Best of our wild blogs: 18 Apr 14

Sentosa is alive
from wild shores of singapore

Still lots of dead fishes at Sungei Buloh
from wild shores of singapore

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NParks staff find dead fish at Sungei Buloh reserve

Kok Xing Hui Today Online 18 Apr 14;

SINGAPORE — Scores of dead fish have been found again — this time at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve near the West Johor Straits.

The mysterious deaths come two months after 160 tonnes of fish from fish farms on both the East and West Johor Straits were found dead and washed up at parks and on beaches. Low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, a plankton bloom or both, as well as the hot weather, had been fingered as the cause then.

A plankton bloom was, however, not detected yesterday, said a joint statement from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the National Parks Board (NParks) in response to TODAY’s queries.

NParks staff noticed the dead fish in the morning. When AVA inspectors visited coastal fish farms in the West Johor Straits, none were found to have been affected. The inspectors also did not detect abnormalities there, such as mass mortalities.

The AVA said it is monitoring the situation closely, while NParks said it would be removing the dead fish at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

The authorities did not give an estimate of the number of dead fish in the area.

The AVA also said it conducts regular inspections of fish farms for compliance with licensing conditions, which include requiring the farms to ensure waste generated from farming operations is properly disposed in approved waste containers on land.

For the West Johor Straits, a skip tank and bins at Lim Chu Kang Jetty are designated as waste collection points.

“The AVA has been working closely with local farmers to encourage good farm practices, including proper waste management. In addition, we work with relevant agencies to detect illegal dumping of waste into the sea by fish farms. We will take enforcement action if farms are found to be disposing their farm waste into the water,” said the AVA. Kok Xing Hui

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Land transport must be improved in sustainable way: Lui

Joy Fang Today Online 18 Apr 14;

SINGAPORE — A healthy breakfast for employees who arrive in the office before 8am on the last Friday of every month, new bicycle lots, staggered work hours and telecommuting — these are some initiatives BP Singapore has rolled out at its workplace, aimed at shifting travel patterns and promoting sustainable transport modes.

Last night, the oil giant was among three organisations to receive the inaugural Best Green Transport Partner Award at the fourth biennial Land Transport Excellence Awards. The other two winners were IBM Singapore, which promotes early commute on public transport, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which introduced a Work-Away-From-Office scheme to encourage staff to work from home on selected days.

Speaking at the event, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said it was important to improve the land transport system in a sustainable manner to meet Singapore’s long-term needs, while work is under way to resolve current problems in land transport. “I recognise that there are many shortcomings today, and I empathise with the frustrations of commuters who have to contend with crowded buses, trains and stations, and whose schedules are sometimes disrupted when trains break down,” he said.

Mr Lui said commuters should see more improvements in the rail network starting this year as new trains arrive, even though the authorities cannot promise zero defects and breakdowns, but are sparing no effort to minimise them.

“We are moving in the right direction — indeed train breakdowns have come down in overall numbers since 2012 — but we know that we must and we can do better. We aim to have our trains perform even better this year, and make further improvements in the years to come,” he added.

For the land transport system to be sustainable, the public must be encouraged to shift from private to public transport and to other sustainable modes of travel such as cycling and walking, Mr Lui said.

To support those who cycle to the office, BP said it has worked with its landlord to install 10 bicycle lots near the car park for employees to park their bikes. In-house shower facilities are also provided. Ms Rosie Danyluk, Communications and Executive Office Manager of BP Singapore, said the firm believes flexible working arrangements raise productivity and contribute to a climate of trust and empowerment at the workplace.

Twenty-seven individuals and organisations received awards in 16 categories yesterday. In his speech, Mr Lui also paid tribute to Public Transport Council (PTC) Chairman Gerard Ee, who won the Transport Thought Leader award.

Mr Lui pointed out that under Mr Ee’s stewardship, the PTC has established a robust framework to regulate bus and train fares, and keep fares affordable for general commuters.

Mr Lui, who noted that Mr Ee is known for his charitable efforts, said, “I am therefore particularly appreciative that Gerard has been intimately involved in the transport sector for many years, as he brings a softer, a warmer, more compassionate and gentler touch to the sector.”

