Best of our wild blogs: 12 Jul 16

Coral Bleaching in Terumbu Semakau
wonderful creation

Celebrate National Day with a Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove (Sat 06 Aug 2016)
News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

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Hikers caught trespassing in Bt Timah reserve

Some hikers are trespassing in areas of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve that have been closed for restoration while a few use the mountain biking trail, which is only for cycling.
Toh Ting Wei, The New Paper AsiaOne 12 Jul 16;

He is a retiree who loves hiking and has been going for weekend hikes at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve for the past 15 years.

And even though the nature reserve was closed to the public in 2014 for restoration works, the 77-year-old, who wanted to be known as Mr Li X R, has continued to go there every weekend.

Together with his brother, they trespass into the closed-off areas of the reserve to get their weekly dose of exercise.

However, their illegal treks came to an end in April when they were caught by a park ranger and given a verbal warning.

Mr Li told The New Paper: "The repair works at the reserve were taking too long, and there did not seem to be any changes going on, so we decided to go back to climbing the dirt trails.

"I would see about six other hikers every time I go to the dirt trails to hike."

In a statement to The New Paper, National Parks Board (NParks) director of conservation Wong Tuan Wah said that since December last year, 63 hikers have received Notices of Offence for trespassing into restricted areas in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Mr Wong said: "Venturing into restricted areas put hikers in danger as the trails are currently undergoing repairs.

"NParks is aware of hikers who access restricted portions of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and has been taking an active education approach to advise them not to trespass into cordoned areas."

Mr Wong urged hikers to use alternative options such as the MacRitchie trails and said that the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve will be re-opened at the end of this year.

NParks has also put up more signs and has stationed staff to remind the public to keep to designated trails in the nature reserve.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was closed in September 2014, before the main route to the summit was partially re-opened last year, with public access allowed on weekends.


However, Mr Li pointed out that the main road was much easier to hike on, unlike the closed-off dirt trails.

"The dirt trails are challenging and it feels like I am exerting myself and really exercising when I hike on it.

"There isn't any other place in Singapore that gives a similar challenge," said Mr Li.

Although some hikers have turned to the restricted areas to get their hiking fix, a few have also opted for the mountain biking trail at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve instead, creating hazards for cyclists as they compete for space on the trails.

Student and avid cyclist Mun Yong Liang said he spots about five non-cyclists on the mountain bike trail during his weekly rides.

The 22-year-old added: "It is a big problem due to the safety risks posed.

"We (the biking community) hope that it will get better when the hiking trails re-open, but I am not optimistic unless there is enforcement."

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Number of dengue cases rises for 4th straight week

Channel NewsAsia 12 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: The number of new dengue cases in Singapore has risen for the fourth consecutive week, with 247 cases in the week ending Jul 9, compared to 234 the previous week, according to latest figures on the National Environment Agency's (NEA) dengue website on Tuesday (Jul 12).

Another 26 cases were reported between Jul 10 and 3pm on Jul 11.

In total, 9,471 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore since the start of the year, according to NEA. At least five people have died of the disease so far - a 47-year-old man who lived in Marsiling Rise, a 67-year-old man who lived in Toa Payoh, a 63-year-old woman who lived in Bedok, a 73-year-old woman who lived in Hougang, and in the latest case, a 79-year-old man who lived in Kaki Bukit.

There are now 49 active dengue clusters in Singapore - up from 36 in the previous week. Eight are classified as high-risk. The biggest cluster is in the Telok Kurau and Dunbar Walk area, where 63 cases have been reported, including 28 in the past fortnight.

The area around Admiralty Drive and Sembawang Drive is the second largest dengue cluster in Singapore as of this week. A total of 44 cases have been reported so far, including 2 in the past fortnight.

The area around Jalan Ismail and Lorong Marican near Eunos is also classified as high-risk, with 44 cases reported thus far, including 12 in the past two weeks.

In an advisory on its dengue website, NEA called for vigilance from homeowners to prevent mosquito breeding amid the traditional peak season for dengue in Singapore.

- CNA/dl

More than 200 new dengue cases for 4th straight week
Channel NewsAsia 19 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: For the fourth consecutive week, more than 200 new dengue cases were reported in Singapore, according to latest figures published on the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) dengue website.

There were 223 dengue cases in the week ending Jul 16, down slightly from the 246 cases reported in the previous week. Another 28 cases were reported between Jul 17 and 3pm on Jul 18.

A total of 9,641 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore since the start of the year. Six people have died of the disease so far this year, with the latest fatality a 72-year-old woman who lived in Simei. There were four dengue fatalities in the whole of 2015.

There are now 44 active dengue clusters in Singapore – down from 49 the previous week – including eight classified as high-risk. The biggest cluster is in the Telok Kurau and Dunbar Walk area, where 70 cases have been reported, including 12 in the past fortnight.

The area around Jalan Ismail and Lorong Marican near Eunos is the second-largest dengue cluster, with 49 cases reported so far, including six in the past two weeks. The area around Admiralty Drive and Sembawang Drive has also been classified as high-risk, with 48 cases reported, including three in the past fortnight.

In an advisory on its dengue website, NEA called for vigilance from homeowners to prevent mosquito breeding amid the traditional peak season for dengue in Singapore. The majority of mosquito breeding habitats are still being found in homes, such as in domestic containers, flower pot plates and trays, it said.

The Ministry of Health and NEA have warned that the number of dengue cases in Singapore may exceed 30,000 this year, higher than the record of 22,170 reported in 2013.

- CNA/cy

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URA calls for master plan proposals for Singapore's 'second CBD', the Jurong Lake District

Faris Mokhtar Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is looking for multidisciplinary teams to develop master plan proposals for Jurong Lake District.

URA announced the Request For Proposal (RFP) in a media release on Monday (Jul 11). It said a key focus of the master planning exercise includes developing proposals for Lakeside Gateway, a new mixed-used precinct and home to the future terminus of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail.

The area aims to become Singapore's district of the future and will have a different identity compared to the current central business district.

"It's green fields, so we can start from scratch," said Ms Yvonne Lim, group director of physical planning at URA. "The community that is going to be working and living there is going to be quite different.

