Best of our wild blogs: 10 Sep 18

Special Changi shore finally cleaned of oil, still alive!
wild shores of singapore

16 Sep (Sun): Marine identification workshop
wild shores of singapore

Going vegetarian for the environment
BES Drongos

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How supermarkets fight food waste in Singapore

Gilaine Ng The New Paper 10 Sep 18;

Last month, 24-hour store Mustafa Centre was found to be disposing of nearly 100kg of fruits and vegetables daily, sparking concerns about food waste in Singapore.

According to the National Environmental Agency, the amount of food waste generated in Singapore has increased by about 40 per cent over the past 10 years.

This number is expected to increase with Singapore's growing population and economic activity.

Last year alone, 676,800 tonnes of food waste was disposed of. Only 133,000 tonnes of food waste was recycled. The remaining food waste was disposed of at waste-to-energy plants for incineration.

Mustafa Centre typically throws out produce that remains unsold after three days, Shin Min Daily News reported.

It also receives new stock of fruits and vegetables daily.

"There are no stipulated rules or regulations in place, with employees free to determine what types of produce should be disposed of and what can be kept," a worker from Mustafa Centre told Shin Min.

But most major supermarkets - including Giant, Cold Storage, FairPrice and Sheng Siong - emphasised the importance of minimising food waste and environmental sustainability, when interviewed by The New Paper.

Sound purchasing policy and proper inventory management systems help supermarkets prevent overordering from suppliers.

Reduced-to-clear promotions for fruits and vegetables that are close to expiry or blemished are a common strategy adopted by these supermarkets.

A FairPrice spokesman told TNP that by doing so, it was able to save 675,000kg of fruits and vegetables across 145 stores islandwide last year.

Where products still remain unsold, FairPrice donates them to Food from the Heart (FFTH) as part of a long-term partnership.

The donations amount to more than $25,000 worth of items monthly, distributed across 41 charities.

"Over the recent Hari Raya, we partnered FFTH and Food Bank (another charity) to benefit the community in line with their celebrations for the month of Ramadan.

"We also supported Ngee Ann Polytechnic's 10-Tonne Food Drive for Food Bank, which gives to the needy and reduces food waste by providing three collection points for the public to drop off their food donations," the spokesman said.

The spokesman added: "Our efforts are paying off as we contribute less than 0.3 per cent of the yearly total food waste generated in Singapore."


As part of an initiative to recycle food waste, Giant hypermarkets at Tampines and Suntec have installed the Eco-Wiz, an on-site food waste treatment system that converts food waste to potable water.

The water is then used for a number of applications in store, such as general washing and cleaning.

Organic supermarket Ryan's Grocery provides staff discounts and gives away items to drivers so they can distribute to their family and friends to combat food waste.

"As we deal with organic food, we not only appreciate the farmers for their effort, but we also believe strongly in sustainability," a spokesman for Ryan's Grocery told TNP.

It also puts up a box for items that are near expiry and allows customers to pick any items they want free of charge.

In return, customers have to donate at least a dollar to the Association for Persons with Special Needs, which Ryan's Grocery supports.

The box, with items such as fruits, vegetables, meat and frozen foods, is put up when the supermarket has goods to clear.

The Ryan's Grocery spokesman told TNP: "Through these initiatives, we are usually able to clear any produce within two to three days and our friendly neighbours love it.

"Drivers are also more than happy as they are able to try our gourmet foods."

In April, Sheng Siong helped the anti-food waste effort by supporting the Food Unfiltered campaign, which was launched by four final-year students from Nanyang Technological University.

The campaign encouraged members of the public to embrace "ugly food" as a simple way to reduce food waste in Singapore and featured educational posters across Sheng Siong supermarkets.

Said Ms Lin Ruiwen, executive director of Sheng Siong Group: "It is natural that not all fresh produce is perfect-looking. Small blemishes can definitely be tolerated."

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Malaysia: 3.9 million hectares of Sabah land earmarked for forest reserve

Bernama New Straits Times 8 Sep 18;

SANDAKAN: Over 50 per cent or 3.9 million hectares of land in Sabah have been earmarked for forest reserves and wildlife conservation areas, said Sabah Forestry Department chief conservator, Mashor Mohd Jaini.

He said the success of the tropical rainforest protection and conservation programme in the state was due to the forest, wildlife conservation and parks enactments.

“Through sustainable forest management policies, sufficient land area could be reserved and managed for conservation,” he said at the closing of the Environmental Education Course for Teachers here today.

According to Mashor, the state government had also decided that 30 per cent of the tropical rainforest area in the state would be gazetted as fully protected area by 2025.

