Best of our wild blogs: 6 Jun 17

Celebrating World Oceans Day in Singapore!
Psychedelic Nature

Having a blast at Balik Chek Jawa!
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

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Sustainable businesses can create 230 million jobs in Asia by 2030: Report

Elizabeth Neo Channel NewsAsia 5 Jun 17;

SINGAPORE: Sustainable businesses can unlock new market opportunities worth US$5 trillion and generate about 230 million jobs in Asia by 2030, which represents 12% of the Asian labour force, according to a report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC).

The findings were presented in the Asia edition of its report called Better Business, Better World, which was presented at an annual Ecosperity conference organised by Temasek Holdings. It brings together CEOs, innovators and policymakers from around the world to discuss issues on sustainability growth.

The BSDC report stated that the US$5 trillion in potential market opportunities spread across four areas – food and agriculture, cities, energy and minerals as well as health and wellbeing.

It also found that about half of the opportunities could be found in China, US$1.1 trillion each in India and emerging Asia, and the remaining US$0.7 trillion in developed Asia which include Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

In his opening remarks, Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng noted how businesses are putting sustainability at the core of their operations.

“Consumers are also driving businesses to focus on sustainability, especially millennial and female consumers. Based on a recent Goldman Sachs study, 93 per cent of millennials and 73 per cent of women agree that environmental and social impact is important in their investment decisions,” he said.

“Investors are also starting to take note of sustainability-themed investments. From 2012 to 2016, such investments have grown 14.6 per cent on a compounded annualised basis, to US$2.3 trillion," Mr Lim added.

Delivering his address, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean outlined Singapore experience on the path of sustainable development: “Today natural gas generates around 95 per cent of our electricity and we are among the 20 most carbon efficient countries in the world. This means we produce low levels of carbon emissions for every dollar of GDP generated."

Mr Teo added that Singapore will intensify its efforts to achieve its commitment under the Paris climate agreement.

Source: CNA/gs

Asian cities set to benefit most from green growth as US retreats
As Donald Trump pulls the US out of the Paris climate accord, a report points to $1.5tn in increased growth and millions of jobs heading to Asia’s cities
Fiona Harvey The Guardian 5 Jun 17;

Asian cities will gain by about $1.5 trillion (£1.1tn) a year by 2030 if predictions on green and sustainable growth are proved correct, with tens of millions of new jobs created, and cities across the region seeing improvements in their liveability and environment.

But achieving those goals, and the attendant growth, would be dependent on governments and businesses investing in sustainable cities, and targeting green growth above high-carbon infrastructure.

The report, from the non-profit Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BDSC), found that Asian cities would be among the biggest beneficiaries of the move to achieve the global sustainable development goals. It points to improved air and water, better-designed buildings and public spaces, investment in low-carbon transport, and better use of physical resources, with less waste.

Mark Malloch-Brown, former UN deputy secretary-general and chairman of the BSDC, predicted that businesses would continue to invest in low-carbon growth and not take fright at the withdrawal of the US, the world’s second biggest carbon emitter, from the Paris agreement on climate change.

“I suspect [President Trump] will be surprised how unpopular this decision will be with business,” Malloch-Brown said. “This tilts things back in a way that is not just disruptive for business, but potentially highly dangerous for all of us as citizens. Therefore he may be even more surprised to find how few take the chance to march backwards with him.”

The report found that affordable housing in China, closely followed by other developing countries, was the biggest single economic opportunity. Across the Asia-Pacific region the construction of affordable housing was expected to be worth $505bn by 2030. This would have huge knock-on benefits in reducing consumption, better health, cutting greenhouse gases and staving off dangerous climate change.

“Improving the design and construction of houses will reduce household operating costs and reshape the world’s energy consumption patterns and environmental conditions for years to come,” the report’s authors noted.

Electric vehicles, meanwhile, are projected to make up at least 35% of all car sales in Asia by 2040, transforming cities and reducing air pollution. Shared transport business models, such as carpooling, are also forecast for strong growth.