"Looking forward, we know that how people work is changing. It's no longer about maybe sitting in the office from 8am to 5pm. You have people interacting, so we're going to create a lot of public spaces."

Participating teams will be developing proposals for the following components of the Jurong Lake District Master Plan:

Detailed master plan for Lakeside Gateway, including strategies to seamlessly integrate the new precinct with Jurong Gateway, Lakeside, as well as the Teban Gardens and Pandan Gardens area to the south;
Strategies to shape a distinctive identity for Jurong Lake District;
Possible revisions to land uses of surrounding areas that will strengthen the position of Jurong Lake District as Singapore’s second CBD. Examples of these areas are Jurong West to the west, and Teban Gardens and Pandan Gardens to the south;
Car-lite and connectivity plans for Jurong Lake District and its surroundings. Examples include a comprehensive network of infrastructure and facilities catering to active mobility options (e.g. walking, cycling and Personal Mobility Devices) that links up to existing and future developments throughout the District;
Urban design guidelines, landscaping and public space strategies, and plans to create, improve, and integrate green and blue spaces;
Plans for the possible adaptive reuse of the former Jurong Town Hall and current Science Centre buildings, to strengthen the heritage memories of Jurong;
Plans for possible district-level infrastructure, utilities and urban systems. Examples include a district cooling system, common services tunnel, pneumatic refuse conveyance system, and urban logistics;
An underground space plan catering to different uses throughout the District. The objective is to optimise overall land use and improve pedestrian experience in underground spaces; and
Environmental sustainability strategies to mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect and improve energy efficiency, resource usage, and overall thermal comfort throughout the District, HDB said.

The RFP will comprise two stages. Interested teams will first need to submit their interest to participate in the RFP by Sep 5, 2016. Up to five shortlisted teams will develop their Concept Master Plans for Jurong Lake District, which must be submitted by Dec 7, 2016, URA said. The appointed team will be notified in January 2017, and appointed in February of the same year, according to URA. It will then work with URA and partner agencies to draw up the Draft Master Plan for the area.

"There will be a public exhibition of the Jurong Lake District Draft Master Plan around the third quarter of 2017. Thereafter, the appointed team will work with URA to refine the plans," URA said.


URA added that the public will be invited to give their feedback on the district's Draft Master Plan during the exhibition period, which is likely to be held in the third quarter of next year.

"At the same time, URA will engage the relevant stakeholders, partner agencies, and the Jurong Lake District Steering Committee to gather their input on the plans," URA said.

The Draft Master Plan will then be revised based on feedback received, according to the Authority.

First announced in 2008, Jurong Lake District is Singapore's regional centre in the west, planned as part of efforts to create new commercial activities, more quality jobs, amenities and recreational activities closer to homes, URA said. The district comprises a commercial hub, Jurong Gateway, as well as Lakeside, a leisure precinct.

According to URA, Jurong Gateway has been shaping up well, and the development of Lakeside is underway with Jurong Lake Gardens.

“We have an exceptional opportunity to transform Jurong Lake District into ‘A District of the Future’ and our second CBD, which will redefine the way we live, work and play. As a CBD in our heartlands, the District will drive Singapore’s growth in the future economy, and cater to the diverse needs of businesses, residents, visitors, and Singaporeans from all walks of life. It will be a distinctive new gateway to Singapore," said National Development Minister and chairman of the Jurong Lake District Steering Committee Lawrence Wong.

- CNA/dl

Jurong Lake District to be second CBD, call for plans issued
KELLY NG AND ALFRED CHUA Today Online 12 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE — The Government is seeking proposals for transforming the Jurong Lake District into the Republic’s second Central Business District, which will be anchored by the upcoming Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) terminus.

Launching a Request for Proposal on Monday (July 11), the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the district’s steering committee — led by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong — have spelt out six goals that teams should be guided by in the masterplanning exercise.

First, the core area around the HSR terminus should offer “flexible and adaptable work spaces” to facilitate a mix of businesses and services, such as research and development, education, training and business incubators.

The district is also envisioned as a “24/7 hub” that offers retail, entertainment and leisure options outside working hours, as well as residences and common recreational facilities.

It will be a car-lite district, with a public transport mode share projected to be higher than the national target of 75 per cent by 2030. The district’s natural and heritage assets — such as the Jurong Lake and Jurong River, the former Jurong Town Hall building — should also shape a “distinctive identity”.

Highlights like the upcoming Jurong Lake Gardens, future recreational facilities, and the current and new Science Centres, will also anchor the district as a leisure destination for locals and foreign visitors.

Finally, innovative urban infrastructure — such as underground solutions — will be used to cater to the needs of different developments in the district in a productive and efficient manner, and sustainable strategies to mitigate the urban heat island effect and improve energy efficiency should be used.

Located between the district’s Jurong Gateway and Lakeside precincts, the 112-ha Lakeside Gateway is currently home to extensive greenery, water bodies, and the Jurong Country Club — which was acquired last year to make way for developments.

The upcoming Jurong Region Line and Cross-Island Line, together with the current North-South and East-West MRT lines, is also expected to improve traffic in the region.

Interested teams are to submit information on their team composition, track record, and a statement detailing their planning and design approach, and strategies to overcome anticipated challenges, by Sept 5.

Up to five teams will be shortlisted to develop their concept master plans for the district over ten weeks. The best team will be appointed in February next year, and thereafter work with URA and its partner agencies to draw up a Draft Master Plan for the district.

Members of the public will be able to give feedback on the plan around the third quarter of next year.

Implementation of the plan will be “studied carefully”, said the URA in a media release on Monday.

“(It will take) into consideration various factors including the broader plans of surrounding areas, development of other projects in the district, and the needs of the community,” it said.

Property analysts whom TODAY spoke to were generally positive about the potential impact of the development plans.

But Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong noted there are competing developments in other parts of the island, such as plans to develop a Northern Gateway in the Woodlands area.

The success of Jurong Lake District would depend on whether it is “the precinct of top priority for developing Singapore to face challenges of the future economy”, he added.

The HSR would also be pivotal to bringing in significant economic benefits to the Jurong Lake District. “There needs to be demand first in the area, before new developments can come up,” he said.

Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, said the HSR, along with the push to make the Jurong Lake District a “24/7 hub” would increase movement to the area “throughout all hours of the day, even late at night”.

This could help the area stand out, he said, cautioning against “just replicating another Raffles Place”.

He also felt the Jurong area now stood a better chance of successfully become a second business centre. Compared to Tampines — another regional centre that was earmarked for development as a business hub — Jurong has critical mass with a mixture of residential, retail and hotel developments.

Suggesting ways in which the developments could shape up, Ms Christine Li, director of research at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Office buildings could also go towards more campus-like environment with the aid of smart mobility devices.”

There could also be another business hotel with a convention centre, targeting transit travelers using the HSR. “Jurong Lake District could try to incorporate a range of landed and low rise condominiums with smart elements and waterfront views as their selling points, giving rise to perhaps a more affordable “Sentosa Cove in the suburbs”,” added Ms Li.

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Tenders to be called for Tuas waste management systems

Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB and the National Environment Agency (NEA) are calling for multiple tenders from the third quarter of this year for phase two of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) and the Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF).

The two infrastructures will be built together in Tuas so they can mutually benefit from water treatment and waste management processes. This is expected to cut costs significantly and save energy.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced phase two of the DTSS on Monday (Jul 11) at the joint Singapore International Water Week, CleanEnviro Summit and World Cities Summit.

Singapore's DTSS was designed as a cost-efficient and sustainable way to meet the country's long-term water needs. The first phase was completed in 2008, with the Spur Tunnel and the North Tunnel, which runs from Kranji to the Changi Water Reclamation Plant (WRP). A NEWater factory was later built on the rooftop of Changi WRP in 2010 for water recycling purposes.

Phase two of the DTSS will have an extensive network of link sewers, a 10km Industrial Tunnel for non-domestic used water and the South Tunnel, which transports used water from homes. The South Tunnel is 3m to 6m wide and 30km long.

It will mostly run underneath major roads along the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) - deeper than MRT tunnels - and cross beneath the sea bed at Tuas Bay, before reaching the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (TWRP).

Like the first phase, used water will be channeled into the tunnels. It then flows by gravity to the Tuas plant, where it will be treated into either NEWater or water for industrial use, or discharged into the sea.

Both the Industrial and South tunnels will also be lined to protect against corrosion. There are also advanced sensors, which feed into a monitoring system, that check the structural integrity of the tunnel without the need for physical inspection.

When completed in 2025, the S$6.5 billion project will join phase one of the DTSS, and complete Singapore’s used water system.


Phase two of the project will serve the western and southern parts of Singapore, including the downtown area. The new TWRP will be able to treat both industrial and domestic used water separately, unlike other plants.

Another new feature is the integrated NEWater factory. It will facilitate large-scale water recycling, which helps increase the overall water recycling rate from 30 per cent to up to 55 per cent of Singapore's total water demand.

With a capacity to treat 800,000 cubic metres of used water per day, the Tuas plant will also be the biggest membrane bioreactor facility in the world. The technology will shorten and streamline the used water treatment and NEWater processes. Excess water that is discharged into the sea will also be cleaner.

Once phase two is completed, two existing plants at Ulu Pandan and Jurong will be phased out, along with intermediate pumping stations. This will free up 150 hectares of land.

“With phase two in place, we’re able to realise the benefits of the whole system, especially realising the benefits of reducing the land take for all of our used water management facilities. Like our water reclamation plants, pumping stations that used to be in place, they can all be slowly decommissioned, and now we have just three plants in the overall scheme”, said Mr Yong Wei Hin, DTSS phase two director from PUB.

“When DTSS was conceptualised, it was to last for a hundred years. We have the provisions to expand the plant in tandem with the progress of the nation. We expect the plant capacity to be doubled by then,” he added.


The Tuas plant will also be co-located with the new IWMF, which is billed as the first of its kind. Unlike other waste-to-energy plants which can only process incinerable waste, the IWMF will be able to do that, and handle 400 tonnes of food waste, 250 tonnes of household recyclables and 800 tonnes of sludge from the Tuas Plant every day. It will be able to incinerate 5,800 tonnes of waste per day, which will produce more than 2,000 gigawatt hours of electricity annually.

This is enough to power more than 400,000 four-room flats.

"The energy that's produced by the IWMF through its combustion of waste is more than sufficient to meet the internal consumption of IWMF as well as the TWRP,” said Mr Joseph Boey, who is NEA’s project director of the IWMF. “In that sense, we are able to export at least more than 75 per cent of our electricity production to the grid, just like any power generation company does.”

Another plus point of co-location: Benefitting from the used water and waste treatment processes. For example, food waste received at the waste management facility will be treated and then digested with used water sludge from the Tuas plant. This produces biogas, which is then fed back to the IWMF, contributing about one per cent to the overall plant efficiency.

Once completed in 2027, the S$3 billion IWMF will replace two older incineration plants at Tuas and Senoko.

“The IWMF is an integral part of NEA’s long-term plan to meet Singapore’s future solid waste management needs,” added Mr Boey. “It will be equipped with several state-of-the-art facilities to maximise energy and resource recovery, while minimising land use and environmental footprint.

“All in all, the synergies from the TWRP and the IWMF will enable both enable both agencies to reap cost (savings) as well as land use savings, and this will help keep the cost for used water as well as solid waste treatment affordable for Singapore.”

- CNA/ek

Singapore to pump additional S$200m into water industry over next 5 years
Lee Li Ying, Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: The Republic will pump an additional S$200 million into the water industry over the next five years, announced Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Lee Kuan Yew Prize award ceremony on Monday evening (Jul 11).

The new tranche of funding will be channelled into three key areas - research, commercialisation and export of technology, and talent development.

With the new funding, national water agency PUB hopes that the sector can provide a total of 15,000 jobs and add about S$2.8 billion to the economy by 2020. It is also looking to fund research projects that explore industrial water solutions, smart water systems and integration.

Mr Lee said one of the reasons the Republic has had an adequate supply of water in Singapore is because of its investments in recycling. He noted that with investments in research and development (R&D) and water treatment plants, Singapore has reached a point where recycled used water comprises 30 per cent of the nation's water supply.

