Best of our wild blogs: 13 Aug 18

Sea fan garden at Changi
wild shores of singapore

Cyrene with Burrowing giant clams!
wild shores of singapore

NParks and the Curious Case of 818K
Wan's Ubin Journal

National Day Durian Walk by Cicada Tree Eco-Place at MacRitchie Forest
Love our MacRitchie Forest

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Malaysia: It’s going to be hot until October

razak ahmad The Star 13 Aug 18;

PETALING JAYA: It is scorching hot in many parts of the country and will remain so until the inter-monsoon season arrives in Octo­ber.

Kapit in Sarawak was the hottest spot in the country at 37°C, according to a check on the Malaysian Meteorological Department (Met­Ma­l­ay­sia) website.

The next hottest locations were Kuala Krai in Kelantan; Sibu and Sri Aman (Sarawak); Temerloh (Pahang); and Mersing (Johor), which all recorded 35°C.

The hottest state capitals were Ipoh (Perak), Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Kuching (Sarawak) and Kuantan (Pahang), which were all at 34°C.

Meanwhile, Perak, Pahang, Kel­antan and Sabah were the warmest states with an average highest temperature of 34°C.

According to MetMalaysia, the average highest temperatures from yesterday until Saturday will remain at 34°C in all four states except Sabah, where the average highest temperature is forecast to drop to 33°C on Friday and Saturday.

The hot weather has affected many people in several states.

Temperatures in many parts of the country have been rising due to the current South-West monsoon, which started in the third week of May.

According to the country’s official definition of a heatwave, temperatures between 35-37°C for three days straight are classified as “alert level” or Category 1.

Category 2 or “heatwave level” is defined as temperatures over 37°C for three days straight, while Cate­gory 3 or “emergency level” is when the temperature soars above 40°C for three days in a row.

The classifications were defined at a 2016 national technical meeting on tackling El NiƱo and dry weather.

On July 28, Sik (Kedah), Kuala Krai and Beluran (Sabah) recorded maximum temperatures between 35°C and 37°C for more than three days, putting them on a heatwave alert.

In a recent statement, Met­Malaysia director-general Alui Bahari said the country’s atmosphere is generally drier due to reduced convection during the southwest monsoon.

Convection is when warm air rises and produces an upward current in the atmosphere, creating wind, clouds or other weather.

“As such, the country will experience more days without rain in this period compared to others,” said Alui.

However, the arrival of the inter-monsoon period in October is expected to bring cooler weather.

Throughout the inter-monsoon season, late afternoon and early evening thunderstorms and heavy rains are forecast in the west coast Peninsular states and western Sabah, along with western and central Sarawak, according to Met­Malaysia’s forecast.

In addition, most parts of Pen­insular Malaysia are expected to receive higher than normal rainfall at this time.

The inter-monsoon will be followed by the northeast monsoon, which starts in November and ends in March.

The North-East monsoon brings heavy rains, especially to the east coast of the peninsula and western Sarawak, which often leads to floods in some of the affected areas.

A major heatwave recently hit Europe, Japan and some other parts of the world.

The phenomenon reportedly killed 50 in Canada and 80 in Japan, led to droughts in Germany and caused temperatures to spike to record levels in Britain, Algeria, Morocco and Oman.

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Indonesia: More hot spots found in Riau ahead of Asian Games

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 12 Aug 18;

A spell of unusual heat in Riau has seen the number of hot spots rise from zero to 55 in only two days, according to official data.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said on Sunday that the hot spots were spread out across eight municipalities of the province. The regency of Rokan Hilir recorded the highest number with 33 hot spots, while Bengkalis, Siak and Pelalawan recorded eight, six and three hot spots, respectively. Rokan Hulu, Dumai, the Meranti Islands and Kuantan Singingi each had one hot spot.

“Thirty-two of the 55 hot spots have a level of certainty above 70 percent, meaning there are ongoing fires in the forests there,” Pekanbaru BMKG head Sukisno said, adding that the hot spots began to emerge on Saturday afternoon.

