Best of our wild blogs: 13 Aug 12

Latest Green Jobs in Singapore [6 - 12 Aug 2012]
from Green Business Times

1 Sep (Sat): FREE Pasir Ris Mangrove boardwalk tour with the Naked Hermit Crabs from Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

World Elephant Day: Elephants in Singapore
from Lazy Lizard's Tales

Make Meadows, and not Lawns
from Everyday Nature

Where is soil excavated in Singapore dumped?
from wild shores of singapore

Beautiful Day at Chek Jawa
from Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs and Lazy Lizard's Tales

Striped Kukri Snake
from Monday Morgue

Tanimbar Corella eating fruits of Moringa olifera
from Bird Ecology Study Group

“Marine Life & Trash in our Seas” Talk for first cohort of Frontier Primary School from News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

Save The Braddell Road Forest
from The Mighty Jungle

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Animal lovers call for stiffer penalties

Straits Times 13 Aug 12;

ANIMAL abusers can now be fined up to $10,000 and be jailed for a year, but concerned groups have called for stiffer penalties to stem the rising incidence of animal cruelty.

Member of Parliament Yeo Guat Kwang, who heads a panel set up to review legislation on animal welfare, said many of the 170 people consulted so far are in favour of tougher penalties.

But some have called for educating wrong-doers instead; those who are ignorant of proper animal care could do community service with animal welfare groups, they suggested.

The individuals consulted includevets, pet-shop operators and animal welfare groups.

Their calls come on the back of a rise in cases of animal cruelty. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said it received 1,027 reports of animal cruelty from the public last year - 10 per cent more than in the year before.

The SPCA noted that at least 70 per cent of the complaints were against pet owners who failed to provide adequate care of their pets. The remaining cases were instances of outright cruelty.

Mr Yeo was speaking at an event in Woodlands yesterday to get the public to adopt animals and learn more about animal care. The committee he heads was formed this year and comes under the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for National Development.

Mr Yeo, a member of the GPC, said the committee will present its recommendations to the Government by the end of the year. He would not be drawn into specifying what the recommendations might be.

Animal groups said they are heartened that their views have been heard.

Ms Veron Lau, the president of the Cat Welfare Society, said: "The Government must also enforce these penalties strictly for there to be adequate deterrence against animal cruelty.

"Animal welfare groups can also chip in by helping with the investigations of suspected cases of animal cruelty."


AVA mulls stiffer action to stop animal abuse
Daryl Tan Channel NewsAsia 12 Aug 12;

SINGAPORE: Be a responsible pet-owner, not only to your pets, but to your neighbours as well.

That was the message behind a pet care roadshow, organised by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

Sales were aplenty but it was the animals which took centrestage at Causeway Point Shopping Centre.

Besides getting close to the animals, shoppers also learnt more about proper pet care through exhibits and talks.

With pet abuse cases on the rise in Singapore, the AVA's Animal Welfare Legislation Review Committee has received feedback on ways to get tougher.

These include fines and jail as well as community service with an animal welfare group.

An e-consultation platform for the public to give suggestions for better animal welfare will be set up next month.

The committee will also recommend an accreditation scheme for pet businesses.

Chairman of Animal Welfare Legislation Review Committee, Yeok Guat Kwang, said: "We have to make sure that the industry players really do their part by coming up with accreditation schemes to ensure that industry player will do the right thing.

"At the same time, they have the duty and responsibility to educate the buyers. Before they buy, they must make sure that they understand what are they getting and what kind of care and love they must give to the pets that they purchase."

- CNA/ck

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Indonesia: Sumatra Park Home to About 166 Tigers

Fidelis E. Satriastanti Jakarta Globe 10 Aug 12;

Kerinci Seblat National Park has approximately 166 Sumatran tigers, a program official said on Thursday.

Dian Risdianto, the head of the park’s tiger program, said the number of tigers was suitable for the size of Kerinci Seblat, giving the animals room to roam.

The park covers about 1.4 million hectares and straddles four provinces in Sumatra — Jambi, Bengkulu, West Sumatra and South Sumatra.

Most of the tigers, according to Dian, are concentrated in four main areas of the park. He said the data on the tigers was gathered between 2006 and 2009, using camera traps and patrols.

