Best of our wild blogs: 13 Apr 11

22 Apr: Earth Day in Singapore for kids!
from Celebrating Singapore's BioDiversity!

leopard-spotted puffer fish @ Sg. Buloh
from sgbeachbum and oriental magpie robin and fishy sungei buloh

Always bring your camera along
from Lazy Lizard's Tales

Massive Tuas reclamation continues
from wild shores of singapore

Mangroves, seagrasses 'lock up' carbon: IUCN report
from wild shores of singapore

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MPA pledges up to S$100m to encourage green shipping

Sharon See Channel NewsAsia 12 Apr 11;

SINGAPORE: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has pledged up to S$100 million to encourage more environmentally friendly shipping in Singapore for the next five years.

The Maritime Singapore Green Initiative focuses on three areas.

Singapore-flagged ships that adopt energy efficient ship designs will get to enjoy savings on the Initial Registration Fees and a rebate on the Annual Tonnage Tax.

Under the Green Port Programme, ships calling at the Port of Singapore that use approved technologies or burn clean fuel, can qualify for lower port dues.

These two programmes are expected to cost the MPA some S$50 million.

MPA has also set aside S$50 million to encourage local maritime companies to develop and adopt green technologies.

Companies can apply for a fund of up to S$2 million per project.

Transport Minister Raymond Lim said these programmes underscore Singapore's commitment to clean and green shipping.

"Today, shipping remains by far the most efficient form of cargo transport. It carries more than 90 per cent of world trade but contributes only about three per cent to global carbon dioxide emission. Nevertheless, as a responsible international player, the shipping industry must play its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Mr Lim.

- CNA/cc

Goodies, discounts for ships flying green flag
$100m incentive for cleaner fuels, more efficient design
Joyce Hooi Business Times 13 Apr 11;

(SINGAPORE) Singapore is throwing its weight behind green shipping to the tune of $100 million.

This means ships will find that it pays to go with the green flow. Singapore- registered ships that surpass certain energy-efficient design standards will get their initial registration fees halved, while ships that use qualifying low-sulphur fuel will get a 15 per cent discount on their port dues bill, among various things.

These and an assortment of goodies for shipping firms that toe the green line are part of the $100 million Maritime Singapore Green Initiative by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

Launched yesterday by Raymond Lim, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, the $100 million initiative will be funnelled through three programmes - the Green Ship Programme, Green Port Programme and Green Technology Programme - over the next five years.

The programmes offer a mix of rebates and reductions on various shipping charges now levied. 'This initiative underscores Singapore's commitment as a responsible flag and port state to clean and green shipping,' said Mr Lim.

Under the Green Ship Programme, for example, Singapore-flagged ships that exceed the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will see a 50 per cent reduction in initial registration fees and a 20 per cent rebate on the annual tonnage tax payable.

The EEDI stipulates a minimum energy efficiency level for new ships, among several things.

The Green Port Programme, on the other hand, will gun for pollutants like sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides. Ships that call at Singapore using low-sulphur fuels that qualify or approved emission abatement or scrubber technologies will see their port dues bill slashed 15 per cent.

Both the Green Ship Programme and the Green Port Programme are expected to cost MPA $50 million of the total $100 million set aside.

Of the remaining $50 million, $25 million from the Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund will be earmarked for the Green Technology Programme. This programme will co-fund up to half of the qualifying costs that a local maritime firm incurs in developing and using green technology. If the response to it is good, MPA is prepared to pump in another $25 million from the $100 million kitty.

'The three Green Programmes will enhance shipping's environmental image, and raise the social awareness of Singapore's shipping community, as we take on an even more active role in further reducing greenhouse gas emission from shipping,' said SS Teo, president of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA).

A significant chunk of the industry pledged its support yesterday, with both the maritime and offshore sectors represented at the Maritime Singapore Green Pledge signing ceremony, along with MPA and SSA.

'Environmental challenges are some of the most critical challenges facing the maritime industry today. These challenges are multi-faceted and require joint efforts from governments and the industry,' said MPA chief executive Lam Yi Young.

