Best of our wild blogs: 8 Feb 17

osprey diving @ eagle point - Feb 2017

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Sisters’ Islands Marine Park to see more protections under amended law

WONG PEI TING Today Online 8 Feb 17;

SINGAPORE — The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park has been designated as a public park, making it illegal to fish, collect corals, or moor boats there without the approval of the National Parks Board (NParks).

Laws passed yesterday in Parliament confirmed the status of the 40-hectare area as protected under the Parks and Trees Act. It consists of the sea or seabed around Sisters’ Islands and the reefs off the western coasts of Pulau Tekukor and St John’s Island.

With the changes, NParks will be able to institute new rules specific to marine parks in future, such as restricting diving activities, movement of vessels, or the dropping of anchors at ecologically sensitive areas, so that human activities in the marine park can be regulated.

The site is identified as a rich source of coral larvae, from which the larvae are dispersed to enrich other sites in the southern islands.

Since it would be NParks’ first go at managing a marine park, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said in Parliament that it would be better for the board to “have the flexibility to enact subsidiary legislation governing marine parks”.

This means that the park would be managed in close consultation with the marine conservation and recreational fishing communities, as well as other relevant stakeholders, he said.

Nine Members of Parliament spoke up about the amendments to the Act. Questions on what qualifies as a marine park and how the marine park could be protected were asked.

Nee Soon MP Louis Ng, for instance, sought clarity on whether dead corals, or shells that no longer have shellfish living in them, are protected. Mr Lee said that new rules specific to marine parks would be made in due course.

Nominated MP Daniel Goh expressed concerns that a new clause in the Bill, raised by the Ministry of National Development, allows the Minister to designate any entity to manage a public park, and this could be the start of turning the marine park into an “eco-tourist theme park”.

He asked if the park could be elevated to the status of a nature reserve instead.

In response, Mr Lee said: “(Turning of the park into Disneyland) is certainly not at all in the plans … We will bring together … all the stakeholders who are passionate about our greenery to come together to help us energise, activate, programme our parks, including the marine park.”

Ang Mo Kio MP Darryl David was more concerned about how the area would be developed.

Mr Lee said that there are intentions to make it “a living classroom” for marine conservation, with plans to build a boardwalk, intertidal pools and a floating pontoon at Big Sister’s Island. Small Sister’s Island will host programmes for schools and organisations.

“Even as we want to confer protection on the marine park, make it a sanctuary, we also have to ... (give people the) opportunity to come up close with marine life so they see how valuable and precious this biodiversity is,” he added.

Other amendments passed yesterday under the Act included granting power to NParks officers to enter private property to check on “dangerous” trees or plants, as well as a provision that makes it illegal to release animals into watercourses just outside of nature reserves, if the person knows or ought to know that these watercourses flow into the reserves.

Mr Lee elaborated that the new “power of entry” clause for NParks officers is “intended for NParks to ensure that public safety is not compromised by potentially dangerous greenery (usually trees) that may fall” due to structural weakness or poor health. WONG PEI TING

NParks given more power to protect Singapore's nature reserves

Channel NewsAsia 7 Feb 17;

SINGAPORE: Under new laws passed by Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 7), the National Parks Board (NParks) will have more regulatory and enforcement power to protect Singapore's nature reserves and greenery.

In investigating offences under the Parks and Trees Act, for example, NParks officers will now be able to interview offenders and record their statements.

The agency's officers will also be able to enter homes if the greenery on the premises poses a danger to public safety. This includes trees grown on rooftops and balcony gardens.

Home owners may be issued maintenance notices and non-compliance will be an offence.

These powers will only be exercised "as a last resort", if the occupier is uncooperative, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee during the debate on the Parks and Trees (Amendment) Bill.

"NParks’ first recourse is usually to engage the occupier to better understand the situation, and persuade him to rectify the situation."

It is now also an offence to release pets like fish and terrapins in streams or drains outside nature reserves, if there is any reason to believe that the creatures might end up in the reserves.

Previously, it was illegal to release animals only in nature reserves.

