papua, Perthama said here, Tuesday.

"Branches and roots of the floating trees were intact. It shows that the trees were not a result of the illegal logging activity (suspected of having) caused the flash floods," he told the press.


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Indonesia: As temperatures rise, water-sharing can prevent transboundary haze

Water-sharing arrangements between companies and Indonesian communities can prevent fires in dry season hotspots, two observers point out.
Michelle Ann Miller Channel NewsAsia 20 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE: With 2019 expected to bring hotter and drier-than-usual El Nino weather conditions to Southeast Asia, concerns are heightened about a recurrence of the 2015 haze crisis. The episode of chronic transboundary air pollution that choked the region in a blanket of acrid smoke had severe health, economic and environmental impacts.

Indonesia, a major haze-producing country, claims to be better prepared for the next intense dry season, expected to start in June this year. Indonesia’s confidence is linked to major land reforms undertaken in the aftermath of the 2015 haze crisis.

In 2016, President Joko Widodo introduced a moratorium on burning, draining and deforesting 4.9 million hectares of peatlands, amending a 2014 regulation.


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Shocking autopsy photos show toll of plastic waste on dead whale

Images show marine biologist removing 88lb worth of plastic bags from stomach of whale that died in Philippines of ‘gastric shock’
Erin Durkin The Guardian 19 Mar 19;

Graphic autopsy images have revealed the terrible toll that plastic waste took on a young whale found dead in the Philippines.

The juvenile Cuvier’s beaked whale died of “gastric shock” after swallowing 88lb (40kg) of plastic bags, according to marine biologists at the D’Bone Collector Museum, a natural history institution in Davao City in the Philippines.

Photos show the museum director, Darrell Blatchley, pulling sheet after sheet of plastic out of the stomach of the dead whale, which was found on Saturday. A heap of plastic bags piled up next to the dead animal.


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School climate strikes: 1.4 million people took part, say campaigners

Activist Greta Thunberg, 16, says action proved ‘no one is too small to make a difference’
Damian Carrington The Guardian 19 Mar 19;

More than 1.4 million young people around the world took part in school strikes for climate action, according to environmental campaigners.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student whose solo protest last August prompted the global movement, said: “We proved that it does matter what you do and that no one is too small to make a difference.”

Children walked out of schools on Friday in 2,233 cities and towns in 128 countries, with demonstrations held from Australia to India, the UK and the US, according to the Fridays for the Future website. Further strikes are planned for 15 April.

Eyal Weintraub, an 18-year-old from Argentina who took part in the protests, said: “We have reached a point in history when we have the technical capacities to solve poverty, malnutrition, inequality and of course global warming.

“The deciding factors for whether we take advantage of our potential will be our activism and our international unity.”


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NParks working to preserve Ubin's rusticity

Straits Times Forum 18 Mar 19;

We thank the public for their feedback (Many rules, fewer visitors, say Pulau Ubin Islanders, Feb 24; NParks need to be more transparent on Ubin; and Myriad rules killing feel of kampung life, both March 4).

Since taking over as the central managing agency for Ubin in 2016, the National Parks Board (NParks) has sought to maintain and enhance the island's much-loved rusticity.

Our priorities were to ensure the safety of residents and visitors, and protect Ubin's natural and built heritage. And NParks has maintained the status quo, as much as possible.


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