From the container and tanker side, Maersk Line Asia Pacific, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), Pacific International Lines and Ocean Tankers took part in the signing yesterday, while the port front was represented by Jurong Port and PSA Corporation. NOL also announced its plans to switch to low-sulphur gas oil for all 80 of its vessels calling at Singapore, and other liners might soon follow suit.

Where ports are concerned, Jurong Port is looking at introducing cold ironing - using a land-based source of power for vessels that are in port - in its operations. It will explore supplying vessels with cleaner energy generated by Singapore's grid.

PSA Corporation's regional chief executive officer for Southeast Asia, Tan Puay Hin, said that his firm would not rule out the option of cold ironing and had been exploring the possibility of using it in future or existing ports, as well. 'The adoption part is a concern at this time,' said Mr Tan.

BP Singapore, Keppel Offshore & Marine, Sembcorp Marine and Shell Marine Products signed the pledge as well. This was witnessed by Mr Lim; Lim Hwee Hua, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Transport; Choi Shing Kwok, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport; and Lucien Wong, chairman of MPA.

The signing took place during the Singapore International Maritime Awards 2011 at the Shangri-La Hotel. AP Moller-Maersk Group took home the International Maritime Centre Award while its liner peer, Pacific International Lines, was named SRS Ship Owner of the Year.

Ezra Holdings clinched the Special Mention Award while the Maritime Service Provider Award was given to Clarkson Asia Pte Ltd. The yards - Sembawang Shipyard Pte Ltd and Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd - were given the Offshore & Marine Engineering Award and the Excellence in Training Development Award, respectively.

Mobile satellite communications firm THISS Technologies Pte Ltd was given the Outstanding Maritime R&D and Technology Award and Sentek Marine & Trading Pte Ltd received the Bunker Award.

In keeping with the drive towards green shipping, for the next round of awards, there will be an additional category open for contention: the SRS Green Ship of the Year award.

$100m to help shipping go green
Incentive scheme to target different players
Jonathan Kwok Straits Times 13 Apr 11;

SHIPPING giant Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) will start using a new kind of fuel today that heralds a cleaner, greener future for the shipping industry.

Marine gas oil, as it is known, produces far less sulphur oxides, which cause acid rain, than traditional heavy fuel oil.

NOL will convert to marine gas oil when berthing at Singapore's port from today.

'As Singapore's largest carrier, we feel a responsibility to manage the environmental impact of global trade,' said Mr Eng Aik Meng, president of APL, which is NOL's shipping line.

The fuel conversion is just one of a range of steps Singapore's maritime players - including government and industry bodies, shipping lines, port operators and rig-builders - will take to make the industry cleaner and greener.

The key initiative comes in the form of a $100 million incentive scheme announced by Transport Minister Raymond Lim at the Singapore International Maritime Awards at Shangri-La Hotel.

The Maritime Singapore Green Initiative, which will be administered by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), will have three separate portions targeting different players.

The Green Port Programme will allow ships that burn cleaner fuels at Singapore's port to pay less in port dues. NOL may qualify for incentives thanks to its move to switch to cleaner fuels at the port, although regulatory inspections will be needed first.

The Green Ship Programme will allow Singapore-flagged ships to pay less in fees and taxes if they adopt ship designs that reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Local maritime companies that develop and adopt green technologies can get co-funding under the Green Technology scheme.

The three schemes will cost an estimated $100 million over five years.

While ports around the world sometimes offer incentives to encourage green shipping, it is rare for a regulator to unveil such a comprehensive set of schemes to target different aspects.

The maritime sector contributes about 7 per cent of Singapore's economic output and employs more than 170,000 people, noted Mr Lim.

He added that while shipping is the most efficient form of cargo transport - it carries more than 90 per cent of world trade but contributes only 3 per cent to carbon dioxide emissions - the industry must play its part to reduce emissions.

The move to a cleaner future had another boost yesterday when 12 industry organisations signed a pledge to support and promote clean shipping here.

The signatories include port operators Jurong Port and PSA, rig-builders Keppel Offshore & Marine and Sembcorp Marine, shipping lines Maersk, NOL and Pacific International Lines (PIL), BP Singapore and Shell Marine Products.

Mr Teo Choo Wee, executive director of the fleet division at PIL, and Maersk Line's chief executive for Asia Pacific, Mr Thomas Knudsen, both said their companies will look more at using low sulphur fuels for vessels coming here.

