Best of our wild blogs: 26 Mar 19



Sisters' Islands Marine Park (Pulau Subar Laut)
Offshore Singapore

A playground within nature – Love MacRitchie Walk (10 March 2019)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

Asian Openbill-Singapore’s 2nd Record
Singapore Bird Group


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HQ of Singapore construction firm being built with sustainable material from local waste

Joy Pang Minle Straits Times 25 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE - The first step in developing sustainable construction material using local waste was taken today (Mar 25), with the signing of an agreement that will include its use in the building of a new headquarters of a local construction company.

The agreement between JTC Corporation and Samwoh Corporation will see recycled materials processed from construction and industrial waste, like sedimentary rocks excavated from Jurong Rock Caverns, being used in erecting the four-storey building near Kranji Reservoir.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between JTC and Samwoh, told The Straits Times he is confident Singapore can play a key role in sustainable technology.


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NEA's pay-as-you-throw idea triggers memes and serious debate

Residents worry about hike in waste disposal fee and indiscriminate throwing of rubbish
Cheryl Teh Straits Times 26 Mar 19;

One photo showed the white-and-blue Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantry photoshopped onto a rubbish chute with the caption "Electronic Rubbish Pricing".

Another showed a rubbish chute with a coin-slot, labelled "insert coin to dump rubbish", next to it.

These memes have surfaced on social media following a Straits Times report on March 15 over a "pay-as-you-throw" pilot by the National Environment Agency (NEA) later this year, to make households pay according to the garbage they throw.

Besides the lighthearted memes, the report has triggered a serious debate over the feasibility of implementing such a scheme here and the necessity of exploring this idea or even others to monitor and limit rubbish dumped by households.


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Malaysia: 3 charged over Sg Kim Kim pollution

Rizalman Hammim New Straits Times 25 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU: “THERE are no chemiclas in court, so why are you wearing a mask? Remove it.”

This was the stinging rebuke delivered by judge Jailani Rahman to the director of a used tyre processing factory, who was wearing a disposable mask for his charge proceedings at the Sessions Court here yesterday.

The accused, Wang Jing Chao, 34, a Singaporean, was called out for the charge to be read.

Wang was the last of three people brought to court over charges of collusion and of disposing of a scheduled substance into Sungai Kim Kim.



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Malaysia: Wildfires and smog pose a danger in Sarawak

stephen then The Star 26 Mar 19;

MIRI: Choking smog are enveloping residential estates in many parts of Miri and Kuala Baram districts during the night and pre-dawn hours.

This smog comes from wildfires that rage at night in several hotspots.

The air pollution is making it hard for residents who have to breathe in the foul air.

Firefighters from the Miri and Lopeng Bomba stations are working non-stop to fight the fires, but some are burning so close to housing estates, they pose a real physical danger.


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Malaysia: Rain eases dry spell

ROSLI ZAKARIA AND OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 26 May 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: AFTER weeks of prolonged hot and dry weather, rain finally brought relief to residents of the Klang Valley, Terengganu and Sabah yesterday.

The hour-long downpour, however, caused flash floods in some parts of the city here.

In Kampung Datuk Keramat, firemen had to rescue a 15-year-old disabled person and a 4-month-old baby trapped in floodwaters.

The Fire and Rescue Department said several cars were stranded in the flood.

Keramat Fire and Rescue Department operations commander Suhaimi Abdul Shukor said floodwaters in Kampung Datuk Keramat were 3m deep.

The rain also led to several felled trees in the city’s main arteries, such as Jalan Ampang and Jalan Genting Klang.


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Malaysia, Johor: No water supply to 75,000 following closure of Simpang Renggam plant

Bernama New Straits Times 26 Mar 19;

KLUANG: Water supply to about 75,000 consumers of SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd in Johor have been cut off since Saturday morning (March 23).

This follows the temporary closure of the water treatment plant in Simpang Renggam in Kluang.

The plant was closed because of ammonia pollution in Sungai Benut.


