Surgeon who injected live fish with air to bait eagles for photos fined S$2,000

KELLY NG Today Online 25 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE — An orthopaedic surgeon who injected live fish with air to use as bait for eagles so that he could get good photos of the birds was fined S$2,000 on Tuesday (Oct 25).

Lee Soon Tai, 62, who runs a clinic at Mount Elizabeth Centre, did so on two occasions in order to get photos of grey-headed fish eagles swooping in on prey. Injecting air into fish makes them struggle and float on the surface for a longer period of time.

There are about 20 breeding pairs of grey-headed fish eagles, an endangered animal, in the whole of Singapore. Bukit Batok Town Park, where Lee committed the offence, is home to some of these birds.

The court was told that on July 19 last year, Lee bought three live fish from an aquarium in Clementi, then met Sathiananthen Rasalingam and Tran Thuong Chung Linh at the park. Tran arrived with more live fish in a white plastic bag, which Lee paid for.

Sometime between 2pm and 6pm, Lee injected one live fish with air using a syringe and needle, which he instructed Tran to throw into the pond to attract the eagles.

National Parks Board officer Adelle Wang, who was off duty at that time, heard a splash and saw the fish struggling on the surface of the pond. She also caught Lee taking photographs when an eagle swooped down on the fish, and flew away.

Ms Wang took photographs of the act, but was restrained by Sathiananthen.

Lee committed a similar offence on Aug 16 at the same park. That afternoon, Lee and Sathiananthen bought fish from an aquarium in Teck Whye before proceeding to the park. Tran and a third co-accused person V V Shanmuga Sundaram was also at the scene. After injecting a live fish with air, Lee instructed Shanmuga to throw it into the pond.

As with the previous occasion, this enticed an eagle to fly down and get the fish, during which Lee took photographs.

A video of the acts made its rounds on the Internet last October and raised the ire of netizens, with the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society calling out the acts as “cruel” to the fish and eagles.

In June this year, Lee was charged. He could have been fined S$5,000 for each charge of feeding the eagles without approval.

Related posts
Surgeon accused of baiting rare birds to get good photo Audrey Tan, The Straits Times AsiaOne 8 Jun 16;
Bird photographers stuff styrofoam into live fish to bait eagles AsiaOne 28 Oct 15;

Read more!

Consolidating solar, wind and tidal energy on Semakau Landfill

Channel NewsAsia 25 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE: The region’s first large-scale offshore power grid system is being built on Semakau Landfill, consolidating power generated from multiple renewable energy sources – solar, wind and tidal – as well as diesel and power-to-gas technologies, to ensure that these energy sources work well together.

The deployment of the offshore system’s first hybrid microgrid was announced on Tuesday (Oct 25) by Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli at the Asia Clean Energy Summit held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

The power grid system, which will have four hybrid microgrids occupying over 64,000 sq metres of land or about eight football fields, is being built by scientists from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The offshore microgrid system will occupy over 64,000 sq metres of land or about eight soccer fields. (Photo: NTU)

Once all four microgrids are built by the end of 2017, they are expected to produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 250 four-room HDB flats for a year, NTU said. Fish hatcheries and nurseries at Semakau Landfill will be among the first to be powered.

Singapore is taking the lead in developing renewable energy solutions in Southeast Asia. “The deployment of this first hybrid microgrid is a big leap towards low-carbon electricity production for the nation and the region,” said NTU Chief of Staff and Vice-President (Research) Prof Lam Khin.

Such a hybrid microgrid system could be used to provide electricity on islands, remote villages, or in emergency situations, said NTU.

The hybrid microgrids at Semakau Landfill will be implemented in two phases.

The first phase, which has been completed, involved installing a microgrid facility with more than 3,000 metre square of photovoltaic (PV) panels as well as a large-scale energy storage system.

Work to build the other three microgrids will start at the end of this year.

- CNA/gs

Read more!

More buying from social enterprises in Singapore: Survey

Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 25 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE: More people are aware of social enterprises and are buying goods or services from them, according to a public perception survey released by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) and NUS Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy on Tuesday (Oct 25).