Mr Lee added that Singapore will continue to spend more on R&D.

He said: “We've already spent I think more than S$600 million over the years developing membranes, techniques, processes to make recycled water. And for our next R&D programme over the next five years, we're going to spend another S$200 million. We also have put a lot of effort into closing the water cycle."

Meanwhile, PUB’s chief engineering and technology officer, Mr Harry Seah, said: "If you look 50 years down the road, you'll find that most of the water will be used by industries. It's very important for us to develop this industrial water solution so that we encourage or get the industries to recycle the water.”

According to Mr Seah, as the automation and smart water system gets more complex, the operation has to be safer and easier to maintain. “Integration is important because Singapore is a very small place,” he said.

“Through integration, where we try to integrate our Deep Tunnel Sewage System Phase 2, we integrate the refuse incineration plant so we see the synergies between the two, so that in the end as a total system, we achieve lower carbon footprint, which means we use less power and waste footprint,” he added.

Singapore's investment in the water sector has seen significant results. The Government ploughed in S$470 million from 2006 to 2015. During this period, the sector added 14,000 jobs and S$2.2 billion to the economy, exceeding targets set of 11,000 jobs and S$1.7 billion in value-add to the economy.

Said Economic Development Board's executive director of cleantech, Mr Goh Chee Kiong: "We view the water industry as one of the very few industry clusters in Singapore where we have a truly global leadership position in.

“By setting aside an additional S$200 million, we hope that we can translate more research ideas into commercialisable products and services and translate to real economic growth for both Singaporean companies as well as international companies.”

While smaller companies may face challenges in going international due to issues like a shortage of talent, IE Singapore said they can still gain a foothold in high-growth areas.

"Industrial wastewater is also another very critical segment,” said Mr Kow Juan Tiang, group director of environment and infrastructure solutions at IE Singapore. “Industrial wastewater is about certain factories coming together, so the size of the projects is smaller. This enables many Singapore companies which are smaller in size to participate in this particular area."

At the ceremony on Monday, the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize was presented to the city of Medellin - the second-largest city in Colombia - while the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize was presented to Professor John Anthony Cherry, a renowned hydrogeologist.

- CNA/xk

S$200m fund to help S’pore produce water solutions for the world
SIAU MING EN Today Online 12 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE — A fresh S$200 million from the National Research Foundation (NRF) will be pumped into Singapore’s water industry for the next five years to come up with water solutions for the world, and to quicken the pace of commercialisation and export of its water technologies.

Going beyond research and development that meet national objectives, Singapore will aim to develop water solutions for the world that tap Singapore’s strengths.

Already known for its membrane, desalination and sensor technologies, Singapore will continue to build its core expertise, but it will also delve into new areas such as automation and robotics, said national water agency PUB.

For example, robots and unmanned aerial vehicles can be used for inspection work in the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System when completed.

The funding will also be used to develop a range of capabilities and talent to support the water industry’s needs.

The new funding — the third tranche since 2006 — comes under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan launched in January, and brings the total research and development funding for water to S$670 million over 15 years.

The new targets for 2020 are to have 15,000 jobs in the industry and to grow the sector’s annual value-add contribution to S$2.85 billion.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who spoke of the investment during a dialogue at the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet yesterday, said water has always been a “a strategic and high-priority issue”.

“And we’re putting in a lot of resources into that. For example, one of the reasons why we now have an adequate water supply in Singapore is (that) we’ve invested recycling (used) water, waste water — you purify it, you can use it again for industrial purposes, in fact you can drink it,” he said.

The global water industry is estimated to be worth more than US$850 billion this year (about S$1.1 trillion) and is expected to grow at an average annual rate of nearly 4 per cent until 2020.

To speed up the pace of commercialisation and the export of its technologies, a new Separation Technologies Applied Research and Translation (Start) centre will focus on the translation and technology scale-up of lab-scale R&D conducted in local research institutes.

Singapore is also positioning itself as a living lab for companies to develop, test and commercialise urban solutions in a real-life setting before exporting them globally.

The Economic Development Board’s (EDB) Overseas Living Lab programme will support Singapore-based firms to test and commercialise their technologies overseas, particularly sites with climatic conditions, or user environments that are not found in Singapore.

Among the various programmes to build a range of capabilities and talent in the water sector, the PUB and the EDB will be developing the pool of PhD and post-doctoral talent, and expanding the breadth of competency development initiatives.

In 2006, S$330 million was set aside by the NRF for water research and, thereafter, a top-up of S$140 million was made in 2011.

With previous years’ funding, the water industry has added over 14,000 jobs, while the annual value-added contribution from the water sector was more than S$2.2 billion, which exceeded its 2015 targets of 11,000 jobs and S$1.7 billion in value-add.

New mega-facilities to treat 40% of S’pore’s waste by 2027
SIAU MING EN Today Online 12 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE — Within the next decade, a new waste management facility and a water reclamation plant co-located in western Singapore will be able to treat about 40 per cent of the total used water and solid waste here, with the facility generating enough energy to power more than 400,000 four-room Housing and Development Board flats.

The Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) will be part of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS), a “superhighway” for managing used water, where the deep tunnel sewers will convey used water by gravity to the various centralised water reclamation plants. The system will reduce the land taken up by used water infrastructure by 50 per cent.

Details of the Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) and the WRP, as well as the DTSS, were shared as the authorities announced that they would be calling for tenders from this year onwards.

National water agency PUB will be calling for consultancy and construction tenders for the various project components of DTSS Phase 2 in stages from the third quarter of this year. The projects include project engineering services for the design of Tuas WRP and the link sewers, among others.

Meanwhile, the National Environment Agency will be calling for tenders for project management, the supervision of construction works and the commissioning of the IWMF, among other tenders.

Estimated to cost S$3 billion, the IWMF at full capacity will be able to incinerate 5,800 tonnes of solid waste each day. Last year, Singapore generated 7.67 million tonnes of waste. Of this, about 38 per cent or 7,886 tonnes of waste each day was incinerated at the four existing waste-to-energy plants each day.

The first phase of the facility will be ready in 2022 and fully completed by early 2027. It is also expected to replace two of the existing waste-to-energy plants — Tuas Incineration Plant and Senoko Waste-to-Energy Plant — which are nearing the end of their lifespan.