He said in the last two years, totally protected areas covered almost 1.9 million hectares or 25 per cent of the total area of Sabah which was equivalent to 18 times the size of the state of Penang.

Mashor added that the Deramakot Forest Reserve was a fine example of a natural reserve which had been certified well managed by an international certification body, the Forest Sterwardship Council Standard' in 1997.

In addition, he said, the country's largest Ramsar site covering an area of 78,000 hectares is situated in Kinabatangan.

However, he said there were also challenges facing sustainable forest management, among them low returns, high cost of forest conservation, illegal occupation and farming on forest reserve land.

Thirty-one teachers from 28 secondary schools in the state attended the six-day course initiated by the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok. — BERNAMA

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Indonesia: BMKG: Satellite Found 15 Hotspots in Sumatra

NetralNews 9 Sep 18;

BANDA ACEH, NNC - The local Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that the satellite has encountered 15 hotspots monitored by fashionable sensors in four provinces in Sumatra. "There are three hotspots from the total of 15 points in Sumatra," Head of BMKG Data and Information Section Blang Bintang Meteorology Station, Zakaria Ahmad, said in Aceh Besar, Aceh Province, on Sunday, Sept 9.

Those three hotspots showed as monitored hotspots in two provinces, Bengkulu and Lampung, as it had a confidence level above 81 percent. Then there were seven hotspots, including suspected hotspots in four provinces, including three points in Aceh. The remaining four points were spoted in Bengkulu, South Sumatra and Lampung.

Meanwhile, the remaining five hotspots in Sumatra, he said, have not shown alarming figures, as it have a low level of confidence. "There are five concentrated hotspots in three districts in Aceh, three of it included as hotspots lasting since since yesterday. Two points in Tawar Sea, Central Aceh, and Geulumpang Tiga in Pidie," he said. "Two hotspots in Bandar Dua in Pidie Jaya, and Linge in Aceh Tengah with a low level of confidence," Zakaria said. The government in 2018 closely guarded forest and land-prone areas, thus successfully reducing the number of hotspots up to 96.5 percent throughout Indonesia in the 2015-2017 period.

"Based on NOAA's satellite monitoring data, the number of hotspots in 2015 reached 21,929 while it reduced in 2016 to 3,915. In 2017, the number of hotspots declined to 2,257," said Forest and Land Fire Control Director of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Raffles B Panjaitan. KLHK recorded that the area of forest and land burned in 2015 reached 2,611,411 hectares (ha). The number was decreased to 438,360 ha in 2016, then dropped again to 165,464 ha in 2017. "Since 2016, companies do not have the audacity to clear lands by burning it. This definitely has an effect. Even if there is a fire, its only small spots from negligence," Raffles said.

Satellites detect 22 hotspots in three Sumatran provinces
Antara 10 Sep 18;

Illustration. Photo document of hotspots in Sumatra and Kalimantan. (

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA News) - Satellites detected 22 hotspots, indicating forest and plantation fires, in three provinces on Sumatra Island on Monday.

The three provinces were Lampung, Bangka Belitung, and South Sumatra, Zakaria Ahmad of the Blang Bintang meteorology office, stated here, Monday.

Of the total 22 hotspots, four were believed to have arisen from fires.

Aceh was free from hotspots on Monday, but the province`s over 347 hectares of forest area were destroyed due to wildfires over the last two months.

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo earlier remarked that land and forest fires had declined significantly this year as compared with previous years due to the country`s firm stance in protecting its forests.

"This assertiveness would not have yielded these ideal results without public support and participation," Widodo stressed in his presidential speech on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia`s independence at the parliament building in Jakarta on August 16, 2018.

The head of state expressed gratitude to the Indonesian military and police, local administrations, and the public for their dedication in preventing forest fires.

"We need courage to make the leap. We have to be firm in making the best decision for the people of Indonesia, including being firm in protecting our land and forests," he stated.

South Sumatra bore the maximum brunt of one of the country`s biggest forest fires in 2015 that ravaged the nation`s tropical forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan, sending haze of thick smoke as far as Malaysia and Singapore.

Environmentalists blamed farmers and plantation companies for the disaster that resulted in boycott of the country`s plantation commodities, mainly palm oil, by certain countries.

The government, however, has succeeded in reducing cases of forest fires over the past several years, although hotspots are still reported during drought that occurs almost every year.

Based on data of an Indonesian environmental NGO, Walhi, from January to August 14, a total of 2,173 hotspots were detected in various areas in the country, including 779 in West Kalimantan and 368 in Riau.