Based on 1,888 responses collected in May and June, the survey showed a five-fold increase in awareness of such enterprises from 13 per cent in 2010 to 65 per cent in 2016.

Those in the 31-35 age group had the highest level of awareness, with seven out of 10 respondents saying they were aware of social enterprises, raiSE said.

More respondents also bought from social enterprises in 2016 - 35 per cent of respondents said they had purchased from social enterprises before compared to 22 per cent in 2010.

However, the proportion of respondents who had not bought from social enterprises before and were unwilling to do so in the next six months remained the same, at 23 per cent in both 2010 and 2016.

The findings were released at raiSE's Singapore Social Enterprise Conference, a two-day event for thought leaders, corporations and entrepreneurs to explore how businesses can be a force for social good.

Notable examples raised at the conference included Sustainable Living Lab, which helps students and social entrepreneurs access equipment such as 3D printers to create products, and Edible Garden City, which builds food gardens at under-utilised spaces and uses urban farming to provide therapy and employment for those with autism.

raiSE committed S$30 million to provide more support for social enterprises when it launched in May 2015. To date, it has contributed about S$8.6 million to over 40 social enterprises, benefitted close to 3,000 disadvantaged people and created more than 200 jobs to date, it said.

- CNA/mz

Survey on social enterprise shows stubborn group of non-buyers
TOH EE MING Today Online 26 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE — People who have never supported social enterprises have not changed their minds in the last six years to buy from these businesses, even though a recent survey showed that there is greater awareness of this sector.

The findings were released this week by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, which did a public perception study on social enterprises from May to June this year, through a survey of 1,888 respondents at various malls. The first survey was done in 2010.

The study found that, overall, public awareness leapt nearly five-fold — from 13 per cent of respondents in 2010 to 65 per cent this year, with those aged 31 to 35 being most aware (70 per cent).

People’s understanding of such enterprises has also increased — seven out of 10 respondents could correctly categorise at least one of the three social enterprises named in the latest survey, compared to just two out of 100 respondents who could correctly name a social enterprise in the previous survey.

However, there was no “breakthrough” when it came to those who have never bought anything from a social enterprise. This group remain unchanged at 23 per cent in both surveys. Typically, they are males aged below 30 and females above 50, who are difficult to “convert” because only 30 per cent of them seem to care about social mission, the study found.

As many as 42 per cent of these non-buyers base their purchase decision on quality of goods, while 35 per cent base their decision on price.

And although more people are buying from social enterprises — from 22 per cent in 2010 to 35 per cent this year — the increase appears to be the result of potential buyers being converted to become buyers, since there is a corresponding drop in the percentage of potential buyers. Taken together, both groups of buyers have not grown beyond 77 per cent of the public respondents, the data reflected.

The study categorised potential or ready buyers as those who are willing to buy from social enterprises in the short term (next six months).

The top two reasons that motivated people to buy, it found, was the social enterprise’s social mission, and unique services and products offered. In particular, they are likelier to support social enterprises geared towards people with disabilities, low-income families, and those with health conditions.

In its anaylsis, the study noted that there is a certain “maturation” of the social enterprise sector, where buyers and potential buyers are becoming more discerning in their purchases, not so much motivated by philanthropic reasons, but more critically evaluating the “credibility and validity of the social cause and mission of social enterprises”.

Addressing the challenges that the sector faces, the study recommended that social enterprises look to focus more on ramping up the quality and uniqueness of their services and products, and to differentiate themselves further from traditional businesses in order to grow their customer base.

Ms Debra Lam, 23, co-founder of Society Staples, which conducts team-building workshops and events to promote inclusion of people with disabilities, said that it is still an uphill task to reach some companies, because the perception is that a social enterprise is a charity. “So there’s this justification whether (they) should pay (us) for the services and products we are offering,” she said.

“It’s about staying true to our social mission and ensuring we are diligent in delivering the quality of services to make sure we can match up to other traditional businesses or do even better,” she added.

Dr Zhang Weina, research director at the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy in the National University of Singapore which led the survey, said that the study showed that social enterprises are “not just relying on donations and grants to make their business viable”. They can bring people together and still stay profitable,” she said.

