Best of our wild blogs: 27 Aug 14

Dunman High begins a fourth year of sharing about our shores
from wild shores of singapore

Vinous-breasted Starling at Pasir Ris Park
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Flowers and Trees the Best of Both Worlds
from News from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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Journey towards a greener port

Melissa De Silva The Straits Times AsiaOne 27 AUg 14;

SINGAPORE - With 17 years in the maritime industry under his belt, Mr Eugene Khoo, 49, holds two port- folios at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

The larger Project Director (Next Generation Port) portfolio includes overseeing Phase 1 of the Tuas terminal project, which should be ready in about 10 years.

He works with various ministries, government agencies and tertiary institutions to help bring together the operating, engineering and information technology systems into an integrated whole for the development of this port.

Part of this task involves coordinating schedules and ensuring budgets and plans are on track.

His other portfolio, that of Senior Assistant Director (Tuas Port Development), involves overseeing the project management of the Tuas terminal Phases 1 and 2 reclamation projects.

It requires working with appointed international consultants to carry out the engineering design works for wharf construction, reclamation and dredging, among other tasks.

"Together with our consultants, my job also involves managing appointed international contractors," says Mr Khoo, who joined PSA Corp immediately after he obtained his civil engineering degree from the National University of Singapore in 1989.

"Right now at Tuas, we are doing preparation work for reclamation. Because it will be a port, we must dredge out seabed material, to deepen channels for ships," he says.

Due to concerns about environmental sustainability and a commitment to being a green port, a containment bund is being built.

"This is so that when materials are thrown out during the later stages of dredging and reclamation next year, the materials disposed from dredging and contained within the bund and the water outside the bund will not be polluted," he says.

After leaving PSA Corp to pursue full-time MBA studies in 2000, he returned to work on the development of Pasir Panjang terminal Phases 3 and 4 as a private engineering consultant with Surbana International Consultants in 2005. He joined the MPA in 2010.

He says: "Even after so many years, I am still excited about working in this industry.

"In land-scarce Singapore, our future port lands will have to be reclaimed over deeper waters of more than 20m deep.

"Building a deep-water port will dredge out seabed material, which will be recycled into reclamation filling as a sustainable development initiative for a greener port in Singapore."

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Sustainability a key driver in maritime industry
Melissa De Silva The Straits Times AsiaOne 27 Aug 14;

SINGAPORE - The Singapore maritime industry's aim to achieve sustainability has led to a number of key green initiatives in recent years.

The Maritime Singapore Green Initiative launched by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in April 2011 was among them, aimed at reducing the environmental stresses of shipping-related activities.

Three programmes come under the umbrella of the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative: the Green Ship Programme, Green Port Programme and Green Technology Programme.

The Green Technology Programme is geared to boost the adoption of eco-friendly technologies among local maritime companies through co-funding, with $25 million being reserved for it.

A $100 million Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund has also been created by the MPA to support research and development of green maritime technology.

The MPA also works in partnership with the industry and other stakeholders to reduce the environmental impact of shipping and port activities by enacting measures to protect the marine environment.

Said an MPA spokesman: "A little-known fact is that Singapore's waters, despite being home to one of the busiest ports in the world, are also home to more than 250 species of hard corals, a quarter of the world's species.

"Two-thirds of the true mangrove plant species in Asia are also found in local waters. As a result, managing the environmental impact of shipping is a priority, even as the port is developed to meet economic targets."

Efforts include conducting studies to understand environmental impact, regulatory measures to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and incentives for environmentally responsible practices.

Another trajectory of promoting greener shipping is a joint industry project between MPA and DNV Technology Centre to assess the market for environmentally friendly liquefied natural gas as marine fuel as an alternative to marine fuel oil and marine gas oil.

Added the spokesman: "The mega terminal at Tuas, which will consolidate all existing container operations when it opens in about 10 years, is also being designed with sustainability in mind."

Some of the potential new technologies and processes for Tuas, including green port technologies, are already being tested under the Port Technology Research and Development Programme, launched by the MPA and PSA in April 2011.

One such unique idea was proposed by the winning team for the Next Generation Port Challenge in 2012, from the National University of Singapore, Shanghai Maritime University and Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries.

Named the Singa (Sustainable Integrated Next Generation Advanced) port, it involves an innovative double-storey container port concept that promises higher performance and productivity through sustainable means.

To find out more about Maritime Singapore and the careers it offers, visit: www.maritime

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Would MSO help with monkey issues?

Linette Heng The New Paper AsiaOne 27 Aug 14;

New body to coordinate public feedback.

Remember that saga over the fishball stick near Bukit Gombak MRT station?

That saga was not actually a unique incident.

Housewife Vicky Chong, 49, regularly jogs at the Bukit Batok Nature Park and when she spots litter, she picks it up.

Occasionally she reports cases on the National Environment Agency's (NEA) website.

A few months ago, she noticed litter all over a bus stop in Upper Bukit Timah Road and the carpark at Bukit Batok Nature Park.

The culprits were monkeys who ransack the bins.