Maersk, Ezra Holdings, Keppel Offshore & Marine and Sembawang Shipyard were among the winners of the awards announced last night.

Additional reporting by Melissa Ho

APL switches to low-sulphur fuel in Singapore
It's the first container line here to convert; Maersk and PIL to follow
Joyce Hooi Business Times 13 Apr 11;

NEPTUNE Orient Lines Group (NOL) is turning a welcome shade of green. From today, its shipping line - APL - will be the first line to make the switch to low-sulphur fuel in Singapore.

All 80 of its vessels calling at Singapore will begin using low-sulphur marine gas oil instead of regular marine fuel. NOL announced this move at the launch of the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative yesterday.

The marine gas oil it is using has an average sulphur content of 0.25 per cent, a concession to a green shipping mandate that is nine years ahead of deadline.

Singapore has adopted the International Maritime Organisation's deadline that calls for reducing the sulphur content of marine fuel to 3.5 per cent by 2012 and to 0.5 per cent in 2020.

'We are proud to be the first container shipping line to convert to cleaner-burning fuel here,' said Eng Aik Meng, president of APL. 'As Singapore's largest carrier, we feel a responsibility to manage the environmental impact of global trade.'

The switch will cut sulphur oxides emissions by 90 per cent and nitrogen oxides emissions by about 12 per cent, NOL said. Ash and particulate matter emissions could be cut by 80-90 per cent.

This low-sulphur path comes at a price. Marine gas oil is almost double the price of regular marine fuel. According to Mr Eng, APL's fleet burns 11,000 tonnes of fuel per year while in Singapore's port. 'There is a cost, but it is worth it,' he said yesterday.

There are no immediate plans to pass on the additional cost to its customers, the group said.

At the launch of the initiative, both Maersk Line and Pacific International Lines (PIL) indicated that they too would switch to low-sulphur fuel for ships calling here soon.

When asked if Singapore is on the list of at least 10 locations in the world where Maersk had committed to making the switch to low-sulphur fuel by 2015, Thomas Knudsen, Maersk Line's chief executive for the region said: 'You can expect that, yes.'

'We definitely will be looking more at using low-sulphur fuel for ships calling at Singapore,' said Teo Choo Wee, PIL's executive director for the fleet division.

Singapore is the seventh city in which APL has switched to the cleaner-burning alternative. It began four years ago in Los Angeles and Seattle, before moving on the cities like Hong Kong and New York.

'We greatly welcome APL's decision to switch to using low sulphur fuel in Singapore and hope that more shipping companies will follow APL's lead in doing so,' said Lam Yi Young, chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

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Coal gasification could be a future feedstock option in Singapore

Chemical plants and utilities such as steam and power will benefit from it
Ronnie Lim Business Times 13 Apr 11;

SINGAPORE is literally leaving no stone unturned in its search for additional strategic feedstocks for the oil refining/petrochemicals industry on Jurong Island.

It is now looking at coal-to-chemicals as another option, and wants to evaluate having a coal gasification plant there to provide syngas feedstocks for chemical plants and utilities such as steam and power.

This latest study by the Economic Development Board - in cooperation with the Energy Market Authority and JTC Corporation - adds to two ongoing feedstock studies looking into the import of LPG or liquefied petroleum gas, and also the use of 'green' feedstock, such as palm oil, sugarcane and plant biomass.

So far, the petrochemical crackers here - operated by Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore, Shell and ExxonMobil - use mainly naphtha, and more recently heavy 'bottoms' such as hydrowax from the refineries to produce the feedstock needed by downstream chemical plants. It is understood that more optimal use of such 'bottoms' is also being looked into.

The studies come under the government's Jurong Island version 2.0 initiative - set to be unveiled mid-year - which focuses on feedstock options and infrastructure developments to create new competitive advantages for the Singapore chemicals sector.

'The latest study will look into coal gasification to produce competitive supply of hydrogen and carbon monoxide feedstock for the chemical plants and also for utilities,' an EDB spokesperson told BT last Friday.

Wikipedia explains that 'coal gasification is the process of producing coal gas, a type of synthetic gas - a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) gas - from coal.' Coal gas (also known as town gas) can be converted into transportation fuels such as gasoline and diesel through additional treatment.

