Best of our wild blogs: 2 Mar 18

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Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Cyrene with special snail
wild shores of singapore

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Microsoft to buy solar power in Singapore in first renewable deal in Asia

Channel NewsAsia 1 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE: Microsoft said on Thursday it will buy solar power from the Sunseap Group in Singapore, the technology company's first renewable energy deal in Asia.

Microsoft will purchase 100 per cent of the electricity generated from Sunseap's 60 megawatt-peak solar power project for 20 years for its Singapore data operations, the software company said in a statement. Sunseap's project consists of an array of solar panels on hundreds of rooftops across the city-state.

"This deal is Microsoft's first renewable energy deal in Asia, and is our third international clean energy announcement, following two wind deals announced in Ireland and the Netherlands in 2017," said Mr Christian Belady, general manager, cloud infrastructure strategy and architecture at Microsoft.

Microsoft said it is on track to exceed its goal of powering 50 per cent of its global data centre load with renewable energy this year.

"Once operational, the new solar project will bring Microsoft's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to 860 megawatts," Mr Belady said.

The solar project is under construction and will be operational by the end of the year, the companies said.

(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Source: Reuters

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Showering, flushing account for nearly half of water used in homes: PUB study

Gwyneth Teo Channel NewsAsia 1 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE: Showering and flushing make up nearly half of the water used in homes, national water agency PUB said on Thursday (Mar 1).

In a study done with 400 households in 2016 and 2017, PUB found that showering remained the largest guzzler of water in homes at 27 per cent. This was followed by flushing at 18 per cent, kitchen use at 16 per cent and laundry at 15 per cent.

The numbers are similar to its findings in a 2004 study, where showering accounted for 29 per cent of water usage in homes, while flushing made up 16 per cent.

In addition to water usage, the latest study also included information on water-efficient fittings in households.

In 2009, PUB introduced the Mandatory Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (MWELS), which requires suppliers to display the water-efficiency ratings of appliances of fittings. This allows customers to make informed purchasing choices. At the same time, minimum water efficiency standards for the products were introduced.

Products under MWELS include taps and mixers, low-capacity flushing cisterns, urinal flush valves and waterless urinals, and washing machines.

PUB found in its latest household water usage survey that more than half of the water fittings in toilets, kitchen sinks, showers and washing machines were efficient.

The water agency said this indicates a high penetration of water-efficient appliances and fittings in Singaporean households, and also shows a preference for water-saving devices.

Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive of PUB, said: “We are heartened that MWELS has helped people make more informed purchasing decisions. We will certainly continue to work with suppliers and retailers to bring equipment that are even more water efficient to market, so consumers can save even more water."

The PUB has implemented several programmes over the years to help households save water.

In 2017, it launched the three-year Water Closer Replacement Project, replacing inefficient nine-litre water closets in 1,100 eligible households on community assistance with efficient ones for free.

Those households saw an average 10 per cent reduction in monthly water usage. The project will reach about 7,000 households in total.

It also previously announced that it will embark on the Smart Shower Programme in 10,000 new homes to tackle the household area with the highest water consumption.

In this programme, a non-electrical, hydro-powered smart device provides users with real-time feedback on water consumption during showers.

A trial of the programme saw 500 households save 5 litres per person per day on average, resulting in an overall saving of 3 per cent on monthly water usage.

PUB hopes to prove the effectiveness of the device on a larger scale, and will bear the cost of the devices.

PUB will be kicking off its annual month-long water conservation campaign this Saturday.

President Halimah Yacob will join more than 4,000 participants in taking the inaugural "I Save" pledge to declare their commitment to saving water and fighting climate change.

To date, 4,700 pledges have already been taken to conserve water using five specific water saving tips. PUB expects to collect about 50,000 pledges during the month-long campaign.

There will also be more than 50 roadshows across the island, which makes this year's campaign the largest to date.