Ho Ching, chief executive of Temasek Holdings in Singapore and one of the commissioners of the report, said cities should aspire to an “ABC world”: the “active” traits of a robust economy and good life opportunities for citizens; a “beautiful” environment with cohesive and inclusive communities; and “clean” surroundings, characterised by fresh and unpolluted air, clear waters, and measures to combat climate change.

The BSDC forecast that 230m new jobs would be created in cities and across the economies of Asia by 2030 in sustainable goods and services, with benefits from improved agricultural methods to renewable energy and better access to healthcare. By 2030, this would represent an economic boost of $5tn a year, the study found.

Monday’s report is one of a series of projections that have been appearing since January, examining the prospects for sustainable development around the globe. For the growth to be realised, governments and businesses across the region would need to cooperate in stepping up efforts to make their activities more environmentally sound: reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, investing in cleaner fuels and using resources more efficiently.

Although the potential prize may be large, the report also found that governments, businesses and others would need to invest $1.7tn a year in order to reap the greatest potential benefits.

The BSDC’s commissioners are made up of business, organised labour and civic society leaders, with a remit to examine the potential economic and social effects of achieving the international sustainable development goals.

Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever and one of the commissioners, said of the latest report: “the opportunities for businesses serving consumers in Asia are obvious: strategies that sustainably meet the demands of the growing middle-class, while tackling urgent environmental and social challenges, will be successful in unlocking market value. Aligning these strategies with the global goals is not just good for society and the environment, but makes strategic business sense.”

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Singapore's public sector outlines plans to go green

Afifah Ariffin Channel NewsAsia 6 Jun 17;

SINGAPORE: Singapore's public sector is taking the lead in going green when it unveiled its first action plan on Monday (Jun 5), outlining its collective efforts in environmental sustainability.

Specifically, it aims to reduce electricity and water consumption by 15 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, by 2020. From 2013 to 2015, the sector accounted for about 4 per cent of the country's total electricity consumption and 3 per cent of total water consumption.

The public sector comprises of 16 institutions and 64 statutory boards, with more than 145,000 workers and operates about 1,000 facilities across the island.

The plans also include embarking on innovative initiatives and projects, such as food waste recycling in public sector premises and a floating solar testbed in Tengeh Reservoir.

Speaking at the opening of the Singapore Sustainability Academy on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said: "We will expand our green procurement policy to cover more products and adopt green practices for public sector events. Such efforts will help the Government reap cost savings, and build up capabilities in urban sustainability.”

The Singapore Sustainability Academy is a joint collaboration led by property group City Developments Limited (CDL) and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore. It is the first major "people, public and private" initiative in support of Singapore’s environmental and climate change goals.

As a nod to its green credentials, the Singapore Sustainability Academy's new building is self sustainable for its energy needs. For instance, solar panels installed on the building's roof are able to generate enough energy. It is also made of wood from responsible sources and uses smart technology to control lighting and air conditioning.

"It will be a hub for thought leadership, sharing of best practices and we want - whether it is public sector, private sector or people sector - everybody to come and contribute to conserve the environment,” said Ms Esther An, CDL's chief sustainability officer.

Source: CNA/de

Public sector to cut water and electricity usage by 2020, saving S$62.5 million annually
NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 5 Jun 17;

SINGAPORE — The public sector will use less electricity and water in its bid to do more for the environment, under an inaugural three-year sustainability roadmap unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

The water and electricity saved can fill up 360 Olympic-sized pools and power 50,000 households a year respectively, translating into annual savings of some S$62.5 million in total for the Government.

On Monday (June 5), Mr Teo, who is also Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service and Coordinating Minister for National Security, announced the public sector’s plan to cut electricity consumption by more than 15 per cent, and water consumption by more than 5 per cent by 2020, from Financial Year 2013 levels.

Comprising 16 government ministries and 64 statutory boards, the public sector is Singapore’s largest employer with about 145,000 staff.