It will also be able to process various waste streams: Incinerable waste, household recyclables, food waste as well as the dewatered sludge from the new Tuas WRP.

About 2,000GWh of electricity will be generated through its treatment processes, of which 10 per cent will be used to power both the facility and the plant, making them energy self-sufficient. The rest will be supplied back into the grid.

At present, the existing waste-to-energy plants generate enough energy to meet up to three per cent of Singapore’s total electricity demand. Singapore’s current water reclamation plants are not yet self-sufficient in energy.

Meanwhile, the new Tuas WRP will be able to treat about 800,000 cubic metres of used water a day, or about 40 per cent of the total used water generated. It can treat both domestic and industrial used water separately.

The plant is expected to be completed by 2025. The NEWater factory will then be integrated into the plant for large-scale water-recycling. This is done through membrane bioreactor technology that will streamline the used water and NEWater treatment processes.

With the completion of DTSS Phase 2 — estimated to cost some S$6.5 billion — the existing water reclamation plants at Ulu Pandan and Jurong, as well as the intermediate pumping stations, will be phased out.

With the IWMF and the Tuas WRP located on the same site, there will also be improvements in various aspects of the treatment processes. For instance, food waste from the IWMF can be co-digested with the used water sludge to increase the yield of biogas.

The biogas can then be used to improve the overall plant thermal efficiency of the facility, where more energy can be derived from every tonne of waste that is being processed.

Water treated at the plant can also be used for the facility’s processes, such as for use in the wet flue gas treatment system to get clean air emissions, as well as in the wet cooling tower to cool down the facility’s turbine exhaust and improve plant efficiency.

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Almost 400 people on board NEA's Community Volunteer programme: Masagos

Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: About 380 people have come on board the National Environment Agency’s Community Volunteer scheme, with 100 others having expressed an interest to join. Environment and Water Resources Minister, Masagos Zulkifli provided this update in a written response to Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Assoc Prof Daniel Goh.

Most of the volunteers are members of environment-related non-government organisations, but Mr Masagos said non-members who meet the strict criteria and fulfil training requirements can also be appointed.

As volunteers, members are empowered to engage and educate litterbugs and those who commit environment-related offences. The volunteers "adopt" specific locations which they monitor and participate in activities such as litter-picking.

Mr Masagos said the primary role of the volunteers is to encourage individuals to take responsibility for the environment. As such, they will not have the authority to enforce summonses. Mr Masagos said that with the passing of NEA’s Miscellaneous Amendments Bill earlier this year, volunteers can instead use their authority cards to request the particulars of people found to have committed offences such as smoking at prohibited places, spitting and even leaving the engine of a stationary vehicle running.

Mr Masagos said: “Through the Community Volunteers programme, we hope that more people will learn to take ownership of the environment.” He said caring for the environment is a shared responsibility to ensure a clean and liveable Singapore.

- CNA/mo

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Malaysia: Hot and dry weather affecting durian harvest

The Star 11 Jul 16;

GEORGE TOWN: The supply of durian this year has been affected by the hot weather. Even the branded ones are not spared now.

Bao Sheng Durian Farm owner Chang Teik Seng, 55, said the branded durians were also affected by the prolonged dry weather from January to April.

“If the demand is high, the price will further increase,” he said yesterday.

He added that durian lovers visiting the farm without prior notice could be turned away.

This year, the first durian season started from May to June while the second one is from July 1 to end of August.

“The harvesting took a short break sometime in June,” he said.

Chang said the weather played a vital role in the quality and quan- tity of the fruits as the durian trees need sufficient water to absorb nutrients from the ground.

“With less water, the trees are unable to supply bigger fruits with thicker pulp.

“Even the taste of the durians will be affected.

“That is why the durians are smaller and lighter this year and their pulp is thinner.

“During the dry season, we constantly water the trees but rain- water is still the best,” he said.

Chang, fondly known as ‘Durian Seng’, said it would take between 85 days and 120 days for a durian flower to become a fruit.

“Variants such as 604, Lipan and Xiao Hong take about 90 days, while the Musang King, Hor Lor, Kunpoh, D2 and Kapri take about 100 days.

“Ang Heh (Red Prawn), Lim Fong Jiao, Green Skin 15 and Black Thorn take about 110 days while D15, D18, D11, D88 and Ganjau will take about 120 days,” he added.

Flying to Penang just for durians
The Star 15 Jul 16;

Singaporean Stephen Tan, 55, said the price of durians in his country was “quite ridiculous” now.

The businessman said the Musang King variety, known as Mausan in Penang Hokkien, was sold at a minimum price of S$28 (RM82.50) per kg.

“Those are just the medium-grade ones. The Ang Heh (Red Prawn) is sold at a minimum of S$18 (RM53) per kg. The high prices are due to the low yield this year.

“There was a bigger yield last year and the average price was as low as S$9 (RM26.50) per kg,” he said when met at the Poh Beng Estate durian stall in Jalan Tengah, Bayan Baru.

Stephen came to Penang with his sister Helen, 57, and brother Patrick, 72. After touching down at the airport, they went straight to the stall for a smorgasbord of D24, Ang Heh and Hor Lor durians.

He said durians in Singapore were mainly imported from Batu Pahat and Muar in Johor as well as Pahang.

“Not many durians are sent to Singapore now due to the lower yield and high demand in Malaysia,” he said.

Stephen, who has property in Penang, said he was hoping to eat the Black Thorn but was disappointed to find the variety had run out.

“That’s my personal favourite besides the Cheh Phoy (Green Skin) and Ang Heh.

“I had to place my order two days before coming here,” he said.

Teoh Nai Teik, who is the proprietor of the 35-year-old Ah Teik durian stall at the corner of Jalan Macalister and Lorong Susu, confirmed that a lot of Singaporeans were frequenting his stall.

“They love Musang King even though it is expensive now. I have to sell the variety at RM70 to RM75 per kg now.

“Last year, I could sell them for RM50 per kg.

“They are hard to find now,” he said, adding that the price of his Ang Heh and Hor Lor durians was still reasonable at RM35 per kg.