With the three-year lapse since the monitoring program ended, the numbers could have changed slightly because of factors like poaching, Dian said.

The tiger monitoring program is expected to begin again next year, with financial support from donors in Germany.

More tigers may also be living on the edges of the national park, near plantations, Dian added.

According to Hariyo T. Wibisono, chairman of the Harimau Kita (Our Tigers) conservation forum, the latest survey from a coalition of NGOs found that Sumatra’s forests are home to at least 600 tigers. That is a more optimistic picture than a 1994 official report that put the head count for the rare species at between 400 and 500.

The survey, he said, was conducted from 2007 to 2009 on more than 250 square kilometers of forest covering 38 nature reserves.

Hariyo attributed the higher figure not to an increase in population, but to a better extrapolation method.

He said the method used in the 1994 survey was not as accurate as that used in the more recent study. The earlier research, he added, surveyed only seven locations: five national parks and two conservation forests in Sumatra.

The Sumatran tiger is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Trading in or possession of these protected animals or their parts is a criminal offense.

However, the tiger population continues to dwindle because of illegal hunting and trading, with conservationists saying several of the animals die each year as a result of traps, poaching or other human actions.

Dian said about 100 tiger traps were found and destroyed recently inside Kerinci Seblat.

“The illegal hunters are still aiming for our tigers. We should always be alert because they are all we have,” he said.

Police arrested a taxidermist in Depok last month and seized several stuffed animals, including 14 tigers, two leopards, one clouded leopard, a lion and three bears

There were also two sacks full of tiger pelts, as well as a stuffed tiger head and four deer heads.

Police officers said the suspect, Feri, had already lined up buyers and was planning to sell the hides for at least Rp 10 million ($1,100) each.

The seizure came a day after Greenpeace Indonesia reported that the Sumatran tiger was disappearing from the wild at a rate of around 51 animals a year.

Additional reporting from Antara

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Indonesia: It’s Either Orangutans or Cheap Palm Oil

Jakarta Globe 12 Aug 12;

When four men were sentenced to eight months in jail in March for the “murder” of orangutans, it was the first time that people associated with Indonesia’s booming palm oil industry were convicted for killing man’s close relations in the primate family.

Conservationists were not happy with the “light” sentences handed down by the court in Kutai Kertanegara district, East Kalimantan, on March 18, to Imam Muktarom, Mujianto, Widiantoro and Malaysian national Phuah Cuan Pun.

“As expected, the sentences were light, much lighter than what the prosecutors demanded. Such punishments will not bring any change to the situation of orangutans,” Fian Khairunnissa, an activist of the Centre for Orangutan Protection, told IPS.

Indonesia’s courts have generally looked the other way as the palm oil industry relentlessly decimated orangutans by destroying vast swathes of Southeast Asia’s rainforests to convert them into oil palm plantations.

In April, a court in Banda Aceh dismissed a case filed by the Indonesia Environmental Forum (Walhi) against Kallista Alam, one of five palm oil firms operating in Tripa, and Irwandi Yusuf, the former governor of Aceh, for the conversion of 1,600 hectares of carbon-rich peat forests into palm oil plantations.

The court admonished Walhi, saying it should have sought an out-of-court settlement with Kallista Alam — which never paused clearing its 1,600-hectare concession, granted in August 2011.

Mysteriously, just before the Walhi case was to be heard in court, numerous fires broke out in the Tripa peat swamps, including in the concession granted to Kallista Alam.

Community leaders in Tripa point out that the concessions fly in the face of a presidential moratorium on new permits to clear primary forests, effective in Indonesia since last year as part of a billion dollar deal with Norway to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“The issuance of a license to Kallista is a crime, because it changes the Leuser ecosystem and peat land forests into business concessions,” said Kamarudin, a Tripa community spokesman

The Leuser Ecosystem, in the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, covers more than 2.6 million hectares of prime tropical rain forest and is the last place on earth where Sumatran sub-species of elephants, rhinoceros, tigers and orangutans coexist.

The survival of orangutans, a “keystone species,” is critical for the well-being of other animals and plants with which they coexist in a habitat.