From 2013 to 2015, the public sector accounted for 4 per cent of Singapore’s total electricity consumption and 3 per cent of total water consumed, on average.

The electricity savings will amount to S$60 million a year, with the reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to that of almost 28,000 cars in a year, according to the Public Sector Sustainability Plan 2017-2020, which is available on the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources’ website.

Electricity-saving measures include replacing or upgrading aircon systems and lights, and promoting good consumption habits.

The water saved will translate into cost savings of almost S$2.5 million annually. Water-saving measures include having water-efficient fittings in buildings, efficient irrigation systems and replacement of inefficient aircon cooling towers.

All new public sector buildings will also attain the Green Mark Platinum standard, and existing buildings will strive for at least the Green Mark Gold standard. The new Our Tampines Hub – whose second and third phases will be completed this year – is an example of a Green Mark Platinum building.

Agencies that lease office spaces are to lease them from buildings with at least a Green Mark Gold Plus rating, when their current lease expires.

Plans are also in place to buy “green”. The public sector plans to hold events and functions only in venues with at least Green Mark-certified rating. Since 2015, the public sector has been buying only printing paper with the Singapore Environment Council’s Green Label certification.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Sustainability Academy at City Square Mall, Mr Teo said the public sector can accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices and “have a demonstrative effect”.

By 2020, 5,500 public housing blocks will have solar panels, tripling the deployment of solar energy to 350 megawatt-peak, from the 126 megawatt-peak today. The plan is to have more than 1 gigawatt-peak after 2020, which will represent about 15 per cent of electrical power demand at peak during the day, said Mr Teo.

Under the global Paris climate agreement, Singapore has committed to cut its emissions per dollar of gross domestic product by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. “To achieve our objectives, we will require a concerted effort – from government, from businesses, and from everyone in Singapore,” said Mr Teo.

The Singapore Sustainability Academy, jointly created by property developer City Developments Limited and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore, is fully solar-powered. The facility, which is used for training and networking, is also the first in Singapore to have its construction materials – Cross Laminated Timber and Glued Laminated Timber – verified as coming from responsible sources, said CDL deputy chief executive Sherman Kwek. This entails scientific tests such as DNA analysis to minimise the risk of the wood coming from illegal logging.

145,000 Number of public officers
4% Its share of Singapore’s total electricity consumption (on average, 2013 to 2015)
3% Its share of Singapore’s total water consumption (on average, 2013 to 2015)
50,000 Number of households which the electricity savings can power for a year (or 290 GWh)
360 Number of Olympic-sized pools which the water savings can fill each year (or 900,000 cubic metres a year)

Public sector to lead green push by cutting electricity, water use
It will also occupy environmentally friendly premises and buy more green products
Melissa Lin Straits Times 6 Jun 17;

Singapore's biggest employer plans to slash its consumption of electricity and water as part of a nationwide "go green" plan unveiled yesterday.

By 2020, the public sector will use 15 per cent less electricity and 5 per cent less water compared with 2013 levels, according to the Public Sector Sustainability Plan 2017-2020 announced by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

As part of this, the temperature setting for thermostats in air-conditioned public-sector offices will be set higher, Mr Teo said.

Such steps could save about $62.5 million a year, apart from being gentler on the environment.

For a start, premises will be greener. All new public-sector buildings will attain the highest Green Mark Platinum standard, and existing buildings will aim for at least the Green Mark Gold standard - to take their place in the certification scheme for environmentally friendly buildings.

Events and functions will be held in venues with at least a Green Mark Certified rating - the basic certification grade.

The public sector will also buy more green electronics and paper products for its offices. Food waste will be recycled in public-sector premises and a floating solar test-bed will be set up in Tengeh Reservoir. The sector will also continue to invest in green technologies and seek innovative ways to harness renewable energy.

"This will help transform the way the public sector operates and set an example for the wider community to adopt sustainability as our way of life," added Mr Teo, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security.