Durian orchards ripe with theft due to soaring fruit prices
ARNOLD LOH The Star 17 Jul 16;

BALIK PULAU: With durian prices breaking records – a single Musang King can sell up to RM110 here – the king of fruits is attracting not just fans but thieves as well.

So wary is orchard owner Datuk Dr Lim Seh Guan of thieves that he turns around to check at the sound of a motorcycle approaching.

“There are many small orchards here and we don’t fence all around our land. We respect each other’s boundaries.

“But this year, for the first time ever, we saw thieves. They move around by motorcycle several times a day in search of fallen durians,” he said.

Dr Lim, who works as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, tends to the 18 durian trees on his 0.65ha orchard that he bought 15 years ago.

One evening last month, Dr Lim, 53, said he confronted a motorcyclist picking up durians from his neighbour’s land.

“He claimed he was scavenging for recyclables and just wanted a couple of durians to eat. We do allow locals to eat a few for free.

“But the basket on his motorbike was full of durians! My farmhand confronted another motorcyclist doing the same thing and he got threatened,” he said.

He said a seller in town had told him last week that he was “hard up” for premium quality durians.

“His regular customer had reserved 100 prime durians, but there are so few now.”

His neighbour, Lee Min Fun, 59, who has been selling durians for 30 years, sold a single large Musang King fruit for RM110.

“The price of Musang King is now RM50 per kg in Balik Pulau, and RM60 to RM70 per kgin the city.

“Previously, it was RM20 to RM35 per kg,” Lee said, adding that he believed Musang King durians were now all sold out in Balik Pulau.

Lee attributed this shortage to the dry spell from El Nino earlier this year as well as a weaker ringgit, attracting foreigners and spiking export demand.

He said agents were offering to buy in bulk for export to Singapore, China and Hong Kong.

Read more!

Malaysia: Orang utan conservation paying dividends

YUJI and STEPHANIE LEE The Star 12 Jul 16;

KUCHING: Both Sarawak and Sabah claim their orang utan conservation efforts are paying dividends in the wake of an international report listing the primate as critically endangered.

The Sarawak government said it was leading the conservation efforts, having stemmed habitat loss for the great Asian ape within its borders.

Assistant Environment Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the orang utan population had stabilised at about 2,500.

The state, he said, had not only stopped approving new plantations, its anti-logging drive was also bearing fruit.

“Orang utan have long reproduction cycles. We are hopeful that their numbers can increase in Sarawak,” Talif said yesterday.

Talif said the state would declare protected areas whenever new habitats were identified, adding that currently, there were only three in Sarawak.

In a report, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the Bornean orang utan (Pongo pygmaeus) as critically endangered, adding that the primate now faced an “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild”.

Sarawak, said Talif, was making good on its commitment to combat illegal logging and poaching.

“Sarawak spends more per orang utan than on forest enforcers. We spend between RM2,000 and RM3,000 per enforcer but overall, we spend about RM10,000 per orang utan.

“We have drones and new real-time monitoring systems in place,” he said.

Talif said it had taken 20 years since a flora and fauna masterplan was drawn up to have the right legal framework and institutional structure and now Sarawak needed “more scientific knowledge and financial support”.

Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia director Dr Melvin Gumal said IUCN’s classification was partly based on a 2011 paper on the primate’s dwindling habitat in Kalimantan. Other sources included habitat mapping showing an increasingly scattered population in Borneo.

Calling the new classification as “fair”, Dr Gumal agreed that more needed to be done in Kalimantan.

“The numbers went down an estimated 60% between 1950 and 2010. There is another projection that says we could lose another 22% between 2010 and 2025. It’s due to habitat degradation and loss, and hunting.”

The bulk of the habitat changes were due to land use conversion, mostly for plantations in Kalimantan, he said.

In Kota Kinabalu, state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said Sabah’s conservation efforts had been internationally recognised.

“Our conservation efforts towards saving the orang utan have actually paid off and even won accolades internationally.”

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Indonesia: Heavy rain, storms expected to strike Java

Jakarta Post 11 Jul 16;

Jakarta: The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has called on residents living along the southern coast of Java to stay cautious due to potential heavy rain and high tides over the next few days.

“Based on an analysis of the atmosphere, we predict heavy rain and storms in the southern part of Java through to East Nusa Tenggara,” BMKG spokesperson Hary Djatmiko said Saturday.

The heavy rain is likely to occur until July 14 in West Java, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Central Java, East Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and some parts in Papua, he said.

He called on residents to stay cautious and remain aware of possible impacts triggered by the extreme weather including floods, landslides and fallen trees. “Public transport operators and motorists need to take extra care,” he said as quoted by Antara.

BMKG has also predicted that high waves measuring between two to four meters are likely to occur in waters off southern Java and Sumba.

Such conditions will pose a threat to fishermen and also to holiday makers visiting beaches and cities located along the southern coast of Java such as Pelabuhan Ratu, Pangandaran, Parangtritis and Pacitan. — JP

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Risk of ‘sea desertification’ challenges Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge 11 Jul 16;

Climate change is one of the reasons behind sea desertification. It warms the air temperature and sea water and lowers nitrogen, phosphorus and oxygen concentration, thus paving the way for the formation of a ‘dead sea area’ or desertification of the sea.

‘Sea desertification’ is a new terminology used to describe the area where all sea creatures cannot live because of poor natural conditions, water quality and land.

According to experts from the General Department of Sea and Islands, there are six factors which can lead to sea desertification. First, climate change.

Second, the discharging of hazardous waste to the sea, causing greenhouse gas emissions. This causes an increase in the acid concentration in the sea, disrupts the supply of nutrients to the sea, reduces biodiversity and interrupts the periodic operation of oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorous.

The ocean acidification causes coral bleaching, habitat for sea creatures changing, the water quality degrading and nutrients decreasing, which then causes desertification.

Climate change is one of the reasons behind sea desertification. It warms the air temperature and sea water and lowers nitrogen, phosphorus and oxygen concentration, thus paving the way for the formation of a ‘dead sea area’ or desertification of the sea.
The third reason lies in ocean currents.