A statement released in June by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme estimated that there are now only 200 of the red-haired great apes left in Tripa compared to about 2,000 in 1990 and said their situation was now ‘desperate’ as result of the fires and clearing operations carried out by palm oil companies.

During the last five years, the oil palm business has emerged as a major force in the Indonesian economy, with an investment value of close five billion dollars on eight million hectares.

Indonesia plans to increase crude palm oil production from the current 23.2 million tons this year to 28.4 million tons by 2014. This calls for an 18.7 percent increase in plantation area, according to Indonesia’s agriculture ministry.

But the price of the planned expansion would be further shrinkage of orangutan habitat by 1.6 million hectares because oil companies find it cheaper to burn forests and chase away or kill the orangutans.

“If you find orangutans in palm oil plantations, they are not coming there from somewhere else… they are in their own homes that have been changed into plantations,” said Linda Yuliani, a researcher at the Center for International Forestry Research.

“But plantation company people see the orangutans as the encroachers,” she said. “Confused orangutans can often be seen wandering in plantations, and with their habitat gone, they forage on young palm trees,” she said.

A joint survey by 19 organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, WWF and the Association of Primate Experts, found that some 750 orangutans died during 2008-2009, mostly because of conflict with human beings.

It has not mattered that Indonesia is one of the signatories to the Convention on Illegal Trade and Endangered Species, which classifies orangutans under Appendix I, which lists species identified as currently endangered, or in danger of extinction.

“Clearing peat land also releases huge volumes of carbon dioxide, similar to amounts released during volcanic eruptions,” Willie Smits, a Dutch conservationist who works on orangutan protection, told IPS.

Reckless clearing of peat swamp forests has already turned Indonesia into the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, after the United States and China.

“The government may earn some money from oil palm investment, but there are far bigger losses from environmental destruction,” said Elfian Effendi, director of Greenomics Indonesia. “There is a multiplied effect on the local economy and loss of biodiversity.”

But, even to some conservationists, stopping the oil palm business in Indonesia — which feeds a vast range of industries from fast food and cosmetics to biodiesel — is impractical.

“What is needed is enforcement of schemes that allow the palm oil business and orangutans to co-exist,” Resit Rozer, a Dutch conservationist who runs a sanctuary for rescued orangutans, told IPS.

Palm oil companies that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a convention to encourage importers to buy only RSPO-certified CPO, see no advantage in the scheme that requires them to set aside a forest block for orangutans within plantations and provide safe corridors for the apes to move from one spot to another.

“US. and several European countries still buy non-certified CPO as the RSPO certificate does not guarantee purchase,” Rozer told IPS. “The West told us to practice environmentally-sound business, but they do not buy RSPO-certified CPO because implementation has been delayed till 2015,” Rozer said.

“For companies that have invested in RSPO certification, the delay has been a heavy blow. They feel cheated,” said Rozer who helps palm oil companies in creating orangutan refuges and corridors.

Inter Press Service

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Malaysia: Oil Palm planters 'not killing off wildlife'

Roy Goh New Straits Times 12 Aug 12;

ENFORCEMENT: Sabah has always been proactive in monitoring wildlife and enforcing laws against poachers

KOTA KINABALU: THERE are no tigers or tapirs in Sabah but the authorities have been blamed for failing to act against those who killed these animals in the wild.

They have also been accused of covering up the deaths of 300 orang utans killed by oil palm planters in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary because they were paid big sums of money by the industry.

The series of allegations by British-based Nature Alert undermined efforts by the state Wildlife Department as well as non-governmental organisations who dedicate their life to wildlife conservation.

On top of that, in most of the allegations made through statements that were sent via the Internet to media organisations, photographs of injured orang utans in Indonesia were used to accompany the articles about Sabah.

State Wildlife director Dr Laurentius Ambu said the state has always been proactive in monitoring wildlife and enforcing laws against poachers.

"The illegal killing of critically endangered species such as orang utans has become a rarity in Sabah.

"We would be more than happy to work hand-in-hand with organisations such as Traffic (the wildlife trade monitoring network) and hope that they would share any evidence regarding poaching or even trade of orang utans in Sabah.