As it was a litter-related issue, Madam Chong sent an e-mail to the NEA and suggested replacing the bins with the monkey-proof ones that are used in the park.

Not so easily done, she found out.

The carpark is managed by NEA, the bus stop by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the park by the National Parks Board (NParks).

Madam Chong's feedback is not rare.

It is estimated that 10 to 15 per cent of feedback the Government receives involves multiple agencies, is directed to the wrong agency, or involves a solution where the agency responsible is not immediately obvious.

That is why Madam Chong supports the new municipal services office, she said in a letter published in the Straits Times Forum page last Friday.

The idea of the Municipal Services Office (MSO) was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally.


It aims to improve the Government's overall coordination and delivery of municipal services, said the Ministry of National Development (MND).

MSO will be housed within MND.

Ms Grace Fu, who will oversee MSO, said it will be set up on Oct 1.

Ms Fu is a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

The MSO will not replace the feedback management functions of government agencies and town councils and it will help them resolve municipal issues especially in cases where multiple agencies are involved.

For a start, the MSO will work with eight agencies: the People's Association, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, the Housing and Development Board, the LTA, the NEA, NParks, Public Utilities Board and the Singapore Police Force.

Ms Fu will be also studying the feedback mechanism loop to ensure its efficiency, reported the Straits Times online yesterday.

"Whatever we do right now we have to make sure it's most convenient for members of public and that it doesn't create another layer, it doesn't delay the process," Ms Fu told reporters before flagging off the One Community Walk at Yuhua Constituency yesterday.

Madam Chong hopes the feedback process will be streamlined.

She said: "I'm not frustrated now that I know that respective agencies will be looking into the matter. I'm just wondering when this issue will be solved."

Tin Pei Ling, MP for Marine Parade GRC

"It's usually issues with cleanliness. Depending on where a piece of litter falls, different agencies could be involved.

"If it falls near a drain, it could be the duty of the Public Utilities Board. If it falls near the a grass patch near the drain, it could be the National Environment Agency (NEA).

"Usually, I would just ask the town council for help and they would do it out of goodwill.

"It really annoys people when they see rubbish lying around for a few days, because they expect a clean and green place. A one-stop portal would be helpful as a lay person might not know which agency would be best."

Baey Yam Keng, MP for Tampines GRC

"There is a long strip of land the size of a few football fields between Tampines Street 45 and the Tampines Expressway.

"Last year, during the peak of the dengue period, residents complained that it was a potential mosquito breeding spot and messy with overgrowth.

"The area nearest to the HDB flats is managed by the town council, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) manages the area near the expressway.

"There are trees so NParks is involved as well, and as it is state land - the Singapore Land Authority.

"Currently, there may be some discrepancies and disagreements (between agencies). There is a merry-go-round, residents are confused and things are not solved, which is a pity."

Zaqy Mohamad, MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC

"There was a case of monkey spotting which involved many agencies at one time because these animals don't just stay at one spot.

"If they are spotted at a HDB estate, the town council is involved. Elsewhere, in the forest, either Mindef or Agri-food and Veterinary Authority, depending on which part of the forest.

"I see a number of such cases involving multiple agencies. There is no wrong door policy, but it could also be a revolving door especially when they get caught in the web of regulations.

"Over the years, with experience, you will realise which is the right agency to approach. When more than one agency is involved, getting them on the same table helps to resolve the issue. At the management level, there is a commitment to resolve the issue."

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Malaysia: Tiger Valley project to proceed as planned

simon khoo The Star 27 Aug 14;

TEMERLOH: After an initial delay, the RM45mil Tiger Valley project in Lanchang – to house rescued tigers – will proceed as planned.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said that under the first phase, the perimeter fencing was currently being erected around the 200-acre site.

However, it would take slightly longer for the project to be fully completed and opened to the public, he added.

“Initially, we faced some problems acquiring land but the state government has already sorted this out with the villagers and land owners last year.

“Now, we are waiting for the necessary allocation from the Treasury to be released under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

“Regular discussions will be held with the state government on how to develop the area into an eco-tourism hub by introducing additional activities to bring in more visitors,” he said after a working visit to the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah and the Biodiversity Institute near here.

Palanivel, who is also the Cameron Highlands MP, said that upon completion, the site would accommodate tigers of the panthera tigris jacksoni species, commonly known as Malayan tigers. These tigers, rescued from the wild after running into conflict with humans, would be placed in the new home and open for public viewing, he added.

“We are also looking into transferring some tigers from the rescue centre in Sungkai, similar to the relocation of rescued elephants to Kuala Gandah for rehabilitation,” he said.

He said he was told that 15 rescued tigers, including 10 females, were being looked after in Sungkai, adding that other animals such as seladang had also been rescued and placed under the care of Perhilitan.

Palanivel said he would discuss with the Prime Minister for additional allocation to carry out preservation and conservation efforts nationwide.

Malaysia, he added, had been blessed with natural resources, flora and fauna, including limestone caves and millions of acres of forested areas, and there must be efforts to maintain this for future generations and as tourist attractions.

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