Mr Richardo Chua, 34, group managing director of events agency Adrenalin Group, also a social enterprise, called for greater collaboration from different players.

“Social enterprises can keep on pushing hard, working hard to be competitive in whatever marketplace… but ultimately, it’s about a collective (effort) by the community to do (our) bit,” he said.

Read more!

Car-Free Sunday expands to Telok Ayer

Adrian Lim, MyPaper AsiaOne 26 Oct 16;

After a brief hiatus, the Car-Free Sunday SG initiative will be back this weekend for another six months, with more roads to be closed for use by cyclists, joggers and pedestrians.

The monthly programme, which was piloted from February to July this year, will be expanded from the Central Business District (CBD) and Civic District areas into the Telok Ayer conservation area.

The second instalment of Car-Free Sunday will be stretched to 5.5km from 4.7km previously, with additional road closures in the Telok Ayer area. The affected roads are McCallum Street, Amoy Street, Boon Tat Street, Telok Ayer Street and Stanley Street.

Announcing the news yesterday in a blog post, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the pilot had drawn "tens of thousands" of Singaporeans, and a lot of positive feedback.

He said many people had asked for the initiative to continue, and for the car-free route to be expanded.

"Car-Free Sunday SG is a step towards our broader vision of a car-lite and people-friendly society," said Mr Wong.

Under Car-Free Sunday, some roads are fully closed, and others partially, to provide spaces for the public to walk, jog, cycle and take part in recreational activities, such as mass workouts.

It is typically held on the last Sunday of every month.

Besides the expansion to Telok Ayer, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said more roads will be fully closed, such as the five-lane Robinson Road and four-lane Cecil Street, to create more cycling and jogging lanes.

Buses plying these roads will be diverted to Shenton Way. Roads will be closed between 8am and 11am.

For the upcoming Car-Free Sunday on Oct 30, the public can enjoy free guided tours of the Thian Hock Keng Temple at Telok Ayer Street.

There will also be an educational trail along Ann Siang Hill and Telok Ayer Green.

Cafes along Telok Ayer Street will open from 8am, in conjunction with the initiative.

Cindy Leong, managing director of juice shop The Cold Pressed Station, said: "Our target customers are usually CBD workers but now we can also reach out to families who are coming to the area."

The second instalment of Car-Free Sunday will run until April next year on the following dates: Oct 30, Nov 27, Jan 22, Feb 26, March 26 and April 30.

The URA did not say if it will be extended after April but noted the initiative "will run for at least six editions".

Read more!

Malaysia: Cloud seeding improves situation at three Malacca dams

The Star 26 Oct 16;

MALACCA: The plan for water rationing in the state has been put on hold thanks to heavy rain yesterday.

The rain, which was the product of cloud seeding, prevented water levels in three dams in the state from dropping to below the critical level.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said the cloud seeding carried out on Monday helped pushed the water levels at the Durian Tunggal Dam, Asahan Dam and Jus Dam to above the critical level of 35m.

The current water level at the Durian Tunggal dam is 36m, Asahan Dam at 60.3m and Jus Dam at 44m.

The state government on Monday announced the proposal to implement water rationing starting from tomorrow if the level at the dams continued to fall.

“We will continue with cloud seeding until Nov 2 to avoid the need for water rationing,” he said.

Idris said Malacca Water Company was also working on various solutions, including installing a bigger inflow piping system from Tasik Biru Lake in Chinchin, to supplement the drying dams.

“Apart from cloud seeding, we are working on various other steps to ensure adequate water,” he said.

Idris said even if rationing was carried out, it would be done in the most responsible manner and on a rotation basis to allow households to store water.

Malacca faced its worst water crisis following a drought in late 1991 and also due to a mistake in monitoring the Durian Tunggal dam.

In another development, the Negri Sembilan Department of Environment (DoE) said it will work with the concessionaire of the Elite Highway to establish if traces of a toxic solvent found in Sungai Buah was dumped from a slope along the route or accidentally spilled following a road accident.

State DoE director Norhazni Mat Sari said checks would also be carried out with the Fire and Rescue Department to establish if the solvent had seeped into the river following a road accident along KM45.9 of the highway.