"We will definitely take action and prosecute the culprits," added Laurentius who also pointed out that allegations that 300 orang utans were killed due to the expansion of oil palm plantations in Lower Kinabatangan was not true.

"The fact that the 25,000ha sanctuary has been totally protected since 2002 is direct testimony of the falsehood of this baseless allegation."

Dr Marc Ancrenaz of Hutan, a French-based NGO working in Sabah for the past 12 years, stressed; "The idea that 300 orang utans were killed or poached by people whether from the oil palm plantations or by hunters is preposterous."

"Through one of our first projects that Hutan initiated, we trained more than 50 villagers and they are now permanently monitoring wildlife activities in the sanctuary.

"If 300 orang utans had been illegally killed in oil palm plantations, we would know it," Ancrenaz said.

Dr Sen Nathan, senior field veterinarian for the Sabah Wildlife Department, said since 1991, more than 400 orang utans had been rescued and translocated from areas earmarked for agricultural conversion to protected forest reserves.

"This, however, has become a rarity because of greater awareness on the importance of the conservation of orang utans.

"We strongly advise our critics to come to Sabah and see for themselves how much the Sabah Wildlife Department and partners are doing towards wildlife conservation," suggested Nathan.

"Rather than constantly criticising the conservation efforts of orang utan in Sabah why not work together as I do believe our ultimate goal is to save this species," he said.

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Malaysia: Haze worsens in Penang

The Star 12 Aug 12;

GEORGE TOWN: The haze, which enveloped several areas in Penang over the last few days, has worsened with higher Air Pollutant Index (API) reading and reduced visibility.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee Chairman, Phee Boon Poh said moderate API readings of 76 to 96 were recorded up to 11am Sunday compared to only 64 to 94 at 5pm Saturday.

"Sumatra has more than 200 hotspots that can catch fire during hot weather. Monsoon winds blow the smoke over the border to Peninsular Malaysia," he told Bernama here Sunday.

Seberang Jaya recorded reading of 96 with 2km visibility, Perai 85 with 6km visibility and Bayan Lepas 68 with 4km visibility.

The API readings were recorded from 7am to 11am. Phee said the situation is expected to improve next week as rainfall is expected in several areas in Penang.

"Residents must avoid the rain as it may be acidic and harmful to health, reduce recreational activities, use public transport and drink plenty of water," he added.

API reading of 0-50 is categorised as good, 51-100 moderate, 101-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy and over 300 hazardous. - Bernama

Air quality worsens in northern states
Hafiz Marzukhi, Andrea Filmer and Embun Majid The Star 13 Aug 12;

GEORGE TOWN: Residents in Kedah and Penang are getting worried for their health after the air quality in the states began to worsen since last week.

Checks revealed that the number of hotspots in Sumatra had increased by three-folds which contributed to the haze in the two states.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) readings surpassed 100 at the start of the day while the mainland side of Penang was getting closer to the dreaded mark.

A check with the Department of Environment website revealed that the API readings in Alor Setar was 108 at 11am compared to 104 at 7am.

The Universiti Sains Malaysia station on the island recorded an API reading of 76 at 7am before rising to 78 at 11am yesterday.

In Bayan Lepas, visibility was at 4km from 7am and held steady throughout the day.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng called on the Department of Environment (DOE) to act against those who are found to conduct open burning.

Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment chairman Phee Boon Poh advised the public to be careful of acid rain since the weather forecast showed that Penang would be facing rainy days in isolated areas starting from today and would continue throughout the week.

Meanwhile, DOE said the number of hotspots in Sumatra had increased from 88 on Friday to 239 on Saturday.

It attributed the situation to the uncontrolled open burning in central Sumatra.

This had resulted in the haze crossing the border and causing the air quality in the west coast of the peninsula to deteriorate, it said in a statement.

The department said three areas with unhealthy API levels were Port Klang, with a reading at 117 as at 11am, followed by Alor Setar (108) and Kangar (103).

Haze blankets Trang
The National 12 Aug 12;

Haze from forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and southern provinces has been covering all 10 districts of Trang province.

Apart from the forest fire on Sumatra Island, fires in the peat swamp forests in the neighbouring provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Patthalung have also caused smog in Trang to be thicker, Amnuay Chantarat of Trang disaster prevention and mitigation office said on Sunday.