Mr Lee said that for example, Asian arowana - an aquarium fish that is not native to Singapore - have been released by members of the public in "very sensitive freshwater habitats" like Nee Soon Swamp Forest. "The arowanas then gorge themselves on our highly threatened native fish and crustacean species and cause ecological damage," he said.

He added that other less hardy species are unlikely to survive and very often die a slow and painful death.

The new law also designates Sisters' Islands as a public park, making it an offence to fish, collect coral or moor boats there without permission.

Noting that the area around the marine park is rich in local biodiversity, including coral, anemones, seahorses, fish and other creatures, Mr Lee said: "It is amazing that our waters, which lie within some of the busiest commercial sea lanes in the world, are home to over a third of the world’s total coral species. So protecting the reefs at the Sisters’ Island Marine Park is crucial to our coral conservation efforts."

The law will also allow NParks to make new rules for marine parks in future. These include restrictions on diving and the dropping of anchors at ecologically sensitive areas.

- CNA/dt

Conservation boost for Sisters' Islands
Fishing, collecting corals or mooring boats within the Sisters' Islands Marine Park without the approval of the National Parks Board will soon be an offence.
Audrey Tan, The Straits Times AsiaOne 8 Feb 17;

Underwater life around the offshore Sisters' Islands will now be better protected, after Parliament passed laws yesterday to designate the area as a public park.

This means it will be an offence to fish, collect corals or moor boats within the Sisters' Islands Marine Park without the approval of the National Parks Board (NParks).

The terrestrial areas of the islands are already protected under the law, and the latest change makes clear that the marine and foreshore areas, too, are to be safeguarded.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said during the debate on the Parks and Trees (Amendment) Bill: "It is amazing our waters, which lie within some of the busiest commercial sea lanes in the world, are home to over a third of the world's total coral species. So protecting the reefs at the Sisters' Islands Marine Park is crucial to our coral conservation efforts."

The marine park, Singapore's first, is a 40-minute boat ride from Marina South Pier and about the size of 50 football fields.

It comprises the two Sisters' Islands, the surrounding reefs and the western reefs of nearby St John's Island and Pulau Tekukor.

Mr Lee said NParks will make new rules specific to marine parks in due course, such as imposing restrictions on diving, and the movement of vessels.

This will be done in consultation with the marine conservation community and other stakeholders, such as boat operators, he said.

The Bill received support from all nine MPs who spoke on it, with many welcoming the preservation of Singapore's natural heritage.

Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade GRC) and Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh asked if there were plans for other marine parks.

Mr Lee said his ministry would work with nature groups, and use science and technology to determine if other areas should be designated as marine parks.

He added that the Sisters' Islands site was chosen based on the richness of species and habitats there, as well as its importance as a source of coral larvae.

Scientists had found that the reefs there are the "mother reef" of sorts, and the waters around them are the likely source of Singapore's coral diversity.

Another amendment to the Act makes it an offence for people to release animals into water bodies outside nature reserves, if there is cause to believe that the animals might end up in the reserves.

This is meant to prevent the introduction of non-native species, which can upset the balance of the natural ecosystem and harm native species.

First-time offenders could be fined up to $50,000, jailed up to six months, or both. Previously, the law only restricted the release of animals in a nature reserve.

Another update to the law deals with the maintenance of urban greenery, which Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), Mr Darryl David (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) asked about.

NParks officers will now have the power to enter private premises to check on the condition of trees and plants if there are public safety concerns.

The officers can also issue notices requiring private property owners to carry out pruning or engage an arborist to conduct detailed inspections, among other things.

Ms Lee wanted to know if NParks would intervene in neighbourly disputes arising from the shedding of leaves from trees.

In response, Mr Lee said NParks will refer such cases to community dispute-resolution channels, as it can take action only when the condition of a tree threatens public safety, or obstructs pedestrians' use of footpaths or the view of road users.

Parks and trees law sees animated discussion over wildlife
Zakir Hussain Straits Times 8 Feb 17;

Green causes have gained prominence here over the past two decades, and yesterday's debate on the Parks and Trees (Amendment) Bill showed just how passionate some MPs can be about nature and wildlife issues.

The Bill, noted longtime wildlife activist Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC), was a "milestone in our efforts to protect Singapore's biodiversity".