The public sector is Singapore's largest employer, comprising 16 ministries and 64 statutory boards, and about 145,000 officers.

From 2013 to 2015, the sector accounted for an average of 4 per cent of Singapore's total electricity consumption and 3 per cent of total water consumption.

Under the Paris Agreement, Singapore has committed to reduce emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, hoping to peak around then.

"To achieve our objectives, we will require a concerted effort - from government, from businesses and from everyone in Singapore," Mr Teo said at the official opening of the Singapore Sustainability Academy, a major training and networking facility focused on promoting sustainability.

The zero-energy academy - it will produce its own power using solar panels - is located on the rooftop terrace of City Square Mall in Kitchener Road, and was jointly created by developer City Developments and a non-profit organisation, the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore.

Welcoming the public sector's action plan, the Singapore Environment Council said it has seen increased interest among private- sector firms in going green.

"One major driver behind this is the growing number of discerning consumers who are choosing which product to buy and which company to support based on their ethical and environmental cultures," said a spokesman.

"As ethical green consumerism grows in Singapore, it will increasingly make good business sense for companies to act sustainably."

The plan was one of several green initiatives announced yesterday. These include the launch of an eco-label to help consumers identify products with reduced packaging. Singapore Post and Singtel have also started a nationwide recycling programme for unwanted electronics.

Getting Singapore to go green
Melissa Lin Straits Times 7 Jun 17;

On Monday, the public sector unveiled an action plan to slash its consumption of electricity and water in a bid to fight climate change.

By 2020, the public sector will use 15 per cent less electricity and 5 per cent less water compared with 2013 levels, according to the Public Sector Sustainability Plan 2017-2020.

Meeting the targets could result in cost savings of about $62.5 million a year.

The sector will also embark on green initiatives. These include food waste recycling in public-sector premises and the procurement of sustainably sourced paper products.

As a low-lying island state, Singapore is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as higher sea levels, hotter weather and more extreme rainfall.

In its Second National Climate Change Study, which was released in 2015, the Centre for Climate Research Singapore projected that the average temperature in Singapore could increase by up to 4.6 deg C by the end of this century.

The study added that the sea level could rise by up to 1m if no action is taken.

The latest move to go green by the public sector demonstrates the Singapore Government's commitment to the Paris climate change agreement.

The Republic has pledged to reduce its emissions intensity - the ratio of carbon emissions to each dollar of the gross domestic product - by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, by 2030.

It has also pledged to stabilise emissions, with the aim of peaking around 2030.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean has said that achieving these objectives would require a concerted effort from the Government, businesses and everyone in Singapore.

With the public sector - Singapore's largest employer with about 145,000 officers - taking the lead to go green, the hope is that businesses and individuals will follow suit.

Melissa Lin

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1,600 volunteers clear trash at East Coast Park to mark World Environment Day

Channel NewsAsia 5 Jun 17;

SINGAPORE: To mark World Environment Day on Monday (Jun 5), more than 1,600 students and staff members from Temasek Polytechnic, together with Mediacorp staff volunteers, teamed up to clean 6km of the East Coast Park beach on May 24.

This was the largest beach cleanup organised by Mediacorp. Cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bottles and Styrofoam containers were some of the marine litter collected.

The effort is part of Mediacorp’s Saving Gaia green initiative, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The media company first launched its month-long green campaign across its television, news, radio and print platforms in 2007 to spread its message on the importance of protecting the environment.

Mediacorp undertook its first beach cleanup in 2013. Through staff volunteerism and partnership with institutions such as Temasek Polytechnic, more organisations, institutions and the public have since stepped forward to do their part for the environment.

“Besides making the beaches dirty, litter such as plastics, metal or glass that travels to the seas can suffocate marine life. I urge more families to pick up their own litter after family outings or picnics at the beaches,” said Mr Anandh Gadhadharan, a first-year student at Temasek Polytechnic who took part in this year’s cleanup.