Fourth, the destruction of important marine ecosystems such as coral ecosystems, mangrove and sea grass ecosystems by explosives and toxic chemicals. Fifth, the rapid development of coastal urban areas and industrial zones which spoils the air quality, surface water and sea water.

Finally, the air transportation, which concentrates in some certain areas.

In general, experts say the major reason behind desertification is sea pollution caused by human activities.

According to Du Van Toan from the General Department of Sea and Islands, it is necessary to conduct research to determine the origin and find the development, location and classification mechanism, and to build up a sea desertification map of coastal waters and offshore of Vietnam.

It is also necessary to conduct research to assess the possible impact on the environment, socio-economic development and security in the sea desert areas.

Toan has urged a new monitoring system with an aim to keep special control over the areas prone to desertification.

International cooperation in scientific research will play a very important role in preventing sea desertification. Residents in coastal areas need to be warned about the dangerous phenomenon and asked to cooperate to prevent it.

Vietnam now has 16 MPAs (marine protection areas). Though they cover a small area, just 0.3 percent of total waters, they still can help maintain ecological balance if they can be managed well.

MPAs are believed to create a restoration effect after five years, and later create a spillover effect which helps disperse nutrients to the surrounding areas.

Read more!

Australian mangrove die-off blamed on climate change

AFP Yahoo News 11 Jul 16;

Sydney (AFP) - Thousands of hectares of mangroves in Australia's remote north have died, scientists said Monday, with climate change the likely cause.

Some 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres), or nine percent of the mangroves in the Gulf of Carpentaria, perished in just one month according to researchers from Australia's James Cook University, the first time such an event has been recorded.

The so-called dieback -- where mangroves are either dead or defoliated -- was confirmed by aerial and satellite surveys and was likely to have been the result of an extended drought period, said Norm Duke, a mangrove ecologist from James Cook University.

"This is what climate change looks like. You see things push the maximums or minimums... what we are looking at here is an unusually long dry season," Duke told AFP.

"The reason that there's dieback now is because of this drought. Droughts are normal, but not so severe, and that's the difference," he said.

Local rangers told scientists they were seeing creatures like shellfish, which need the shade of the trees, dying and that turtles and dugongs that are dependent on the ecosystem could "be starving in a few months", he added.

Duke said researchers believe the event took place in the semi-arid region in late November or early December last year.

"The dieback occurred synchronously across 700 kilometres (434 miles) in one month," he said, which is about the distance between Sydney and Melbourne.

He added that "by all accounts, the climate is going to become more erratic, so we can expect these type of events to become more common".

Some of the mangroves suffering "dieback" were defoliated, meaning they were not yet dead but had lost their leaves, and could recover. But most "won't recover, and will be dead", with satellite images matching ground surveys, said Duke.

Massive mangrove die-off on Gulf of Carpentaria worst in the world, says expert
Climate change and El Niño the culprits, says Norm Duke, an expert in mangrove ecology, after seeing 7,000ha of dead mangroves over 700km
Michael Slezak The Guardian 11 Jul 16;

Climate change and El Niño have caused the worst mangrove die-off in recorded history, stretching along 700km of Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria, an expert says.

The mass die-off coincided with the world’s worst global coral bleaching event, as well as the worst bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef, in which almost a quarter of the coral was killed – something also caused by unusually warm water.

And last week it was revealed warm ocean temperatures had wiped out 100km of important kelp forests off the coast of Western Australia.

To assess the damage to the mangroves, Norm Duke, an expert in mangrove ecology from James Cook University, flew in a helicopter over 700km of coastline, where there had been reports of widespread mangrove die-offs.

He was “shocked” by what he saw. He calculated dead mangroves now covered a combined area of 7,000 hectares, as was first reported by the ABC on Sunday. That was the worst mangrove mass die-off seen anywhere in the world, he said.

“We have seen smaller instances of this kind of moisture stress before, but what is so unusual now is its extent, and that it occurred across the whole southern gulf in a single month.”

Knock-on effects

The devastated mangrove forests played an essential role in the region’s ecosystem, Duke said. They were nurseries for many fish species.

“But we also think of them as kidneys – as water filters and purifiers,” he said.

As water from rivers and floodplains runs into the ocean, mangroves filter a lot of sediment, and protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows. That service would be lost in the areas affected by die-off.

“There are already anecdotal reports of marine life dying and piles of dead seagrass washing up on the shore,” he said. “If that’s true, then turtles and dugongs will be starving in a few months.”

And it would get worse over the coming years as the roots of the dead plants rotted.

“The problem is the growth rate isn’t high enough to stabilise the environments,” Duke said. “In five or six years’ time, the roots will break down and those sediments will become destabilised. And that will threaten the near-shore habitats of seagrass and coral.”

The mangroves also protect the shoreline and coastal ecosystems from storms and tsunamis. Absorbing waves that hit the coast helps limit the impact of storms and rising sea levels.

“We need that resilience and protection of the shoreline so we can slow down the effects of sea level rise,” he said.

Death by global warming

Mangroves die off naturally on a small scale, but Duke had never seen anything of this magnitude.

Around the world there had been widespread destruction of mangroves, but usually as a result of direct local impacts such as clearing for the creation of shrimp farms, he said. But the areas in northern Australia were “relatively pristine”.

“So you can see global changes or influences more easily. Usually, local influences are far stronger.”

The clear culprit in this case was climate change, which was warming waters and making rainfall more erratic, Duke said. That put the mangrove forests at their tolerance limit, and when a strong El Niño hit the world this year – warming waters in northern Australia and drawing rainfall away – they were pushed past their tolerance thresholds.

Greg Browning, from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, confirmed the past two years had seen unusually low rainfall and very high sea surface and air temperatures across the region where the die-off occurred.

“In a nutshell, there have been significantly below-average rainfall totals in the last two wet seasons ... and very warm sea surface temperatures,” he said. “When you have those departures from average conditions, it’s bound to affect the ecosystem in some way.”

The 2016 wet season was affected by the El Niño phenomenon, which produced dry conditions at the heart of the die-off. Browning said normally there were two or three bursts of monsoonal rains across the region, but in 2016 there was just one.

But the 2015 wet season, when there was no El Niño, was even drier.