He recalled that Acres, the animal charity he started, rescued more than 3,000 wild animals last year alone. Yet the most common response he gets when he tells Singaporeans about this is: "Singapore got wild animals meh?"

Other MPs - nine spoke on the Bill - cited examples aplenty.

Mr Darryl David (Ang Mo Kio GRC) said that in spite of its busy maritime traffic, the Singapore Strait's diverse marine life includes the hawksbill turtle, Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin, and blacktip reef shark.

Mr Henry Kwek (Nee Soon GRC) noted how, on a recent visit to Thomson Nature Park, he came across the greater slow loris, banded leaf monkey, and the sunda pangolin. His group also chanced on a baby big-eye green whip snake. He hopes more young people can be enticed to visit parks and enjoy the experience.

Their encounters and exchanges in the House are a reminder that a fine balance has to be struck between protecting parks, nature reserves and their flora and fauna as urban development encroaches on their fringes.

Several MPs felt the changes - to protect the first marine park at Sisters' Islands, and to make it an offence to release or abandon an animal into a body of water that leads to a nature reserve - could go further.

Mr Ng wanted the law to prohibit the release of exotic species anywhere - on land and in water. Animals, after all, have the freedom to move to nature reserves.

Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera said the changes did not address the issue of invasive species entering the reserves by chance - such as non-indigenous decorative plants favoured by condominium developers reproducing in the reserves, or exotic pets escaping accidentally.

NCMP Daniel Goh spoke at length about how he was disappointed with the scope and scale of the changes.

He saw the need to designate Sisters' Islands Marine Park as a nature reserve. That would afford it greater protection. He wanted a buffer zone to protect the area in the event of incidents like an oil spill.

And he wondered whether the marine park might, one day, become an eco-tourism theme park - and sought assurances that there were no plans for such a development.

Responding to the MPs, Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said Dr Goh's "harbinger of the turning of the marine park into Disneyland... is certainly not at all in the plans".

His ministry, Mr Lee said, would also find ways to keep the younger generation engaged and excited about parks, citing undergraduate Sean Yap who started a Facebook album - Real Life Pokemon of Singapore - to show the similarities between Pokemon characters and native plants and animals here.

Mr Lee also said invasive species are a perennial concern. This is why buffers have been established around nature reserves to protect them "from the dessicating effect of buildings and concrete and traffic". Such buffers also give NParks the opportunity to remove alien species "that have been deliberately or accidentally released from these developments into the nature reserves".

Singapore's approach to nature, while pragmatic and driven by development needs, has sought to integrate development with nature.

As Mr Lee noted, Singapore is a biophilic city. The term describes how humans are hard-wired to need connections with nature and other forms of life.

In some other countries, the approach is to "prohibit a whole series of activities and try to tell people 'Please don't go there, minimise contact, keep a distance, let nature thrive'.

"In Singapore, it's the converse. We're a city in a garden - the city envelops our nature reserves, our nature parks, envelops our biodiversity," Mr Lee said.

"We have to be biophilic ... We have to be good custodians and stewards of our biodiversity - not just keeping it away at arm's length through legislation and prohibition, but to educate, to excite, to enthuse people to care about the plant and animal species that make us a very special place."

Parliament sittings see a stream of students and others in the public gallery, and hopefully those watching yesterday's debate will be spurred to find out more about what and where Singapore's wild animals and plants are.

The protection now afforded to Singapore's first marine park, and more developments to safeguard the natural environment, should give Singaporeans a chance to discover how important it is that nature should retain a central place in a continually developing city.

Wild spaces worth saving
Audrey Tan Straits Times 10 Feb 17;

When Parliament on Tuesday passed laws designating the areas around Sisters' Islands Marine Park as a public park, it was a clear signal that built-up Singapore still has wild spaces worth protecting.

The move will better protect the organisms living in Singapore's murky, but thriving, waters.

Singapore's waters are home to more than a third of the world's total coral species. Most of the country's coral reefs lie to the south of the mainland, where the marine park is located.

Singapore's waters are home to rare marine life, such as the Neptune's cup sponge - a marine organism once thought to be globally extinct.