As the ongoing smog gripping this southern province has caused poor visibility, Amnuay warned drivers and motorists to be more careful when driving.

To prevent possible accidents, small trawlers in local fishing fleets were advised to operate their fishing activities during the late morning, he said. The thinck smogs have blanketed in the early morning and the evening.

In addition, persons having health problems were advised to refrain from outdoor exercises and activities during this period while residents were instructed to wear masks or cover their noses with wet cloths in order to prevent smog-related ailments.

In related development, the ongoing smog has worsened air quality in the lower South while the dust particles in Songkhla was at 135 microgrammes/cubic metre, exceeding the safety standard of 120 microgrammes/cubic metre, according to the Environment office Region 16 Songkhla.

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Appearance of El Nino set to spark drier weather in Malaysia

Martin Carvalho The Star 13 Aug 12;

PETALING JAYA: With the world weather experts warning of the start of the El Nino phenomenon over the Pacific Ocean, authorities here are bracing for the possibility of Malaysia experiencing drier conditions in the coming months.

The unpredictable changes in weather patterns and rainfall due to the phenomenon were responsible for dams, rivers and canals drying up in Johor and the northern states of the penin- sula as well as Sabah two years ago.

It was linked to the haze which enveloped the country in 1997-1998 due to the dry and hot spell.

The phenomenon was also said to have been the cause of the massive flooding in the southern peninsula in 2006 and 2007.

The Metrological Department’s weather forecast centre director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said weather models have indicated the start of the El Nino phenome- non between August and September.

“The weather models show the start of a weak El Nino which is expected to begin within the next two months. Overall, the presence of a weak El Nino is expected to have minimal impact on rainfall here,” he said in an interview.

However, he noted the warming of the Pacific Ocean during the phenomenon would last between nine to 18 months. And depending on the severity of conditions, the warming could result in unusual rainfall patterns affecting certain parts of the world.

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UN chief launches new initiative to protect oceans

ByJung Ha-Won (AFP) Google News 11 Aug 12;

YEOSU, South Korea — The UN chief on Sunday announced an initiative to protect oceans from pollution and over-fishing and to combat rising sea levels which threaten hundreds of millions of the world's people.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the "Oceans Compact" initiative sets out a strategic vision for the UN system to more effectively tackle the "precarious state" of the world's seas.

Ban highlighted the "grave threat" from pollution, excessive fishing and global warming.

"Our oceans are heating and expanding," he said in a speech to a conference marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"We risk irrevocable changes in processes that we barely comprehend, such as the great currents that affect weather patterns.

"Ocean acidification (from absorbed carbon emissions) is eating into the very basis of our ocean life; and sea level rise threatens to re-draw the global map at the expense of hundreds of millions of the world's most vulnerable people."

The UN chief, who also called for action to curb piracy and irregular sea migration, said he hoped for progress towards a legally binding framework to combat "runaway climate change" at a UN conference in Doha in November.

But action could also be taken now.

Ban said the Compact was aimed at "improving the health of the oceans" and strengthening their management through an action plan to be overseen by a high-level advisory group.

This would be made up of senior policymakers, scientists and ocean experts, representatives from the private sector and civil society and leaders of the UN organisations involved.

The UN chief said his initiative would also support implementation of the Law of the Sea treaty, which came into force in 1994.

He called the treaty one of the world's "most significant legal instruments" and a tool for sustainable development which all nations should ratify.

"It contributes to international peace and security, the equitable and efficient use of ocean resources, the protection and preservation of the marine environment and the realisation of a just and equitable economic order."

The United States is the only major power not to have signed the convention. Republicans in the Senate contend it would undermine US sovereignty and are blocking ratification.

"The world's oceans are key to sustaining life on the planet," Ban said in his introduction to the Oceans Compact.

Among other objectives, the Compact aims to protect the world's people from ocean degradation and natural hazards such as tsunamis, from over-fishing and from pollution by land and sea activities.

It calls for countries most at risk from rising sea levels to develop plans to mitigate the threat, and for vulnerable regions to have tsunami warning systems.