Logos of Mediacorp’s key platforms including television channels, websites and social media sites will adopt a green hue – symbolising the environment – for 24 hours on Monday in celebration of World Environment Day.
Source: CNA/cy

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Malaysia: Has the ‘No free plastic bags’ ruling helped the environment?

WONG LI ZA The Star 6 Jun 17;

My car boot is half occupied with at least three reusable bags, two sets of tiffin carriers and an empty box.

The reusable bags are for weekend grocery shopping, the tiffin carriers for when I pack hot foods, while the box is for, well, “just in case”.

It has been over five months since (free) plastic bags and polystyrene food containers have been banned in Selangor and the Federal Territories.

Under the ruling (first implemented in January), plastic bags can only be dispensed for things like raw meat, plants (or roots covered in sand or soil like potatoes and ginger), and products like seafood. Otherwise, consumers are supposed to pay 20 sen for each plastic bag they require from stores.

The reason for the ruling was to reduce “everlasting trash” – plastic bags take 20 to 1,000 years to decompose in the environment, while polystyrene does not biodegrade under natural circumstances.

Coupled with the Malaysian habit of throwing rubbish everywhere, such bags and food containers have plagued our landscape and clogged our waterways, requiring much cost and manpower for clean ups. When they reach the sea, they break down into microplastic particles, which are then eaten by marine life – which we then eat!

The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association estimates that the average Malaysian uses 300 plastic bags a year (almost one every day), bringing the total to nine billion bags (based on a population of 30 million).

Festive shopping

However, what impact has this ruling had on the environment? This is especially relevant with the upcoming Raya festivities, where there will be much more shopping involved.

Environment and Solid Waste Management specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong said that the impact has been rather minimal so far.

“Personally, I feel the impact on the environment is not very significant as a whole. People still rely on plastic bags, at least for trash, so that means they may have to buy rubbish bags which are larger and heavier,” explained Theng, who is also deputy chairman of the Association of Environmental Consultants and Companies of Malaysia.

“Nevertheless, from my observation, more people are bringing their own shopping bags nowadays compared to before. They are (sort of) forced to do it and also, it has become a habit,” he said.

“However, should we raise awareness by education or by force? People who bring shopping bags may still litter and use plastic bags whenever they are available for free,” added Theng.

Anthony Tan, executive director for the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (Cetdem), observed more shoppers bringing and using reusable shopping bags at supermarkets.

“I think people have grown to see the monetary benefit of carrying their own reusable bags or carriers. But unfortunately, I have also seen shoppers pull off 10 to 20 clear (free) plastic bags at the grocery sections (of supermarkets)!” said Tan.

Are paper bags a good alternative to plastic bags?

Theng noted that not all types of paper can be recycled.

“If people get it for free, they take it for granted and a wasteful attitude will contribute to more paper waste. Always bear in mind that paper is made from trees. And how many paper production (companies) have so called ‘reforestation’ policies?” said Theng.

Rethinking bags

Tan felt that there is a need to re-think the basic purpose of bags.

“Is it for single use, for dry goods or for wet produce? Is it to transport goods from payment counter to vehicle?” he asked.

“Maybe shoppers can adapt to using boxes in their vehicles to store the items until they get home.”

What then is a more effective way to reduce the use of non-degradable plastic bags and reduce its impact on the environment?

“Instead of reducing the use, I would rather focus on disposal. Only if plastic bag prices are high will people use it more wisely and segregate it for recycling. Almost all plastic bags can be recycled, just like your newspaper or aluminium cans (which have a ringgit value for recycling),” said Theng.

“Is banning plastic bags or polystyrene making Malaysia cleaner as a whole? From the waste management point of view, it is simply a tiny (part) of a (bigger) issue.

“We have over 160 landfills in the country. More than 90% of those are still open dumps with serious pollution issues. We still have so many unsolved problems in waste management,” said Theng.

Tan said that manufacturers have to innovate and find new eco-friendly alternatives for plastic bags.