With the latest change to the Parks and Trees Act, the marine and foreshore areas of the marine park are to be safeguarded too. The terrestrial areas of the islands are already protected under the law.

Among other things, it would now be illegal for people to fish, collect corals or moor boats within the marine park without the approval of the National Parks Board. The stepped-up protection is laudable, but more can be done to give the park the maximum protection under the law.

There are more rules governing behaviour in a nature reserve than at marine parks. For instance, people cannot disturb land, dump things, or carry nets, traps or hunting devices in nature reserves.

Singapore has four nature reserves and more than 300 public parks, including the marine park.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said the Government has sent a number of signals to demonstrate the importance of the areas around Sisters' Islands Marine Park.

These include the recent legislative amendment and announcements in 2014 that highlighted the marine park as a place for the conservation of marine biodiversity.

As the marine park already meets all the criteria for a nature reserve - it is used for conservation and research, as well as for recreational and educational purposes - upgrading its status should only be a matter of time.

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More cafes offer discounts to customers who BYO tumblers, but can efforts go further?

Many say a 10-per-cent discount is sufficient incentive, while others want the ‘bring your own’ movement to be nation-wide, according to Trash Trail polls.
Steffi Koh Channel NewsAsia 8 Feb 17;

SINGAPORE: Paper disposable cups are not a guilt-free alternative to Styrofoam after all, as a recent episode of Trash Trail showed – but what would it take to make people bring their own tumblers along to cafes and coffee shops?

A Channel NewsAsia survey showed that nearly half of 1,000 respondents here could be convinced to use their own tumblers if shops offer at least a 10-per-cent discount off their drink.

So to incentivise Singaporeans to mind their eco-footprint, 11 cafes and restaurants have tied up with the documentary Trash Trail to offer drink discounts of 10 per cent, S$0.50 or S$1 if customers bring their own tumblers.

The offer is good from now through March, but most of the business owners said they would consider continuing the BYO discounts, particularly if the response is good.

Highlander Coffee’s owner Phil Ho joined the initiative after realising the sheer amount of waste generated from disposable coffee cups – including paper cups, which in Singapore, mostly do not get recycled, contrary to common assumption.

“I felt bad and decided that the paper thing is an issue,” said Mr Ho said. Paper cups also consume more resources in their manufacture than foam cups do.

The other participating businesses are A.R.C Coffee, Sarnies, The Assembly Ground, Strangers' Reunion, Symmetry, Xiao Ya Tou, Curious Palette, Yellow Cup Coffee, Dapper Coffee, and Tiong Hoe Speciality Coffee.

Coffee chains like Starbucks and Coffee Bean have already been offering 50 cents off drinks when customers bring their own containers.

But one online user - responding to a separate Facebook poll conducted last week by Channel NewsAsia and CNA Insider - felt efforts should go further.

Said Fadilah Amir Hamzah: “If we’re really serious about being zero waste… then this should be done nationwide, endorsed by the state and made into policy. An ‘opt in’ method by well-meaning retailers will not have the impact we desire.”

Andrew Ong too felt the Government should urge more local enterprises to support these eco-initiatives.

Many Facebook respondents decided that offering a discount was better than charging customers for using disposable ware. At least one, however, argued that peer pressure would work better than monetary solutions.

“I was influenced by friends around me who brought their own lunch boxes to take away food and refusing to purchase food from stalls using disposables,” commented Ms Elaine Chong.

“Everyone has a part to play, and it’s not just the stall-holders’ responsibility.”

A few commentators suggested other ideas, such as getting retailers to trade in disposable ware for biodegradable takeaway cups, giving perk points, or renting out tumblers for a deposit.

At the root of it? Tackle the "bin it" culture, said Yanni Yoong.

Just how sustainable will the BYO initiative be in convincing Singaporeans to curb their use of disposable ware?

It turns out that Trash Trail’s collaboration will not be the last of its kind. Zero Waste Singapore, a non-governmental organisation, said in a comment on ChannelNewsAsia’s Facebook page that it would launch a similar programme with more local retailers by mid-2017.

Besides, there’s an added incentive for retailers to join the BYO movement.