“We need to establish this quickly to catch the culprit,” she said.

Norhazni said her team had since sent samples of the solvent for testing at the Chemistry Department in Petaling Jaya.

“We can’t say what or how toxic it is until we get the results back,” she said.

On Monday, a team led by the state DoE found large traces of the solvent along a slope of the highway.

Large swathes of grass where the solvent was found were charred. As a section of Sungai Buah flowed parallel to the expressway, the solvent found its way into the river, resulting in the closure of the Semenyih water treatment plant.

Read more!

Malaysia: Cute sun bear cub rescued before it’s sold

NURBAITI HAMDAN The Star 26 Oct 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: At one month old, the sun bear looks like an adorable, plush toy, but it was actually snatched from its mother to be illegally sold online.

Last Saturday, the National Parks Department (Perhilitan) saved the cub at a hotel in Kuala Lipis, Pahang.

A 30-year-old man was arrested for possession of the sun bear without permit.

“There are people who buy wildlife as pets. They like to keep young bears, leopard cats and owls,” said Perhilitan director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim.

“Only the ‘cute’ ones. But they don’t know how hard it will be to care for the animals once they’ve grown.”

He warned that wild creatures could be aggressive and would attack without reason.

Abdul Kadir gave the example of keeping a tiger cub as a pet.

“I don’t know where they will keep the tiger when it’s two years old. It would probably eat its owner,” he said in jest.

As for the sun bear cub, Abdul Kadir said Perhilitan had been monitoring the man for about a month before the arrest.

“The sun bear was about to be sold for a mere RM2,000. We believe the bear was brought in from a neighbouring country,” he told a press conference at the Perhilitan headquarters here yesterday.

Perhilitan also saved seven leopard cats at a house in Ampang last Friday.

There were no special permits for five of the cats. Although there were permits for the other two, they were registered under a different address.

The sun bear will be sent to the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sungkai and released into the wild once it has matured while the cats can be released immediately pending veterinary inspection.

Abdul Kadir advised the public to stop buying exotic animals as pets.

“The thing about Malaysians, they feel a sense of pride having wildlife as pets. But we can’t do that. We have cats and dogs that we can keep as pets. Don’t buy wildlife. Let them be free in the wild,” he said.

Abdul Kadir added that each wild animal had its own purpose in the cycle of life in the jungle and snatching them away would only cause harm.

“God has created tigers to be a certain way, or bears a certain way. If one of the species is not around anymore, the cycle of life will be disrupted,” he said.

Last Friday, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said Perhilitan arrested five wildlife traffickers and retrieved 32 rare animals, including a tiger cub, bearcat and dwarf caiman.

The nearly 20 species of animals recovered, among them a leopard cat, mousedeer, turtle, four baby monkeys, birds and squirrels were worth about RM500,000.

Read more!

Indonesia: Police defend dropping peatland fire cases

The Jakarta Post 25 Oct 16;

The National Police have cited several reasons behind their controversial decision to terminate investigations into 15 companies previously charged for their alleged roles in the setting of peatland fires.

Criminal Investigation Department head Comr. Gen. Ari Dono Sukmanto claimed that many of the fires had been caused by fires lit by locals that had expanded to areas belonging to the companies

“The companies also did whatever they could to put out the fires,” Ari said at a hearing held by House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal and human rights, reported.

He also argued that experts claimed that the articles under which the companies had been charged were no longer relevant.

The police have received 480 reports related to peatland fires since 2015. Most of them remain unresolved. Those who were brought to court, on the other hand, were mostly locals or low-level company officials.

Ex-Riau Police chief denies terminating 15 cases of forest fires
Marguerite Afra Sapiie The Jakarta Post 25 Oct 16;

Former Riau Police chief Insp. Gen. Dolly Bambang Hermawan on Tuesday denied issuing terminations of investigation (SP3s) to 15 companies that were accused of being responsible for forest fires in the province.

Members of the House of Representatives’ committee investigating the forest fires on Tuesday sought clarification from Dolly about a statement made by Dolly’s successor, Brig. Gen Supriyanto, who said that the SP3s were issued when Dolly was still in charge.