The 20 sen story

Currently, many retailers use the 20 sen collected from sales of plastic bags towards green causes.

For leading retailer AEON, the money collected goes to the AEON Green Fund which supports the company’s environmental and corporate social responsibility activities.

Projects under the Green Fund include:

– Reforestation and rehabilitation of an orangutan sanctuary at North Ulu Segama, Lahad Datu, Sabah, in collaboration with WWF-Malaysia and Sabah Forestry Department

– Conservation work at Bidong Island, and a beach clean-up at Pantai Batu Burok (both in Terengganu)

– Tree planting activities at Bidor, Perak, and

– Special reusable shopping bags in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

It was also reported that retailer 99 Speedmart had contributed RM1mil to the Shah Alam City Council and Klang Municipal Council to clean up the Klang River.

The Giant chain of hypermarkets and supermarkets also uses the money collected from dispensing plastic bags for its “Sentuhan Hijau” (Green Touch) environmental campaign.

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Borneo Could Lose 75 Percent of Its Forest by 2020: WW

On World Environment Day (05/06), World Wildlife Fund Indonesia and Malaysia released an executive summary of an upcoming publication titled 'The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016,' predicting that Borneo could lose 75 percent of its forest by 2020 due to the alarming level of deforestation on the island.
Jakarta Globe 5 Jun 17;

Jakarta. On World Environment Day (05/06), World Wildlife Fund Indonesia and Malaysia released an executive summary of an upcoming publication titled "The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016," predicting that Borneo could lose 75 percent of its forest by 2020 due to the alarming level of deforestation on the island.

Borneo is home to a diverse range of plants and animal species, with rich resources that sustain the livelihood of 11 million people — including 1 million indigenous people — from Brunei, the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, and Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Only 71 percent of the 74 million hectares of Boreno's forest was left in 2005, and only 55 percent was left in 2015.

Projections indicate that if the deforestation continues at this rate, a further 6 million hectares of forest will be destroyed by 2020, leaving less than a third left by 2020.

Lowland forest areas — which are a critical habitat for the conservation of many unique species — are by far the most in danger in Borneo due to logging, palm oil plantation and production, and other agricultural activities. As a result, lowland forests in Borneo are expected to lose 10-13 million hectares of forest area between 2015-2020.

This also means that certain species, including the critically endangered orangutans, are more at risk of losing their habitat.

"This World Environment Day is a good opportunity to draw attention to the state of the environment that we are passing on to the generations to come," WWF Malaysia executive director and chief executive, Dionysius Sharma said in an official statement.

"We need to act now and act fast to save Borneo's forests. Together, we can help make one of the world's last remaining expanses of forest in Borneo a better place to live in, both for us humans as well as the biodiversity that thrives in this unique tropical rainforest island," he said.

The data, which will be explained further in the full report, which is scheduled for publication by the end of this month, is expected to raise awareness to encourage more people to save Borneo's forests.

"It is important to have a clear and comprehensive overview of the current and previous environmental status of Borneo, including the Heart of Borneo, to see where major changes of the ecological conditions are occurring, "WWF Indonesia acting chief executive Benja V. Mambai said.

"As this report presents as such, we hope that the result of this regular environmental analysis would guide the authorities and our stakeholders to take effective steps to address the declining state of the environment," Benja added.

Heart of Borneo

However, there is positive news for the area known as the Heart of Borneo, which has fared far better than Borneo's lowlands and coastal areas.

The Heart of Borneo is a conservation agreement initiated by the WWF for Nature to protect 22 million hectares of forested region on Borneo and is one of the parts of the island where the forests remain intact.

Considerable work has been carried out under the Heart of Borneo Initiative by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, who signed a declaration in February 2007 to conserve the area's natural heritage.

"The Heart of Borneo Initiative has been ongoing for 10 years now and has gained increased support from all of our major stakeholders," WWF Indonesia acting chief executive Benja V. Mambai said.