Ms Rachel Tang, the marketing manager of Symmetry and Xiao Ya Tou, said that apart from being environmentally friendly, initiatives like this “may also be able to help the business defray a little bit of expenses spent on disposable packaging or cleaning services”.

Watch the Trash Trail episode on disposable cups here. New episodes air Mondays at 8pm SG/HK.

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Malaysia: Poaching - A dangerous situation

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 7 Feb 17;

JOHOR BARU: The endangered giant turtle that was found in Singapore and duly returned serves to highlight poaching activities in Malaysia.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) chairman Vincent Chow said the only way the turtle, named Rahayu, could have made its way into the island republic was through it being smuggled in by humans.

“That is the only possible explanation for the turtle found in Singapore as it had a fishhook wedged into its mouth.

“News of the turtle being returned back to its natural habitat here is great for conservation but it also highlights the need for Malaysia to protect its wildlife,” he told The Star when contacted here on Sunday.

Chow stressed that education and awareness campaigns on the growing need for wildlife conservation were important in reaching out to the public.

He added that one of the main reasons poaching activity was rampant was the high demand for medicinal items and consumption by the public.

“If there is no demand, then we will see a drop in poaching activities here in our own backyard.

“This is where education comes in as it would help create general awareness that we must protect our wild animals and the environment,” he added.

Chow also urged the Govern­ment, in particular the relevant agencies, to be more strict when it comes to enforcing Acts that were supposed to protect wildlife.

He said the Government should also engage more with scientists and use the latest technology in studying animals here to help protect them from poachers.

It was recently reported that the Juku Juku turtle was handed over to Malaysian authorities after the animal was spotted crossing a road on the island republic in October 2015.

A wildlife group there rescued Rahayu, which had a fish hook lodged in its mouth.

The authorities here have placed Rahayu back in its natural habitat at an undisclosed location to protect it from poachers.


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Indonesia: Tiger skin traders get four years in prison

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 7 Feb 17;

Two defendants being tried for selling Sumatran tiger skins were each sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday at Rengat District Court in Riau. The sentence was higher than the prosecutors’ demand of three years.

The defendants, Muzainul Achyar bin Muhaimi, 51, and Joko Sujarwanto bin Hadi, 38, were found guilty by the panel of judges comprising presiding judge Agus Akhyudi, Immanuel Sirait and Omori Sitorus. The panel also ordered each defendant to pay Rp 100 million (US$7,500) in fines.

“Should the defendants fail to pay the fines, they have to substitute it with one [additional] month in jail,” Agus said.

The court found the two men had one Sumatran tiger skin that they were intending to sell for Rp 80 million. “Both violated Article 21, clauses 2 and 4 of Law No. 5/1990 on conservation of natural resources and their ecosystems,” Agus said.

“We gave a heavy sentence to provide a deterrent effect for others,” he said.

Achyar and Joko were caught in Indragiri Hulu regency in September last year by a joint team of personnel from the Riau Police, the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s law enforcement unit and Jambi’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency.

Members of the team went undercover as potential buyers for the pelt. The tiger was suspected to have been hunted in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Riau and Jambi provinces.

Achyar said he thought the sentence was too harsh because he was a middleman, not a hunter. (evi)

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Indonesia: Mangrove tourism abundant in Semarang

The Jakarta Post 7 Feb 17;

Semarang in Central Java is home to a number of mangrove forests, popular for tourism. One is located in the Maron Mangrove Edupark.

The 50,000 square meter destination is located on Maron Beach, near the Ahmad Yani International Airport, approximately 20 minutes from the heart of Semarang. According to Antara, it sees 50-100 tourists per day during the weekdays and approximately 500 people on weekends.

Maroon Mangrove Edupark management head Rusmadi stated that the place was created after the developer saw the lack of tourism spots in Semarang. It also aims to bring awareness to the importance of preserving coastal ecosystems.

The park was developed by local residents with the help of college students who were carrying out a community service program, Kuliah Kerja Nyata, and by Semarang-based pharmaceutical company PT Phapros through its CSR program.

Visitors can learn more about mangroves, including how to plant and tend to the trees and can even try planting them themselves at the Maron Mangrove Edupark. To navigate around the area, tourists may opt to walk or ride on a rented boat.