Source: CNA/aj

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Malaysia to press EU on planned palm oil ban in biofuels

AFP Yahoo News 1 Mar 18;

Singapore (AFP) - Malaysia will press the European Union not to ban palm oil in biofuels during talks this week, the country's trade minister said Thursday, warning the move would hit the rural poor.

The European Parliament earlier this year voted in favour of a draft law on renewable energy that calls for the use of palm oil in biofuels to be banned from 2021, amid mounting worries about its impact on the environment.

Malaysia and Indonesia will be hard hit as they are the world's top exporters of palm oil.

Malaysian Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed said he will raise the issue when he meets with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade ministers' meeting in Singapore.

The two-day meeting began Thursday and includes talks with Malmstroem, who is heading an EU delegation. ASEAN is a regional bloc of 10 Southeast Asian nations.

"This is a subject that is very important to us. Of course, I will raise the subject with her when I see her later," Mustapa told reporters.

"We've been in communication and they've been providing assurances that this is not final yet," he said, adding that the European Parliament vote is not yet binding.

He said the livelihoods of more than 650,000 smallholders living in rural Malaysia would be affected by any ban.

"You cannot discriminate against the poor people of Malaysia and Indonesia," he said.

Palm oil, also a major ingredient in products from food to cosmetics, has long been controversial as environmentalists say it drives deforestation, with huge swathes of rainforest logged in recent decades to make way for plantations.

The use of the commodity in food and cosmetics had already dropped in Europe, partly due to pressure from green groups on major corporations, but has been increasing in biofuels.

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Malaysia: Elephant strolls through school canteen in Sabah

stephanie lee The Star 1 Mar 18;

KOTA KINABALU: The unexpected appearance of an elephant caused panic among teachers and students of SMK Telupid when it sauntered through their school canteen on Thursday morning.

Beluran police chief Supt V. Shivananthan said the incident, which happened at 6am, was the second case this year involving elephants trespassing into inhabited areas in Sabah's interior Telupid district.

"This morning, an elephant went into the SMK Telupid canteen in search for food, shocking students and teachers," he said.

On Feb 28, about 10 elephants entered the compound of the Beluran police station after the herd got through the fence, he added.

Meanwhile, wildlife rangers have their hands full trying to locate the elephants following reports of them wandering into the police station and school.

Wildlife Rescue Unit veterinarian Dr Diana Ramirez, who is part of the team trying to relocate the elephants back into the forest, said they have been trying to keep the herd away from humans and residential areas for the past month.

"We are still trying to capture more and get the herd away from humans," she said.

She said they managed to capture four elephants – believed to be the more aggressive ones – about a week ago and these would be translocated soon.

It is estimated that there are about 20 elephants which are terrorising villagers and wildlife rangers as well as destroying plantations and property.

Sabah Wildlife employee pursued by elephants falls into ravine
HAZSYAH ABDUL RAHMAN New Straits Times 2 Mar 18;

TELUPID: An employee of the Sabah Wildlife Department fell into a ravine when chased by elephants yesterday.

The 30-year-old victim was injured but is now stable after treatment.

Department director Augustine Tuuga said he was trying to get rid of the elephants roaming around the district police station and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Telupid here but fell into the ravine when trying to escape from the elephants.

He added that the human-elephant conflict here involved more than 20 elephants has been going on for a year

“All had been captured and translocated to the Deramakot Forest Reserve.

"However, the herd came back here again from Dec 18,” Augustine said, adding the department had despatched many of its personnel from other districts to address the issue.

He added they also sought help from the youth in several villages here, Civil Defence personnel, and non-governmental organisations.

However, they only captured five elephants and translocated them to Imbak Canyon forest reserve.

NSTP had yesterday reported that students and teachers of SMK Telupid here were shocked when an elephant strolled into their school in the morning.

The unexpected 6am visit saw the lone pachyderm enter the school premises before heading for the canteen, apparently in search of food.

The herd had also gone into district police station after damaging the fence.

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