Dolly stressed that out of 18 cases related to bush and forest fires during his term from August 2014 to March 2016, only three were SP3s.

"Three SP3s were [issued] in January when I was still a police chief, even though the issuance was under the police precinct's authority. I don't know about the other cases because I was no longer the police chief," Dolly told the lawmakers on Tuesday.

Dolly further explained that the three SP3s were issued by the Pelalawan police precinct since the force was the one that investigated the allegations, adding that he was sure that the SP3 documents were not issued carelessly as they were based on the facts and the testimonies of witnesses.

The committee's chairperson Benny K. Harman said during an earlier meeting, Supriyanto said he had no idea about the issuance of SP3s. (bbn)

House to crosscheck testimonies on halted forest fire investigations
Marguerite Afra Sapiie The Jakarta Post 26 Oct 16;

A House of Representatives committee investigating forest fires will crosscheck differing testimonies made by two former Riau Police chiefs — Insp. Gen. Dolly Bambang Hermawan and Brig. Gen. Supriyanto — about who issued letters to terminate investigations (SP3s) into 15 alleged forest burners.

"We will summon [the police officials] on Thursday along with the investigation team, so that we know who holds the real responsibility for the issuance of SP3s for 15 companies," committee member Syarifudin Sudding told journalists on Tuesday.

The plan arose following a Tuesday hearing, in which Dolly, who held office from August 2014 to March 2016, rejected a statement made by Supriyanto that Dolly was responsible for issuing the SP3s to stop investigating 15 companies accused of being responsible for forest fires.

Bambang and Supriyanto would be summoned alongside current Riau Police chief Brig. Gen. Zulkarnain Adinegara to clarify the facts and stop the police officials from placing blame on each other, Sudding said.

Should Supriyanto — who previously claimed to have no idea about the SP3s as they were issued when Dolly served as police chief — be found guilty of providing false testimony to lawmakers, the House may recommend that National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian dismiss him from the force, Sudding said. (bbn)

Read more!

Indonesia: Bandung blames heavy rain, poor drainage for flash flood

Arya Dipa The Jakarta Post 25 Oct 16;

The Bandung administration blames heavy rain as the main cause of a two-hour flood that swept several main roads of the city and led to one casualty.

Bandung’s Bina Marga road agency head Iskandar Zulkarnaen said extraordinary heavy rain unexpectedly flooded the riverbank beyond its maximum capacity on Monday. Thus, overflowing water from the Citepu River inundated Jl. Pasteur and Jl. Sukamulya.

"Because of the excessive heavy rain, the river is unable to contain the water," he said to reporters in Bandung as quoted by

Zulkarnaen further acknowledged that the poor drainage on Jl. Pasteur and dredging that yet had started of a water canal behind Bandung Trade Mall (BTC) had worsened the flood. "We actually have planned to dredge the waterway, but the heavy rain came much earlier. Thus, we will improve the waterway and station several water pumps as directed by the mayor," he said.

The flash flood reportedly took the life of Ade Sudrajat ( 30 ), after he fell into the water and was swept away while trying to assist his friend escape from flooding on Jl. Setia Budi. His body was later found in a gutter.

“His hand was stuck to a pipe,” a Bandung resident named Endang told The Jakarta Post, “This is the worst flood I have ever seen here. A previous flash flood was just as severe as this one, but lasted less than one hour.” (ags)

Bandung administration denies flood caused by burst dike
Arya Dipa The Jakarta Post 26 Oct 16;

The Bandung administration has said a fatal flood on Monday was not caused by a burst dike but by the high volume of rainwater hitting the drainage system.

The incident caused the death of one resident who was swept away by floodwater on Jl. Setia Budi.

Several parked vehicles were also carried away in the high level of water.

Roads and Water Management Agency head Iskandar Zulkarnaen said his office checked the drainage system once every two weeks but the river had overflowed and the drainage system only had the capacity to accommodate runoff from the streets.

Earlier, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the flood was caused by a burst dike on the Citepus River. Iskandar refuted the statement, saying that although there was a broken embankment, it was not the cause of the flood.

Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil said his administration would repair the drainage system by replacing ducts with bigger ones.

