Best of our wild blogs: 25 Apr 15

Operation WE (coastal) Clean Up @ Lim Chu Kang Beach!
News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

Berlayar Creek with special star and long driftnet
wild shores of singapore

24 Apr 2015: Long driftnet at Berlayar Creek
Project Driftnet Singapore

Young NTUC CROSSROADS: 30 April, 7.30pm
Green Drinks Singapore

Destination Singapore: A Birder’s Gateway to the Jungles of Southeast Asia – Part 2
Singapore Bird Group

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Singapore agencies conduct oil and chemical spill response exercise

Channel NewsAsia 24 Apr 15;

SINGAPORE: To test Singapore's readiness to tackle oil and chemical spills, a multi-agency joint exercise was held in waters off Jurong Island on Friday (Apr 24).

The exercise, code-named JOSE 2015, involved a tabletop management exercise and the deployment of full-scale oil and chemical spill response equipment, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a news release on Friday.

The exercise, organised by MPA, had more than 180 personnel from various agencies responding to a simulated collision between a Very Large Crude Carrier and a chemical tanker 4.5km south of Jurong Island.

Participants had to combat oil and chemical pollution due to the simulated spillage of 5,000 tonnes of oil and damages on both vessels.

They sent out equipment such as oil containment booms, specialised skimmers, 22 anti-pollution craft and and an aircraft fitted with a dispersant-spraying system. They also deployed a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that could provide aerial footage for better situational awareness on the ground, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of clean-up operations.

“This exercise not only tests multi-agency responsiveness and co-operation, it also allows us to share best practices and leverage the latest technology to manage the spill,” said Mr Andrew Tan, MPA’s Chief Executive.

About 40 delegates from the International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference and Exhibition (ICOPCE) 2015 observed the oil and chemical spill exercise. The event was held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week.

- CNA/xq/dl

Singapore showcases response capabilities at multi-agency oil spill exercise
AsiaOne 24 Apr 15;

SINGAPORE - A multi-agency joint oil spill exercise was conducted today along Sudong Holding Anchorage to test and demonstrate Singapore's readiness to tackle oil and chemical spills.

Organised by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), this exercise rounds off the last day of the International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference and Exhibition 2015 (ICOPCE) held in conjunction with the 10th Singapore Maritime Week (SMW).

The exercise which is code-named JOSE 2015, had a full scale oil and chemical spill response equipment deployment. It was attended by 180 personnel from various agencies and about 40 delegates from the ICOPCE.

The exercise scenario involved a simulated collision between a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) and a chemical tanker. The VLCC suffered damages to two cargo tanks and some 5,000 tonnes of oil was spilled. Due to the impact of the collision, the chemical tanker sustained damage to the cargo tank cover on deck.

The exercise included responses to combat oil and chemical pollution from both the vessels and tested multi-agency responsiveness and co-operation.

The spill response teams deployed equipment such as oil containment booms, harbour busters and specialised skimmers.

In addition to the 22 anti-pollution craft, MPA also deployed an aircraft fitted with aerial dispersant spraying system to combat the spill and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that had the capability to provide aerial footages for better situational awareness on the ground and to monitor the effectiveness of the clean-up operations.

Mr Andrew Tan, MPA's Chief Executive, said, "Being one of the busiest ports in the world and the top bunkering port, we are reminded of the importance to be vigilant and ready to swiftly respond to any maritime incident, including oil and chemical spills."

He added: "This exercise not only tests multi-agency responsiveness and co-operation, it also allows us to share best practices and leverage the latest technology to manage the spill."

- See more at:

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NParks to continue monitoring stray dog situation at Yishun Park

Loke Kok Fai Channel NewsAsia 24 Apr 15;

SINGAPORE: Several stray dogs have been spotted in Yishun Park. Some of the park’s users have said the dogs usually keep to themselves, but others said the dogs could be aggressive on occasion.

“I come here around 5 to 6 pm. I would usually see about five or six of them. They do not bite people,” said one of them when Channel NewsAsia visited the park on Friday (Apr 24), following a call from a viewer who said she had been attacked by the dogs.

Another person said the dogs would chase him at times, so he would “just run faster”. A third described the dogs as gentle-looking and “not the types that attack people”.

While there, the news team found the dogs to be wary of humans, keeping their distance. The dogs were also seen eating from packets of food scattered throughout the park.

In response to Channel NewsAsia's queries, SPCA Singapore’s executive director, Ms Corrine Fong, said it is working with animal rights groups and the National Parks Board (NParks) to trap, rehabilitate and rehome these stray dogs.

Ms Fong added that SPCA hopes the authorities will not round up the dogs to cull them, but seek long-term solutions such as sterilising the stray dogs to control the population.

NParks said it has worked with animal welfare groups to rehome some of the stray dogs, and will continue to monitor the situation.

NParks added: "There are also signs in the park advising park users on how they should behave if they encounter stray dogs. Feeding of dogs is not allowed in the park and signs are installed to remind park users about this. Enforcement will be taken against those who are caught feeding."