Reporting by Muhammad Said
Editing by Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Heru Purwanto

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Indonesia: Fire razes 9.5-hectare forest area in Mt Sindoro, C Java

Antara 9 Sep 18;

A wildfire razed an area measuring 9.5 hectares in Mt Sindoro forest located in Wonosobo and Temanggung districts, Central Java Province, Sunday (Sept 9, 2018). (ANTARA FOTO/Anis Efizudin/foc)

Jakarta (ANTARA News)- Efforts went on to extinguish a wildfire that has razed an area measuring 9.5 hectares in Mt Sindoro forest located in Wonosobo and Temanggung districts, Central Java Province, Sunday.

The fire was spotted for the first time on Friday (Sept 7) in Wonosobo and spread to Temanggung, Sutopo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said in a statement here, Sunday.

Some 9.5 hectares of bushes and vegetation area were gutted by the fire that had inflicted losses worth Rp1.4 billion, he added.

A total of 219 people among others comprising military officers and volunteers, worked hard to extinguish the fire. The efforts, however, were hampered by difficult terrain, strong wind and lack of supporting facilities.

The authorities have declared Mount Sindoro closed to climbing since Saturday because of the wildfire.

Reporting by Monalisa

Editor: Fardah Assegaf

Mount Sindoro`s forest fire extinguished: BNPB spokesman
Antara 11 Sep 18;

Smoke billowed from the Sindoro mountain forest fire, a photo taken from the village of Sigedang, Kejajar, Wonosobo, Central Java, Saturday (8/9/2018). (ANTARA PHOTO/Anis Efizudin/foc)

Temanggung, C Java (ANTARA News) - A forest fire on Mount Sindoro in Temanggung District, Central Java Province, which has destroyed around 156 hectares of land, has been extinguished, a spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said.

"However, the mountain`s climbing trails remain closed," BNPB Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in his Twitter account that ANTARA qouted here on Monday evening.

Local residents and visitors, who want to perform an annual ritual to commemorate the Javanese New Year, or commonly known as 1 Suro, are not allowed to climb the mountain for safety reasons, he noted.

The fire could likely engulf the affected areas due to the drought and strong winds, he explained, adding that the climbing trails had been closed to prevent people from climbing.

Meanwhile, Head of Temanggung Disaster Mitigation Agency Gito Walngadi earlier remarked that the strong winds had caused the fire to spread quickly towards the East.

The forest fire, which has engulfed Sigedang area in Wonosobo District since Sept 9, has destroyed around 156 hectares of land. It then affected the patches of 10-4 in Temanggung District, he revealed.

At least 180 people, including local volunteers and personnel of military, police, state-owned forestry company Perhutani, and disaster mitigation agency, have participated in the fire-fighting efforts, he noted.

"The Purbalingga and Batang Search and Rescue Agencies also deployed tens of their personnel to assist the fire-fighting efforts," he added.

Another forest fire had earlier engulfed Mount Lawu, located on the border of Central Java and East Java Provinces.

Owing to its scenic view, beautiful Edelweiss flowers, and crater, Mount Lawu has become one of the mountains in the Indonesian island of Java, which is frequently scaled by mountaineers.

Reporting by Heru Suyitno
Editing by Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Heru Purwanto

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Australia drought extends despite 'widespread, significant rain'

AFP Yahoo News 9 Sep 18;

A devastating drought that has left Australian farmers struggling to stay afloat is set to persist despite widespread and significant rain last month, authorities have said.

Graziers in eastern Australia have been battling a long-period of severe conditions that have turned green pastures brown and forced some to sell down or shoot their stock.

There was some welcome relief last month when "widespread (and)... significant rainfall" was recorded in parts of New South Wales, the state government said in its seasonal update late Friday.

"While the rain has been welcomed and has provided a more positive outlook for field conditions in some regions, the drought is far from over," NSW Department of Primary Industries' agriculture climate specialist Anthony Clark said in a statement.

"We need more significant widespread rainfall in the coming weeks and months for agricultural recovery to commence and farmland to return to a productive state."

Clark warned that if dry conditions continued instead, "we would see an increased intensification of the drought".

Some 99.8 percent of the state remains in drought, officials added. In neighbouring Queensland, the government said last week that 57.4 percent of the state remains drought-affected.

The update came as Major General Stephen Day -- appointed to the newly created role of national drought co-ordinator -- said his focus was to improve fundraising efforts for farmers.

He told Sydney's Sydney Telegraph there was a "lack of co-ordination and coherence to all that's going on".

"That means there are some gaps, that means there are some overlaps, that means there are some inefficiencies," he said ahead of an planned meeting with some of the major charities raising drought funds.

"I think if we can look at this as a team sport, we'll have a better effect."

While droughts are not uncommon in Australia, the length and severity of the dry conditions have placed enormous strain on farmers in the eastern states.

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