Flooding on several major roads including Jl. Pasteur paralyzed the city for about two hours. (evi)

Team spends 5 hours recovering car after flood in Bandung
Arya Dipa The Jakarta Post 25 Oct 16;

A team consisting of officials from the Bandung administration and officers of the West Java Police took five and a half hours to pull a car out from under a bridge after it got carried away by floodwaters on Jl. Pagarsih the previous day.

The car, a black Nissan MPV, was lifted by two hydraulic machines after it was shifted out from under the bridge connecting Jl. Pasir Koja and Jl. Astana Anyar.

Comr. Nana Sumarna said Tuesday the task was rendered more difficult because the car was filled with rocks and garbage.

Hundreds of locals crowded the site to watch the work and when the car was lifted they cheered.

The car was parked and empty when it was carried away by water on Jl. Pagarsih during the flood on Monday. A local neighborhood unit head, Ceppy Setiawan, said the flood came from the Citepus River and inundated Jl. Pagarsih for an hour. “The local rain was not heavy but the flood was from rains in the northern part of Bandung,” he said. The northern part of Bandung is higher in altitude.

The black MPV was carried about 200 meters down the street before being diverted by the water flow and plunging into the Citepus River, which is about 6 meters wide and 6 meters deep.

Another parked car and a parked motorcycle that had been modified to carry garbage were also carried away by the flood, but they did not end up in the river. (evi)

Cause of city’s recent fatal flooding a mystery: Bandung mayor
Arya Dipa The Jakarta Post 26 Oct 16;

The mayor of Bandung, Ridwan Kamil, has apologized to the public for Monday’s flash flood, which claimed one life, saying he did not understand what had triggered it.

The sudden flood hit some parts of the city in the afternoon, including Jl. Dr. Djunjunan (better known as Jl. Pasteur and Jl. Pagarsih), sweeping away several cars and killing a resident.

“We don’t really know [the cause],” Ridwan told reporters on Tuesday.

He said the city had not experienced any floods for months, but on Monday conditions arose that triggered the high water.

“As a mayor, I am responsible,” said Ridwan, who is an architect.

Although Ridwan may not understand what led to the flooding on Monday, an official with the Bandung administration said it was caused by a drainage system that was unable to accommodate the flow of incoming water, despite it having been routinely checked.

The city administration has planned to carry out more flood prevention measures and to restore water channels along 19 roads.

Bandung Highway and Water Works Agency head Iskandar Zulkarnain said routine drainage inspections on Jl. Pasteur were carried out once every two weeks.

However, water from upstream filled up the city’s drainage system, making the rainwater stay on the streets and form powerful currents.

“Thus, the flooding,” said Iskandar.

To anticipate potential flooding in the future, Iskandar said, his office would perform inspections once a week and widen the water channels along the roads.

Some streets were impassable for approximately two hours as the floods engulfed Jl. Pasteur, while the flooding on Jl. Pagarsih swept a black Nissan Grand Livina and a three-wheeled motorcycle into the Citepus River.

Members of the Bandung Disaster Mitigation and Fire Brigade and police found the car on Tuesday at around 2 p.m. local time. The car had been carried about 500 meters downstream.

The head of a local community unit, Ceppy Setiawan, said the flooding of Jl. Pagarsih lasted for an hour. Citepus River water drowned the road and then flowed swiftly along Jl. Pagarsih in Astana Anyar.

“The rain was light but the deluge came from the north,” he said.

The black Nissan had been dragged more than 200 meters along the street before being diverted by the flow of water and carried into the Citepus River. The car was at one point stuck on a bridge railing before being swallowed by the river, which was almost 6 meters wide and more than 6 meters deep.

The three-wheeled motorcycle, which was parked in front of a garbage dumpster on Jl. Pagarsih, was also swept away by the floods before drifting down the river in the wake of the Grand Livina.

A smaller red Daihatsu Charade sedan was also dragged down the street by the floodwaters, but it lodged on solid ground before being swept into the river.

Ridwan expressed concern over the flood, especially as one person was killed when he was swept away by swift currents on Jl. Dr. Setiabudi in the northern part of Bandung as he attempted to save another person. To overcome the risk of floods, Ridwan said his office was improving the condition of the water channels along 19 streets. “The biggest water channel measures two-by-two meters,” added Ridwan.