EDB said that while the main disadvantage of coal is its environmental impact, coal gasification technology provides the potential for a 'clean coal' plant and development of new technologies in carbon capture and use to further diminish the carbon footprint in future.

EDB's tender for a consultant states that 'as there have been prior indications that companies may wish to supplement the feedstock business of a coal gasification plant with power generation, we wish to understand the possible business models that industry may propose given different specifications of feedstock, both feedstock and utilities, as well as what a model that optimises price competitiveness and minimises carbon footprint may entail'.

This suggests that the coal gasification plant project could also interest generating companies here, especially Tuas Power which is already building a $2 billion, coal/biomass-firing multi-utilities complex on Jurong Island.

But environmental sustainability is clearly a top concern in the study.

'The evaluation should also take into account a carbon tax in view of a possible international agreement on carbon mitigation, which could lower the profitability of the plant,' the EDB tender said.

'The study should also make explicit the assumptions that are being used, particularly to achieve the carbon footprint,' it added, specifying that the plant must also meet current NEA standards and cover areas right down to disposal of pollutants.

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Indonesia's carbon-rich wetlands essential

UPI 12 Apr 11;

JAKARTA, April 12 (UPI) -- Because of their potential for storing carbon, Indonesia's wetlands -- which include mangroves and freshwater peat forests -- are integral in the fight against climate change, experts say.

Unless Indonesia preserves its 7.41 million acres of mangrove forests -- representing 23 percent of the world's total -- the country's climate change mitigation programs would be pointless, said Daniel Murdiyarso, a senior researcher from the Center for International Forestry Research at the organization's conference Monday in Sanur, Bali, the Jakarta Post reports.

Mangroves should have adequate protection, Murdiyarso said, calling for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to keep his pledge for Indonesia to change its status from "a net emitter" to "a net sink" for carbon by 2030. The rate of deforestation for Indonesia's mangrove forests now stands at approximately 7 percent a year.

Jakarta has pledged to reduce the country's emissions by 26 percent on its own and by 42 percent with international climate aid.

But Indonesia now ranks as the fifth largest carbon emitter in the world, with deforestation and forest degradation accounting for more than 80 percent of its emissions.

"It is a fact that wetlands store a lot of carbon that has the potential to be lost to the atmosphere more rapidly than any other tropical forest type" when cleared by typical burning procedures, said Matthew Warren, a researcher from the U.S. Forest Service

"Do not allow them to be drained and burnt because that will release carbon," Warren said.

A report released by Greenpeace last week said management consultancy McKinsey & Co has suggested strategies to Indonesia and other nations that could help them proceed with logging practices while still generating revenue from the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD, and REDD+ schemes.

The Greenpeace report said McKinsey's approach offers an incentive to governments to artificially increase predicted deforestation rates so that later reductions could secure more compensation.

Also, in its "REDD Alert: Protection Money" report released last November, Greenpeace said that because of vague definitions, continued clearance of forest could be allowed in Indonesia under the guise of rehabilitation of degraded forest areas.

Greenpeace said documents from the forestry, agriculture and energy departments in Jakarta reveal plans for expansion in the pulp, palm, agriculture, biofuel and coal sectors that could bring an additional 156 million acres of land into use by 2030.

After Brazil, Indonesia has the second-highest deforestation rate in the world.

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Caterpillar Plague Swarms into Several Bali Districts

Made Arya Kencana Jakarta Globe 12 Apr 11;

After invading homes and destroying plantations in East Java, swarms of caterpillars have descended on at least three districts in Bali. 

Made Putra Suryawan, head of Bali's agricultural office, said on Monday that he had received reports that caterpillar outbreaks had been found in Denpasar, Tabanan and Buleleng.

“We have asked people who find caterpillars to immediately report the finding to us so the insects don’t spread to other areas,” he said.

Caterpillars have been found in several villages in Denpasar. While the insects typically only attack plants, they have begun creeping into people’s homes.

The most extensive outbreak was reportedly in Buleleng, where the local agriculture office said caterpillars had invaded three subdistricts: Gerokgak, Buleleng and Sawan.