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Number of high-risk dengue areas drops by 40%

Ng Lian Cheong Channel NewsAsia 17 Apr 14;

SINGAPORE: The number of high-risk dengue areas dropped by 40 per cent in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

Any area with more than 10 dengue cases is considered high-risk.

According to the National Environment Agency website, there are seven high-risk areas in Singapore as of Thursday.

The worst is in Compassvale, in Sengkang, which has 139 reported cases.

Despite the drop in the number of dengue cases, one doctor said precautions must still be taken.

Dr Leong Hoe Nam, the medical director of Rophi Clinic, said: "I think this is a transient effect. There are certain times of the year, particularly this time of the year, when the number of dengue cases will fall.

"I think it's also because the citizens of Singapore are more aware of dengue risks and how to control the spread of dengue infection by controlling mosquito (breeding)."

- CNA/ac

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Indonesia Coral Reefs 30% Damaged: Study

ID/Leonard A.L Cahyoputra and SP/Ari Rikin Jakarta Globe 17 Apr 14;

Jakarta. A new study by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences [LIPI] indicates that 30 percent of Indonesia’s coral reefs have been depleted by ocean acidification, overfishing and earthquakes.

Zainal Arifin, head of Oceanography Research Center at LIPI said the 2013 research showed 30.4 percent out of 1,135 locations were damaged. Only 5.29 percent were classified as being in a very good condition, 27.14 percent were in good condition and 37.18 were “fairly good.”

“We are striving to minimize damaged reefs through our Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (Coremap),” he said on Thursday.

The center is still conducting an examination in 15 districts across the country. Eight are in the western Indonesia — Central Tapanuli, Nias, South Nias, Mentawai, Natuna, Riau Islands, Lingga and Batam. While seven are in the central and eastern part of the country; Pangkajane Island, Selayar, Wakatobi, Sikka, Biak, Numfor and Raja Ampat.

Suharsono, a senior researcher at LIPI, said El Nino and global warming had a large part to play in the slow destruction of Indonesia’s reefs. More than half of the world’s coastal coral reefs are located in the Indian Ocean.

“Our research showed that coral reefs in Indonesia can recover within seven to eight years — different from Hawaii and the Caribbean where recovery can take 30 years,” Suharsono said.

30.4 percent of Indonesia`s coral reefs damaged: LIPI
Antara 17 Apr 14;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), through the Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (COREMAP), stated 30.4 percent of Indonesias coral reefs are damaged and will have an impact on public welfare.

Head of LIPIs Research Center for Oceanography Zainal Arifin in a press release issued here on Thursday said his team was conducting intensive and repeated observation projects in 15 districts.

"We are observing coral reefs in eight districts in western Indonesia and seven districts in central and eastern Indonesia," he added.

A LIPI researcher, Giyanto, noted that the eight districts being observed in western Indonesia are Central Tapanuli, Nias, South Nias, Mentawai, Natuna, Riau Islands, Lingga and Batam.

"The seven districts of central and eastern Indonesia include Pangkajene Islands (Pangkep), Selayar, Wakatobi, Sikka, Biak Numfor and Raja Ampat," he added.

Giyanto added that despite a decrease in living coral cover in Nias and Mentawai, the observation results from 2004 to 2011 indicated that coral reefs in the western part of Indonesia showed an increase of four percent per year.

The decrease in living coral reef cover in Nias and Mentawai was due to the earthquake and tsunami in 2004.

Therefore, the condition of coral reefs in central and eastern Indonesia is not too different from that of coral reefs in western Indonesia.

Although coral reefs in Biak have historically been on the decline, the observation results showed an increase of three percent per year.

The decrease in living coral reef cover in Biak was due to the hurricane in 2009 and the bleaching of the corals in Biaks water due to the rising sea temperature in 2010.

Another researcher from the Research Center for Oceanography, LIPI, Deny Hidayati, who is a member of COREMAP, explained that the effort to rescue all the living coral reefs is not limited to observation, but it also requires the development of coastal and marine education and research.

"We hope that education and research will increase public awareness to save the living coral reefs in Indonesia," said Deny.

Translated by: Maria Rosari (M048/INE/F001)


Editor: Suryanto

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