This year, it is believed those dry conditions combined with a belt of record-warm sea surface temperatures across the north of Australia, as well as very warm air temperatures, to create a perfect storm that devastated the mangroves.

Browning said these conditions were a result of natural fluctuations, occurring on top of climate change. “[Global warming] exacerbates the situation,” he said. “It makes a bad situation much worse.”

Recovery and monitoring

Duke said mangroves were good at adapting, but not to such severe changes that occurred so quickly. How they would recover over the coming years was unclear.

Some areas could transition completely away from being mangrove-dominated, and become salt pans – flat, unvegetated regions covered in salt and other minerals.

“Some zones have been completely removed of vegetation across the tidal profile,” he said. “The problem is that the rate of colonisation isn’t fast enough to stabilise those environments. So in five or six years’ time when the root material breaks down, the sediment becomes destabilised and no amount of seedling growth will stop the erosion.”

Duke said there had been very little monitoring of these relatively pristine mangroves in areas where very few people live.

Such a program was urgently needed. “We need to be able to form a rapid assessment response for these emergent situations,” he said. “These habitats are on the retreat. They’re retreating far more rapidly than any of the endangered forests we have.

“We need to equip people to have independent assessments of what the local impacts are.”

Although they were among the most pristine mangroves in the world, they could be being affected by grazing.

“The question is how much of that is going on, and we need to be monitoring those sorts of influences so we can properly understand what are these larger effects, and are we reducing the resilience of mangroves so we are making them more vulnerable to the climate?”

Fishing industry concerned about widespread mangrove dieback in Northern Australia
Matt Brann ABC 11 Jul 16;

The widespread dieback of mangroves across northern Australia's coastline has the commercial fishing industry worried about its future.

It is estimated around 10,000 hectares of mangroves have died along the Gulf of Carpentaria coastline, in an event being described by experts as severe and unprecedented.

Barramundi fisherman Jeff Newman has been working in the Gulf for years and has seen the mangrove dieback first hand.

"The extent of damage is a shock to me and of real concern to the [fishing] industry," he said.

"To see it on this massive scale is unheard of.

"I've never seen or heard of anything like this before in the past."

Mr Newman said the death of so many mangroves could have a disastrous impact on the local fishery.

"Any healthy ecosystem survives on the mangrove forest," he said.

"Every marine organism either lives in the mangroves at some stage of its life or supplies food for all of the fish, prawns and crabs that we catch.

"Without that habitat, all the fish that we survive on as a commercial industry is very vulnerable.

"So it'll have a disastrous effect on our nurseries for our small fish and it could take years for a recovery."

Mr Newman said he's seen mangrove forests wiped out by cyclones in the past and it's taken five to six years to fully recover pending on favourable environmental factors.

He said it was tough to know how long it would take for the ecosystem to recover this time, if the ongoing climate issues continue.

"In my opinion it's definitely [happened because of] hotter water and environment temperatures," he said.

"It was very hot over our last summer, and the lack of rainfall and the lack of a wet season. It's all contributed."

Mr Newman believes further research and monitoring of the mangroves "is of the utmost importance" to determine what caused the dieback and what the long term effects are going to be.

Read more!

Bye, Bye, Coffee Cups: Why San Francisco Banned Foam Products

Kacey Deamer LiveScience Yahoo News 11 Jul 16;

In one of the most extensive such bans in the U.S., San Francisco recently voted to outlaw commonly used foam products due to their environmental impact.

The city's board of supervisors unanimously voted last week (June 28) to ban expanded polystyrene, the foam, petroleum-based plastic used in food packaging, packing peanuts, coffee cups and more. The ordinance, which goes into effect next year, is an extension of a 2007 ban of take-out food containers made of the foam, and is another step toward the city's goal to achieve zero waste.

Though such foam products are often colloquially referred to as Styrofoam, San Francisco's ban does not apply to trademarked Styrofoam — used in construction, housing insulation and some other products — which is an extruded board of polystyrene and not the expanded polystyrene being banned.

What is expanded polystyrene?

To make expanded polystyrene (EPS), engineers surround tiny gas bubbles with polystyrene, resulting in this foam-like material, according to Rick Sachleben, a member of the American Chemical Society's panel of experts. EPS became popular because it is cheap and easy to make, has insulating properties, and is lightweight and waterproof.

But, as supporters of San Francisco's ban noted, the material does not biodegrade well, taking decades, possibly generations, to completely degrade.

"Because it's a synthetic plastic, it's slower to break down in the environment," Sachleben told Live Science. "If it gets into the environment, it blows around, it floats, it gets out there and it goes away slowly — really slowly."

And the material does often end up in the environment, Sachleben said.

Because EPS products are commonly used in food containers, these materials often get contaminated with waste, compelling people to throw the foam away rather than recycle it. Or, people do not dispose of the items in designated bins, instead throwing them on the side of the road as litter, where they can disperse into the environment.

Recycling foam

Though EPS is completely recyclable, a few factors make it difficult to break down and reuse the material.

One of the most expensive aspects of recycling is moving a material from the place where it is used or disposed of to the recycling location. For a lightweight product like EPS, this is even more costly, said Eric Beckman, a polymer scientist and George Bevier Professor of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

"This is where its strength is coming back to haunt it, because it's mostly made of air," Beckman told Live Science. "If you're trying to ship it to a place to recycle, you're filling up a truck with mostly air and paying to move it around, and that just doesn't work very well economically."

Compared with the EPS used in cups and food containers, packaging EPS can more easily be recycled, Sachleben said. That's because it's large and bulky enough to make the costly transport worthwhile, he said. Recycling companies can break up these larger EPS materials and use the little beads it's broken into to make new materials.

What next?

For San Francisco, the question remains: What will replace the foam products?

Beckman noted the most difficult aspect of replacing one product with another is that there are often trade-offs.

The life cycle of a product needs to be taken into consideration, from "what it took to make, what happens as you use it and what happens to it at the end of life," Beckman said.

"It's possible that in attempting to do away with polystyrene and eliminate the end-of-life problems that EPS has, people could replace it with something that's actually worse, which has higher impacts when you make it," Beckman explained. "In other words, you could make something that degrades beautifully in the environment, but it has so many impacts when you manufacture and transport it that the net effect is actually worse."

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