By 2025, all countries should set national targets to curb nutrients, marine debris and wastewater.

The Compact calls for renewed efforts to curb illegal fishing, rebuild fish stocks and halt the spread of invasive alien species.

By 2020, it says, at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas should be subject to conservation measures.

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Urban disasters spotlight strain on Asian cities

Daniel Rook (AFP) Google News 12 Aug 12;

BANGKOK — Deadly floods, power blackouts and traffic gridlock -- many of Asia's biggest cities are buckling under the strain of rapid economic development, extreme weather and an exodus from the countryside.

Poor strategic planning, paltry investment in infrastructure and a lack of political will have also left the region's overcrowded metropolises highly vulnerable to the pressures of climate change, experts say.

Over the past year Bangkok and Manila have been hit by the most devastating floods in decades, while India recently suffered the world's worst-ever power blackout due to surging demand from industry, homes and offices.

It is a situation that is increasingly out of step with growing affluence in Asia, where millions of people escape from poverty every year but face a return to third-world conditions when disaster strikes.

Many Asian cities are "lagging behind in infrastructure provision, whether we talk about sewers, roads or electricity supplies," said Professor Sun Sheng Han, an urban planning expert at Australia's University of Melbourne.

At the heart of the problem lies a lack of vision in a region where urban development policies reflect a mixture of "political goals and economic ambitions," he told AFP.

In the Thai capital Bangkok, years of aggressive groundwater extraction to meet the growing needs of its factories and 12 million inhabitants have taken a heavy toll.

Yet despite warnings the city -- built on swampland and slowly sinking -- risks being below sea level in half a century from now, a building boom shows no sign of abating with apartment towers mushrooming around the city.

Rapid urbanisation that blocks natural waterways and neglected drainage systems are also seen as major factors behind the deadly floods that have battered the Philippine capital Manila this month.

On the outskirts of Manila, vital forested areas have been destroyed to make way for housing developments catering to growing middle and upper classes.

Within the city, squatters -- attracted by economic opportunities -- often build shanties on river banks, storm drains and canals, dumping garbage and impeding the flow of waterways.

But perhaps nowhere are the challenges more stark than in India, where a two-day power blackout across half the country last month left more than 600 million people without supplies as high demand overwhelmed the grid.

Yet even now, only 30 percent of India's 1.2-billion population live in cities, far lower than the 50.6 percent in China or the 70-80 percent in developed countries, according to a UN report released last year.

It forecasts India's urban population will grow by 60 percent from its current level of 377 million, to 606 million, by 2030.

As air conditioners, microwave ovens, washing machines and other electrical items become increasingly popular with the country's burgeoning middle class, the strains on the power sector are expected to increase.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute research centre, India also needs 350-400 kilometres (around 250 miles) of new metros and subways a year and 19,000-25,000 kilometres of roads.

Mumbai -- with 20,000 inhabitants per square kilometre -- is one of the world's most densely populated cities.

Its packed suburban trains are estimated to carry seven million people every day, and each year more than 3,000 people are killed on the railway network, sometimes falling from open doors or hit while crossing the tracks.

"The rush hour is the biggest issue. There are times it's so crowded, it's difficult to breathe," said Sudhir Gadgil, 62, an office assistant in Mumbai's southern business district, whose commute to work by train takes 1.5 hours.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, the capital Dhaka is facing the worst transport infrastructure problems in its history.

Soon after taking over in January 2009, the government promised to tackle the crisis with an array of ambitious rail, bus and road projects, but most are still in the design stage.

"Dhaka already is a moribund city. It's dying fast and I see no hope how we can save it," said Shamsul Haq, the country's top transport expert and a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

Traffic jams are by no means unique to Dhaka, however, and in many teeming cities the prospect of abandoning city life altogether is becoming increasingly appealing for some frustrated residents.

In Jakarta, ranked bottom of 23 cities in Frost & Sullivan's 2011 global commuter satisfaction survey, experts predict that given its ageing bus network and lack of train system, the capital will reach total gridlock by 2014.

"If it doesn't change in the next five years, I'm moving to Bali for a more peaceful life," freelance writer Dian Agustino told AFP in one of the city's shopping malls.

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