Ridwan said he had asked his subordinates to use pumps with special pipelines to move water from a swamped location to the river, creating a “water highway” to prevent uncontrolled runoff. “This effective method has been applied in the Gedebage area and on Jl. Soekarno Hatta, which are flood-prone areas, and has been able to prevent water from pooling when it rains,” said Ridwan.

Read more!

Vietnam: Nightmare scenario -- Coastal Vietnam faces a watery end

Toan Dao Vietnam Express 26 Oct 16;

Several coastal areas in Vietnam are likely to be under water and nearly 40 percent of the Mekong Delta could be wiped out.

Several coastal areas in Vietnam are likely to become the victims of climate change and be under water by the end of this century, VietnamPlus reported on Tuesday.

If the world does not act upon reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by the end of the century, sea levels could rise by nearly 1 meter. Under this scenario, 38.9 percent of the Mekong Delta, 17.8 percent of Ho Chi Minh City, 16.8 percent of the Red River Delta and 1.47 percent of Central Vietnam will be submerged, the news site reported, citing an updated scenario released Tuesday by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The most vulnerable areas in the Mekong Delta, which currently accounts for half of Vietnam’s rice production, are the provinces of Hau Giang (80.62 percent at risk of being submerged), Kien Giang (76.86 percent) and Ca Mau (57.69 percent).

The Mekong Delta is already struggling to survive from drought and saltwater intrusion.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s economic hub, 80.78 percent of Binh Thanh District and 36.43 percent of Binh Chanh District are forecast to be under water by the end of this century.

In the central region, Thua Thien Hue is the most vunerable province with 7.69 percent at risk, while Nam Dinh, Thai Binh and Quang Ninh are the most at risk from rising sea levels in the north.

In addition, parts of some islands including Van Don in Quang Ninh, Con Dao in Ba Ria Vung Tau and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang are likely to be lost. The Paracels Islands, which are claimed by Vietnam but controlled by China, are more exposed to rising sea levels than those in the Spratlys, according to the report.

The ministry recommended that vulnerable locations focus on building irrigation systems that can lower the projected damage and adapt to rising sea levels and climate change.

The United Nations has warned that if sea levels rise by one meter, Vietnam will face a loss of $17 billion each year; one fifth of the population or some 18 million will be homeless and 12.3 percent of farmland will disappear.

Even if the world manages to keep temperature increases within 1.5 - 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as agreed in Paris last December, Vietnam would still face a rise in sea level by around half a meter. That means the country will see 6.7 percent of the Red River Delta, 4.5 percent of the Mekong Delta and 11.4 percent of Ho Chi Minh City under water.

Vietnam is considered one of the countries most at risk from climate change, with annual losses averaging $1.9 billion or 1.3 percent of gross domestic product as a result, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung told a conference in Hanoi on Tuesday.

Read more!

Vietnam: No mangroves, no land, no work

VietNamNet Bridge 25 Oct 16;

Coastal communities in the south are in danger of losing their livelihoods to increasing land erosion resulting from the loss of a natural buffer - mangrove forests.

For many years now, landslides have become a common phenomenon in Kien Giang Province’s Hon Dat District, with Tho Son, Lình Huynh, and Binh Giang communes among the worst hit.

The most gravely affected area is the strip of coastal land stretching from Hon Queo Hamlet in Tho Son Commune to Binh Hoa Hamlet, Binh Giang Commune. Mangrove forests have completely disappeared in some sections here.

Without the protection of mangroves, waves and tides are hitting the sea dyke harder, hastening erosion and increasing the risk of breaches.
Tran Trong Than, a resident of Hon Me Hamlet, said he’d been allotted a coastal mangrove forest area of six hectares 13 years ago. Erosion has reduced this to a little over 1.5 hectares at the moment.

Similarly, Nguyen Van Thu of Binh Hoa Hamlet said that in the past two years alone, the coastal protection forest assigned to his family has lost some 30 metres to the sea.