Hot spots across the entire island of Sumatra have increased from just two on Saturday morning to 120 by Sunday morning, including in Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Lampung and Bangka Belitung--with Riau recording the most hot spots.

Separately, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) secretary-general Dody Ruswandi said the agency had deployed six helicopters to fight fires in Riau through water bombing. Ten more helicopters were used to eliminate fires in other provinces of Sumatra, including Jambi and South Sumatra.

Authorities across Sumatra are working hard to prevent hot spots from escalating into conflagrations that could disrupt the Asian Games, the opening ceremony of which will be held on Aug. 18 in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra. (vny)

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Flash floods kill 37 in India's tourist hotspot Kerala

AFP Yahoo News 11 Aug 18;

New Delhi (AFP) - Flash floods in Kerala have killed 37 people and displaced around 36,000, Indian officials said Saturday, after heavy monsoons led to landslides and overflowing reservoirs across the southern state.

Kerala, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season.

Those forced from their homes "have moved to 350 relief camps across the state", an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management control room told AFP.

The army has been roped in for rescue efforts in Kerala after two days of heavy rain drove authorities to open the shutters of 27 reservoirs to drain out the excess water.

One of the five shutters of a large reservoir in the mountainous Idukki district was opened for the first time in 26 years.

"Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

"The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation. Many lives were lost. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed," he added, lauding the efforts of rescue teams working in the state from across India.

The US embassy Thursday advised its citizens to avoid the areas affected and monitor local media for weather updates.

More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year, according to official data.

The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki.

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France to set penalties on non-recycled plastic

Julien DURY, AFP Yahoo News 13 Aug 18;

Paris (AFP) - France plans to introduce a penalty system next year that would increase the costs of consumer goods with packaging made of non-recycled plastic, part of a pledge to use only recycled plastic nationwide by 2025, an environment ministry official said Sunday.

Brune Poirson, secretary of state for ecological transition, said the move was one of several to be implemented in coming years, including a deposit-refund scheme for plastic bottles.

"Declaring war on plastic is not enough. We need to transform the French economy," she told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Under the new plan, products with recycled plastic packaging could cost up to 10 percent less, Poirson said.

"When there's a choice between two bottles, one made of recycled plastic and the other without, the first will be less expensive," she said.

"When non-recycled plastic will cost more, that will eliminate much of the excessive packaging," Poirson said.

Flore Berlingen of the association Zero Waste France told AFP: "We're hoping that companies play along so that clients aren't the ones penalised" by the new measure.

Emmanuel Guichard of the Elipso federation of plastic packaging makers gave a cautious welcome to the French plan.

"For bottles, giving consumers a choice is possible. But we can't forget other items -- today there's no recycled plastic available for yogurt pots," he said.

Ubiquitous images on social media of marine fauna suffocated by plastics, as well as initiatives such as "plastic attacks" -- which see shoppers dump all the packaging of their purchases outside supermarkets -- have begun to spur political responses around the world.

- 'Only part of the solution' -

The French plan is "part of the solution, albeit incomplete, since it is only about recycling and not reducing plastic," remarked Fanny Vismara, an organiser of "plastic attacks" in France.

She noted that glass, unlike plastic, is "infinitely recyclable".

Berlingen added: "Recycling is necessary but not sufficient. We absolutely must cut off the flow and have more stringent measures against over-packaging and disposable objects."

France currently recycles around 25 percent of its plastic, according to the magazine 60 Million Consumers.

It has already outlawed single-use plastic bags in supermarkets unless they can be composted, hoping to encourage people to shop with their own bags.

The French government also aims to increase taxes on burying trash in landfills while cutting taxes for recycling operations, hoping to address the growing problem of tonnes of plastic finding its way into oceans.

The Carrefour and Leclerc supermarket chains have said they will quit selling plastic straws in the coming months, ahead of a law outlawing them by 2020.

The European Commission also wants to sharply cut down on single-use plastic objects, announcing in May rules requiring the use of alternative materials and incentives for businesses.

Plastic production has soared more than 40 percent globally over the past 10 years, mainly for packaging.

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