“We’re afraid that if we don’t exterminate the caterpillars soon, they will invade the plantations,” Suryawan said, referring to the many mango crops in the area.

Nyoman Madra, a resident of Tukadmungga village in Buleleng, said caterpillars had been attacking mango trees since last week.

“The caterpillars are grayish [in color], and because of their numbers, the mango leaves have started to fall off,” he said.

Suryawan said the caterpillars attacking Bali appeared similar to those wreaking havoc in East Java, although it was important to wait for a definitive answer from Bali’s Udayana University, which is completing laboratory tests on the insects.

Suryawan said the office had mobilized more than 71 agricultural experts to observe and study the caterpillars.

The agricultural office has also started spraying the affected regions with pesticides.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said on Monday that caterpillars were a serious problem because they could affect the tourism industry.

Since early this month, plagues of caterpillars have attacked five subdistricts in Probolinggo, East Java, with the insects crawling into homes and fields and causing skin rashes among residents.

The herbivorous insects have also destroyed more than 8,800 mango trees — the district’s main agricultural product.

Caterpillars swarm Indonesia's Bali
Yahoo News 13 Apr 11;

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) – Swarms of caterpillars which can cause skin rashes have invaded the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, an official said Wednesday, but tourist areas have not been affected so far.

The dark, wriggly insects were first sighted in a village on Friday and the swarms have since spread to six districts, including the provincial capital of Denpasar, Bali agricultural chief Made Putra Suryawan told AFP.

"The situation is under control. Since Friday, workers have been spraying insecticide and burning garbage in affected areas to stop the spread," he said.

"Tourists need not be alarmed. The caterpillars have not spread to tourist areas yet. The threat to tourists is minimal," he added.

Thousands of caterpillars have reportedly descended on parts of neighbouring Java island in the last two weeks, attacking fruit farms and invading residential areas.

Suryawan said officials were trying to identify the species, adding that the rise in the caterpillar population could be attributed to a "disturbed ecosystem".

"There's a reduction in the number of birds and ants that feed on these caterpillars. People catch the birds to sell them and catch the ants to feed their pet birds," he added.

Coming into contact with the caterpillars could cause itchy rashes, Suryawan said.

Bali tourism agency head Ida Bagus Subhiksu said there had been no reports of caterpillar problems from tourist operators so far.

The island is increasing popular with foreign visitors, with 2.5 million overseas tourists expected this year, up from 2.3 million last year.

Weather Blamed for Caterpillar Plague
Fidelis E. Satriastanti & Elisabeth Oktofani Jakarta Globe 14 Apr 11;

Unpredictable weather coupled with a decline in natural predators is responsible for a recent plague of caterpillars in parts of the country.

Though the phenomenon is centered largely in Probolinggo, East Java, smaller reported outbreaks in Central Java, West Java, Bali and, most recently, Jakarta have prompted fears of a widespread infestation.

But Aunu Rauf, an entomologist at the Bogor Institute of Agricultural (IPB), says there is no connection between the outbreaks in Probolinggo and those in the other areas.

“There are at least 120,000 types of caterpillars in the world, so those found in Bekasi [West Java] and Probolinggo would be different from each other,” he told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

“I’m sure the ones in Tanjung Duren [West Jakarta], where people have claimed to have been ‘attacked’ by caterpillars, are also a different type.”

Since March, millions of hairy caterpillars have cropped up in at least five subdistricts in Probolinggo, invading fields and homes. They have also caused itchy rashes among residents.

The caterpillars have also destroyed more than 8,800 mango trees — the district’s main agricultural produce. However, the caterpillars in Bekasi were found largely in bushes, while those in Tanjung Duren were found on pine trees.

“Basically, in the life cycles of pests, it’s normal for them to increase in number at the start of the dry season — especially caterpillars,” Aunu said, adding that the country was currently in the transition period to the dry season.

“In the current case, however, their numbers exploded because of the prolonged rainy season last year that disrupted [the population growth of] natural predators, particularly birds and other insects.

“In addition, parasitoids, insects similar to wasps whose larvae live within caterpillars as parasites, are for some reason on the decline. Their role as the caterpillars’ natural enemy is very important because they lay their eggs inside the caterpillar, and when those hatch, the larvae eat up the caterpillar from the inside.”