Two layers

The mangrove forests of An Bien and An Minh districts stretch through 10 communes with total length of 60 kilometres, covering an area of 4,000 hectares, and are divided into primary and secondary protection layers.

The primary protection layer is a 1.120 ha area of white mangroves (avicennia marina), and the secondary layer is a 3,000ha area of red mangroves (rhizophoraceae).

This protective area has been weakened in many sections where the sea has penetrated several kilometres inland and broken down the landmass along 25 kilometres of the coastline.

Most of the secondary layer forests have been allotted to households for protection, management, as well as economic exploitation within prescribed limits.

Residents say that in the last two years, coastal erosion, exacerbated by climate change, has swept hundreds of hectares of aquaculture farms and nearly 60 per cent of the original mangrove area into the sea.

Previously, the main source of income for the households was aquaculture under the forests’ canopy, but worsening erosion and diminishing incomes have forced many to relocate.


Given the threat of climate change and harmful human actions, radical are needed to ensure the safety of sea dykes, officials say.

“Only when the dykes are secure can we hope to maintain the forests and guarantee people’s livelihoods,” said Nguyen Thanh Linh, Deputy Director of the An Bien – An Minh Forest Management Department.

While most residents living in the proximity of the mangroves are aware of the importance of the buffer zone, there are many who have destroyed the mangrove forests, weakening the protection layer, he said.

The actions of such people have affected the community’s aquaculture farms as a whole, he added.

Regeneration efforts

In addressing the issue of erosion in coastal areas of Kiên Giang Province, officials are seeking solutions to regenerate lost mangrove forests.

Truong Van Thuoc, Chief of the Vam Ray Forest Management Station under the Hon Dat – Kien Hoa Forest Management Board, said that apart from measures currently in place to protect and expand existing mangrove forests, the board has selected plants suitable to each area’s soil conditions so as to improve survival rates.

They hope this will help create sustainable, good quality forests, especially in areas currently at risk of serious erosion, he said.

Pham Van Hung, Director of the Hon Dat – Kien Ha Forest Management Board, said they have set up a five-hectare nursery to prepare trees for a six-year (2015-2020) project to restore and develop coastal mangrove forests in Giong Ke Hamlet.

The board will continue its efforts to safeguard the forests with the engagement of coastal communities, he added.

In doing so, they are following directions from authorities higher up to promote new, climate-smart models of farming, including the selection of resilient plants and livestock breeds, such as melaleuca cajuputy and Snakeskin gourami.

The board is also trying to demarcate coastal protection forests and speed up reforestation and afforestation of mangroves.

Local authorities also said that they are working to clarify the rights and duties of those allocated forest areas to encourage the growth of mangroves in coastal areas.

The path across the most beautiful mangrove forest in Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge 25 Oct 16;

Tan Lap melaleuca forest is situated in Moc Hoa District of the southern Long An Province, about 100 km from HCM City.

You can come to in Tan Lap on one or two days at weekends. This is a fairly new address on the tourist map, but is an appealing destination of the tourists because they come here to feel relaxed, immersed in the green nature of melaleuca forest.

It is suitable for those who like to take pictures and enjoy the serenity.

After purchasing the entrance tickets (VND40,000 including rowing boat or VND120,000 including motorboats), the boatmen, also the guide, will take you to discover this huge wetland with lush vegetation, or sightseeat blooming lotus ponds.

Passing this swamp, tourists will see a large space of mangrove forest. The highlight of the melaleuca forest is the 38 m high watchtower where you admire the panoramic grandeur, immense forests and the longest cement path through the melaleuca forest in Vietnam (about 5km).

Along the way, you will feel the cool space of green forests, the freshness of the nature with the smells of mud, duckweed, grass, moss ... In the quiet and peaceful scene, take deep breaths and continue to the next journey.

At the forks of the road through the forest, there are boats that will take you to visit the next point, the lotus pond area. You should go to Tan Lap in October and November to be able to watch the blooming lotus, and smell the pleasant scent of pure flowers.

Food and cuisine services are not available in Tan Lap; therefore, to make the trip more enjoyable, you should bring food to have a snack at the stops in the tourism sector. Some shops sell souvenirs.

Read more!