One visitor, Winarno, said he was in awe of the mangrove forest’s beauty but felt that access to the area was rather difficult. “Especially after the rain,” he said, adding that he wished the management would add more rest areas for visitors and enlarge the tourism area.

Edupark’s management team plans to add more transportation options to ease access into the park, such as by providing new boats to transport passengers to Maerokoco Park, a nearby tourism spot.

Aside from Maron Mangrove Park, other mangrove tourism spots in Semarang include Maerokoco Park, Mangrove Ecotourism in Tapak village and the Trimulyo Beach. (mas/kes)

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Thailand approves $1 billion in measures to help farmers in flood-hit south

Reuters 7 Feb 17;

Thailand's cabinet approved measures worth $1 billion to help farmers in its flood-hit south, the commerce ministry said on Tuesday.

Thailand, the world's biggest rubber producer, accounts for nearly 40 percent of the world's natural rubber, most of which is used in car tires. Nearly two-thirds of Thailand's rubber growing area is in the south.

Persistent heavy rain which started in December has triggered floods across Thailand's south, cutting road and rail links, affecting about 1.6 million people and killing 99 so far.

The floods were expected to hit Thailand's rubber output by 7.6 percent this year, authorities have said.

The government will help over 200,000 farmers in the south who have been affected by the recent floods in measures worth 35.43 billion baht ($1 billion), Nattaporn Jatusripiyak, an adviser to the commerce minister, told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.

"Today the cabinet approved aid measures to help those affected floods in southern provinces and Prachuab Kiri Khan," Nattaporn said.

A 10 billion baht ($285.4 million) loan will be offered by the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) for emergency spending.

Another 10 billion baht loan will go into restoring agricultural production.

Other measures include 7.5 billion baht loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to recover their businesses.

Thailand is one of the world's most important exporters of agricultural commodities - including rice and refined sugar. In recent years, it has suffered weather extremes including droughts and heatwaves as well as floods.

Thai rubber authorities have said it was still early to give a full assessment of long-term damage, adding that rubber trees can recover if they are not under water for too long.Thailand's economy has remained sluggish since a 2014 coup and is underperforming regional peers. In a bid to lift the economy, the ruling junta has introduced stimulus measures and ramped up investment in infrastructure.

($1 = 35.04 baht)

(Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat, editing by David Evans)

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Chinese cities suspend live poultry trade on bird flu fears

Channel NewsAsia 7 Feb 17;

BEIJING: An outbreak of a deadly bird flu virus in China's central Hunan province has prompted authorities to put a temporary bar on the sale of live poultry in several cities, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Five people have died in Hunan from the H7N9 avian influenza strain since the start of the year, and 20 have been infected, the provincial centre for disease control and prevention said late on Tuesday.

Live poultry markets are still common in smaller towns and cities around China, although most major cities no longer permit trade in live birds since the bird flu strain first infected humans in 2013.

More than 100 new cases of H7N9 virus have been reported in China since late last year, and experts have warned that the disease is likely to continue spreading.

Markets in Hunan's capital Changsha and other cities including Yueyang have been temporarily closed, said the report.

China is the world's second-biggest poultry consumer.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

- Reuters

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Artificial wetland to clean Shanghai factory water

Channel NewsAsia 7 Feb 17;

PARIS: French wastewater treatment company Suez said Tuesday (Feb 7) it had been awarded a contract to design an artificial wetland to clean water from a petrochemical industrial zone outside Shanghai.

Suez said the 36-hectare "dragonfly zone" will use "the treatment capabilities of the natural environment" to remove micropollutants from water after its discharge from a standard facility that it operates at the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park.

The industrial park, located on Hangzhou Bay to the south of Shanghai, is one of the largest petrochemical industrial sites in Asia and hosts facilities of a number of foreign companies as well as Chinese firms.

Suez says its dragonfly zone concept uses the purification capacities of aquatic eco-systems that are created using locally selected plants to improve the chemical and bacteriological quality of water as it moves through the various pools.

Renovation of 13 hectares of existing wetlands and adding another 23 hectares will require an estimated 18.5 million euros (US$19.7 million).

Suez first tested the technology at a site in southern France in 2009.

- AFP/ek

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