- CNA/hs

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Malaysia To Raise Climate Change And Its Impact During ASEAN Summit

Chandravathani Sathasivam Bernama 24 Apr 15;

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will raise the issue of climate change and its impact on the region's socio-economy during the 26th ASEAN Summit, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

He said that this was important because Southeast Asia is one of the world's most vulnerable regions to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, typhoons, sea level rise and heat waves.

"To show our commitment and leadership, Malaysia hopes to sign a new agreement at the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties in Paris in December this year.

"This would emphasise the urgent need for ASEAN to enhance awareness among all member states to address the climate change issues," he told Bernama ahead of the ASEAN Summit slated for April 26 to 27 in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi.

Palanivel said that the new agreement would address four important pillars, namely adaptation, mitigation, finance and development, and transfer of technology, to promote sustainable development for a clean and green ASEAN.

Some environmental researchers want Malaysia to table a motion for a joint study among ASEAN countries on the global climate change and its impact, aimed at creating a platform of cooperation for ASEAN scientists.

Palanivel said that ASEAN face future challenges with extreme weather related events, that could impact food production and security, as well as hamper sustainable social and economic development.

"The ASEAN Summit will need to forge stronger and closer cooperation in the area of climate change adaptation to share knowledge and information. Furthermore, ASEAN member states also need to cooperate in disaster management to respond more effectively to extreme weather disasters," he noted.

On the proposal to include environment as the regional grouping's fourth community pillar, Palanivel said that the adoption would signal ASEAN's readiness to assume a more significant role in global environment and climate change governance.

"With a fourth pillar, ASEAN can become pro-active in addressing climate change and can be engaged more by civil society for a more transformative framework," he said.

ASEAN comprises 10 countries -- Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


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Chill in the air as Arctic nations meet

Jo Biddle AFP Yahoo News 25 Apr 15;

Arctic nations warned Friday of the dangers facing the environment and the peoples of the remote region, as it now also becomes a new flashpoint in global tensions with Russia.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as everywhere else on the globe and US officials last month said the Arctic sea ice had reached its lowest winter point since satellite observations began in the late 1970s.

While the polar melt is of major concern because of rising sea levels, it is also opening up new ocean trade routes, and offering the tantalizing promise of untapped offshore oil and gas fields in an energy-hungry world.

"One of the biggest challenges everybody has talked about today is climate change. The numbers are alarming -- and that's putting it mildly," US Secretary of State John Kerry told ministers as the United States took over from Canada as the chairman of the Arctic Council.

"As we take necessary steps to prepare for climate change, we also have a shared responsibility to do everything we can to slow its advance, and we cannot afford to take our eye off that ball."

He was meeting in the small northeastern Canadian town of Iqaluit, on Baffin Island, with other ministers from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.

The town, which grew up around a World War II US air base, now boasts a population of about 7,500, with more residents flocking to the remote region, drawn by work in iron ore and diamond mines.

The US is putting forward a framework action plan to rein in methane gas emissions and black carbon -- or soot -- created through such activities as gas flaring or oil exploration.

It would mark the first time that the Arctic Council has reached an accord to work together to mitigate the effects of climate change through regional action.

A framework accord on working to reduce black soot and methane "sends a hugely important message that climate change mitigation can be organized regionally as well as globally," said Alaskan fisherman Michael Stickman, chairman of the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC).

Kerry warned black carbon is up to 2,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, while methane gas escaping from thawing permafrost is 20 times more dangerous to the atmosphere than CO2.
- Russia tensions -

There are underlying tensions though, as Russia, under global sanctions due to its role in the conflict in Ukraine, begins to flex its muscles in the region.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not attend the meeting, with Moscow sending environment minister Sergei Donskoi instead.

Lavrov's absence was regretted by Stickman, who said the Arctic should be shielded from international tensions.

"No matter what is happening in the outside world, cooperation in the Arctic is moving forward," Donskoi insisted.

"There is no room here for confrontation or fear-mongering," he said, adding Russia was "against politicizing the Arctic."

Although Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said she had privately voiced anger at Russia's role in Ukraine, she sought to downplay any fallout for the work of the council, saying it was done through consensus.

But Kerry again took issue with Moscow's actions in eastern Ukraine, pointing the finger at Russia in saying that "it is clear at this point in time" that the Minsk ceasefire deal "has not been lived up to sufficiently."

According to a 2008 study by the US Geological Survey, the Arctic may hold 13 percent of the planet's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the world's natural gas.

While tackling climate change will be high on the US agenda as chair of the Arctic Council, Washington also hopes to improve ocean stewardship, maritime safety and the lives of the Arctic's four million inhabitants.

The melting ice also creates shorter shipping routes between the Pacific and the Atlantic -- connecting markets in Europe and Asia, with the numbers of ships crossing the Bering Strait on the rise.

Nations are also gearing up for major UN talks in Paris in December to agree a new international pact pegging global warming to 2C over pre-industrial levels.

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