Aunu said the outbreak in Probolinggo, coming 70 years after the last similar outbreak there, was remarkable only for the extent of the damage being caused to mango trees.

“These caterpillars have had a tremendous effect — not only economic, from eating all the mango leaves, but also social,” he said. “Because now the villagers are afraid to carry out their regular activities due to all these insects coming into their houses.”

Aunu said while it was good for people to be aware of the caterpillar phenomena, including in Tanjung Duren and Bekasi, he stressed it was normal for the caterpillar population to increase at this time of year and should not cause too much concern.

“If these caterpillars were the type that run around fields or enter homes instead of clinging to tree branches, then we would have to take action,” he said.

Hari Sutrisno, an entomologist from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said that as long as the caterpillars were not harming people, they should be left alone.

“There’s been quite a frenzy over these caterpillars, and it’s all a bit too much,” he said, adding that the reports from Bekasi were particularly exaggerated. “Caterpillars don’t claim lives.”

Hari said the best way to deal with the insects was to collect them for incineration rather than use pesticides on them.

“Another method is to blend dead caterpillars with water and spray it on the live ones,” he said. “The spray acts as a natural insecticide because caterpillars that die naturally usually contain a virus that’s deadly for the species. It’s a lot better than using pesticides, which can have a long-term impact.”

Aunu also cautioned against using pesticides. “Just pick them off the tree branches and get rid of them,” he said.

“Don’t use pesticides because you don’t know what other kinds of insects you’ll be killing that serve a function for the tree.”

In the Probolinggo case, Aunu said the caterpillar numbers were already declining because most of the insects had already turned into butterflies.

“The only way to deal with them is still through their natural enemies,” he said.

“To do this, put caterpillar pupae into a jar and see whether they become butterflies or wasps. If they turn into butterflies, then we need to kill them. But if you get a wasp, that means they need to be released because parasitoids are present and functioning.”

Darmuna, a resident of Tanjung Duren, said the problem was that the hairs of the dead caterpillars were being blown around by the wind and making people itchy.

He added that the outbreak was not a new problem, with a similar event taking place in 2007.

Sholeh, deputy head of a neighborhood unit in Tanjung Duren, suggested the best way to get rid of the pests would be to chop down the 29 pine trees along Jalan Sekretaris on which they were gathered. He also said the trees needed replacing because they were old and several had been uprooted during rainstorms.

“We expected the city administration to take our opinion seriously and take action on this case by chopping down the trees and replacing them with new ones,” he said. “Instead, they just sprayed the lower parts of the trees [with pesticide].

“Every day we have to deal with the hairs that make us itchy. We could chop the trees down ourselves, but it’d cost Rp 300,000 [$35] per tree and there are 29 of them. Besides, the administration already has a budget to chop down trees.”

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Indonesian, others honored for environmental activism

Yahoo News 12 Apr 11;

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – An Indonesian clean water activist was among six environmentalists from around the world to be given the prestigious Goldman Prize, the San Francisco foundation that administers the award announced Monday.

The honor is given out each year to leading grassroots environmental activists from each of the world's six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.

The prize includes a $150,000 cash award for each recipient.

Among the recipients this year was Prigi Arisandi, a biologist in Indonesia's second city Surabaya who initiated a movement to stop industrial pollution from flowing into a local river that provides drinking water to three million people.

Other recipients of the 2011 award were:

- Raoul du Toit in Zimbabwe, who spearheaded efforts to preserve his country's dwindling black rhino population.

- Dmitry Lisitsyn of Russia, who fought to protect Sakhalin Island's endangered ecosystems from the petrochemical industry.

- Ursula Sladek of Germany, who helped create the country's first cooperatively-owned renewable power company to reduce its reliance on nuclear energy.

- Hilton Kelley of the United States, who is leading efforts for environmental justice for those hurt by last year's BP oil spill along the Texas Gulf Coast.

- Francisco Pineda of El Salvador, who led a grassroots movement that stopped a gold mine from destroying the country's already limited water resources.

The coveted prize was created in 1990 by civic leaders and philanthropists Richard Goldman, an insurance industry entrepreneur and his wife, Rhoda.

Winners are selected by an international jury after a confidential nomination process, from among candidates submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

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