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Indonesia: Wildfires rage on in Riau, authorities use helicopters to put out flames

The Jakarta Post 25 Mar 19;

The head coordinator of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Edwar Sanger, said the wildfires were likely to keep spreading, as the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru was still detecting hot spots.

Edwar said Bengkalis was the hardest hit regency with 1,263 ha of burned land. Most districts in the regency have experienced wildfires since early this year. However, the worst wildfires were recorded on Rupat Island, where peatland was on fire throughout February, causing thick smoke that spread to the city of Dumai on the Sumatran mainland.

Aside from Bengkalis, severe wildfires were reported in the east coast areas of Rokan Hilir (407 ha), Meranti (222.4 ha) and Dumai (192.25 ha).


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Indonesia: Protecting Orangutans in natural habitat deemed crucial

Antara 25 Mar 19;

The Indonesian authorities foiled a tourist's attempt to smuggle an orangutan out of Bali Island recently. (ANTARA FOTO/Nyoman Hendra Wibowo)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - It is incredibly heartbreaking to see a picture of a tourist in Bali attempting to smuggle a drugged orangutan kept in a rattan basket into Russia.

During X-ray screening, Bali's conservation agency staff spotted the two-year-old male ape in the 27-year-old Russian's suitcase on March 22, 2019. The Bali police arrested the tourist, who had planned to bring home the "sleeping" orangutan and keep him as a pet.

Orangutans (orang means human and utan means forest) are among the rarest animals, as only 100 thousand of the protected species remain worldwide.

Preserving wildlife in its natural forest habitat is a vital step in ensuring that conservation efforts were successful in the long term.


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'Coal is on the way out': study finds fossil fuel now pricier than solar or wind

Around 75% of coal production is more expensive than renewables, with industry out-competed on cost by 2025
Oliver Milman The Guardian 25 Mar 19;

Around three-quarters of US coal production is now more expensive than solar and wind energy in providing electricity to American households, according to a new study.

“Even without major policy shift we will continue to see coal retire pretty rapidly,” said Mike O’Boyle, the co-author of the report for Energy Innovation, a renewables analysis firm. “Our analysis shows that we can move a lot faster to replace coal with wind and solar. The fact that so much coal could be retired right now shows we are off the pace.”

The study’s authors used public financial filings and data from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) to work out the cost of energy from coal plants compared with wind and solar options within a 35-mile radius. They found that 211 gigawatts of current US coal capacity, 74% of the coal fleet, is providing electricity that’s more expensive than wind or solar.


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Explainer: Why sand is so highly valued and the controversy surrounding cross border trade

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 24 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE — A short documentary by a Cambodian filmmaker that claimed Singapore has imported over “80 million tons of sand worth more than US$740 million (S$999 million) from Cambodia” went viral here recently.

The 16-minute film once again shone the spotlight on Singapore’s heavy reliance on imported sand for land reclamation.

The 2018 documentary by Ms Kalyanee Mam, who won an award for it at an environmental film festival held in Washington, United States, in March, claimed that Singapore’s need for sand has destroyed the livelihood of a community on an island off Cambodia’s coast.

When contacted about the claims in Ms Mam’s video, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said it does not condone the unlawful import of sand. It also reiterated that Singapore had stopped importing sand from Cambodia after a ban by the latter took effect in November 2016.

Ms Mam, who is based in the United States, could not be reached for comment.

Find out why there is so much controversy over this highly valued commodity:


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Malaysia: Singapore’s help sought to find Sungai Kim Kim pollution suspect

remar nordin The Star 25 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU: Johor police are working with their Singaporean counterparts to track down a man in his 30s in connection with the Sungai Kim Kim chemical waste pollution case.

The man is believed to be the owner of a used tyre-processing company allegedly involved in the pollution incident in Pasir Gudang.

State police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the man was on the wanted list and police were waiting for the Singa­porean autho­rities to arrest him.

He added that seven out of the 11 people detained in relation to the Sungai Kim Kim toxic waste dumping had been released on police bail after investigations revealed that they did not have any relation to the case.


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