WWF releases exclusive summary on Borneo on World Environment Day
Antara 5 Jun 17;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia and Malaysia released an exclusive publication of "The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016" to commemorate this years World Environment Day.

Acting CEO of WWF Indonesia Benja V. Mambai highlighted the importance of having a clear and comprehensive picture of Borneos forests, including the Heart of Borneo, currently and earlier, to analyze where major changes in the ecological conditions occur.

"This will help us to better monitor and plan our future business on this island," he noted in a press release received by ANTARA on Monday.

As being stated in the report, Mambai expressed hope that results of the existing analysis would guide the authorities and stakeholders to adopt effective measures to address the declining environmental conditions in Borneo.

The Heart of Borneo initiative has been running for a decade and has received full support from all key stakeholders.

Although several challenges still remain, the report provides positive progress in some areas of the ecosystem. The Heart of Borneo, which is located in the middle of the island, fared much better than the lowlands and coastal areas.

Along with WWF Malaysia, WWF Indonesia has put in every effort to help make one of Borneos last remaining forest areas in the world a better place for humans and the biodiversity that thrives on this unique tropical rainforest island.

The island of Borneo is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species and is rich in natural resources essential for the survival of 11 million people, including a million indigenous people living in the Heart of Borneo area, who have been managing its natural wealth sustainably for centuries. However, not all is fine.

The exclusive summary of the latter report reveals that Brunei Darussalam, provinces in Kalimantan, and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo are in danger, as they are slowly losing their key ecosystems that are critical to the long-term survival of local and economic communities, both nationally and regionally.

According to the report, approximately 74 million hectares, or 55 percent of the forest cover, had been lost by 2015. In closed forest areas, fragmentation is widespread, with deforestation on the rise. In a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario by 2020, it is estimated that Borneo could lose 75 percent of its forests.

According to the projection in the report, if the deforestation rate during the 2005-2015 period continues in line with the BAU scenario, another six million hectares of forests are likely to vanish in the next five years from 2015 and 2020.

The full report of the WWF Environmental Status of Borneo 2016 will be released at the end of June 2017.

It is the third edition of a report detailing the critical condition of ecosystems and plant and animal indicators to assess changes in landscape and reduction in forest cover by drawing references from the historical levels in the past three- to five-year intervals, from 2005 to 2015.(*)

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Indonesia: Helicopter drops 40 tons of water to extinguish Riau fires

Antara 5 Jun 17;

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - Riau Provinces forest and land fire task force has deployed an MI-8 helicopter to drop 40 tons of water to extinguish forest fires in Kampar District, spokesperson of the Roesmin Nurjadin airbase Maj. Sus Rizwar stated.

"We conducted water bombing 10 times on several hotspots on Sunday," Rizwar revealed in the provinces capital city, Pekanbaru.

Fires in some major hotspots were successfully extinguished after three hours of water bombing operations.

The air forces Super Puma helicopter had earlier detected fire at the first hotspot on Sunday afternoon, the spokesperson added.

Following the report, the task force continued conducting patrols in two different districts: Rokan Hulu and Kampar.

During the patrols, the task force was assisted by the province Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency in mapping out other hotspots in the areas.

"After extinguishing fires in Rokan Hulu District, the task force received a report on fires in Kampar District. We have coordinated with the local authority to take immediate action," he remarked while adding that the task force, military, and other stakeholders will continue to maintain coordination in battling fires that potentially rage during the dry season.

The air force has readied five helicopters, including MI-171, MI-172, MI-8, and S-61, at the Roesmin Noerjadin airbase in the province, according to Rizwar.

"We planned to deploy the helicopters at three main hotspots, including Dumai City and Indragiri Hulu," Head of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency Edwar Sanger remarked.

He further explained that the National Disaster Management Agency and the provincial governments had established coordination to tackle fires, which likely rage during the dry season in June and November.

Earlier last month, the climatology agency had spotted seven hotspots in the provinces several areas, including Pelalawan, Kuantan Sengingi, Indragiri Hilir, and Siak.(*)

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