Best of our wild blogs: 26 Sep 18

6 Oct (Sat): FREE talk "Tales of the Sea Turtles"
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

17 Nov (Sat): Seven Stories of the Changi Area Through Historical Maps and Charts
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Punggol Point is Alive
Offshore Singapore

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More than 800kg of e-waste collected by electronic retailers under expanded StarHub programme

JANICE LIM Today Online 26 Sep 18;

SINGAPORE — Four electronics retailers that joined an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling programme by telecommunications firm StarHub have collected more than 840kg of e-waste in the first three months.

Laptops and cables are among the most common items found in the 20 recycling bins that have been placed in the outlets of electronic goods stores Harvey Norman, Gain City, Courts and Best Denki since June. Other items are modems, mobile phones and computers.

StarHub’s REcycling the Nation's Electronic Waste (Renew) programme started in 2012 and there are now more than 460 Renew bins across the island.

More than 82 tonnes of e-waste have been collected islandwide since the beginning of the year and Ms Wendy Lai, StarHub’s senior manager in corporate sustainability, expects the total amount collected for the year to hit 100 tonnes.

All four retailers told TODAY that the visibility of the bins has increased awareness of e-waste recycling among customers.

Store managers have had curious customers asking about the green bins that have been placed prominently on their premises.

Mr Ben Tan, chief executive officer of Courts Singapore, said: “We are encouraged to see customers and members of the public utilising these bins to properly dispose of their e-waste, with higher usage seen at our larger stores — including Courts Megastore at Tampines, as well as our Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh stores.”

Harvey Norman’s chief operating officer Bernice Kwok said that some customers took their printers to the store to recycle, only to find out that the bins’ slots were meant for smaller electronic items. However, store managers were able to unlock the bins to allow bigger items to be deposited.

Gain City’s senior marketing manager Alex Wong reported that usage of the bins was “not that high”, although Gain City has been promoting e-waste awareness through its roadshows.

The good news is that customers have not been discarding non-electronic items in the bins. This could be due to their design and the various messages plastered on the bins, as well as their prominent positions in the stores, the retailers said.


StarHub’s Renew programme is one of several company-led e-waste recycling efforts for individuals and households in Singapore. Others include the Singtel X SingPost Recycle programme, M1 Drop-off Point campaign and Panasonic’s Heartland E-waste Recycling Programme.

Since 2015, the National Voluntary Partnership programme of the National Environment Agency (NEA) has provided support in co-organising events, administrative help and extra publicity for these efforts. The NEA also provides funding of up to 80 per cent for project qualifying costs, to encourage partners to implement or expand their programmes, an agency spokesperson told TODAY.

NEA said that more than 130 tonnes of e-waste was collected last year through these four programmes. StarHub’s Renew programme was the biggest, collecting about 70 per cent of the amount, or more than 92 tonnes of e-waste last year.

The amount, however, is a fraction of more than 60,000 tonnes of e-waste being generated by Singaporeans every year — half of it coming from households — figures from NEA showed.

Part of the reason is because existing voluntary programmes mostly accept smaller e-waste items, the NEA spokesperson said.

TODAY previously reported that bulkier electrical products make up more than 80 per cent of the e-waste generated here.

The NEA announced in March that it is developing a regulated e-waste management system that will cover bulkier e-waste such as refrigerators, washing machines and televisions, and it will be implemented by 2021.

Consumers will find it easier to recycle their electrical and electronic waste under the new system. They may drop items off at collection points located within retail stores or have them picked up via the retailers’ services.

Manufacturers of electrical and electronic products will be responsible for the collection and proper treatment of e-waste through the Extended Producer Responsibility approach. They will have to fulfil collection targets set by the NEA and ensure that the unwanted electronic equipment collected are sent for proper recycling and disposal.

They will also have to engage Producer Responsibility Organisations, which can be commercial companies or the manufacturers themselves, to collect discarded e-waste, regardless of the brand or purchase date.


Consumers interviewed by TODAY said that the Renew bins by StarHub are still not widely available enough.

Media professional Rachelle Lee, 28, said that she and her husband had to drive from their home in Chua Chua Kang to Jurong “just for the bin”. Once, she had to leave a box of LED lights on top of a bin.

E-waste recycling bins should be placed at void decks of housing estates, like the blue recycling bins for plastic, paper, metal and glass, she added.

Calling the lack of awareness of the bins “failed marketing”, civil servant Koh Hong Wei, 30, agreed with Ms Lee. “(Because) most e-waste will be thrown out from home...(if) you have them at malls, also not much (of a) point,” he said.

Ms Lim Wensu, 30, who is unemployed, would like the Renew programme to accept alkaline batteries.

Professor Seeram Ramakrishna, who heads the circular economy taskforce at the National University of Singapore, proposed that one way to improve accessibility of the bins is to create Internet or mobile applications that allow people to call e-waste collectors and handlers when necessary.

Apathy among consumers as well as business costs also pose challenges.

Singapore Environment Council’s executive director Jen Teo said that there could be more incentives for recycling companies to collect e-waste from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“Unlike SMEs, multinational corporations typically have existing contracts with recycling companies to dispose of large amounts of e-waste,” Ms Teo said.

As e-waste management is “labour-intensive”, Prof Ramakrishna said that “companies without economies of scale will find it a challenge to sustain”.

“E-waste is a new challenge for all countries including Singapore, and optimum and customised technologies are to be further developed. Current treatment plants are limited by the capacities and range of technology solutions,” he added.

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Indonesia: Elephant calf dies 4 months after being wounded by trap

Hotli Simanjuntak The Jakarta Post 25 Sep 18;

A 15-month-old elephant named Amirah died four months after she severely injured her leg in a wire trap, despite receiving routine medical treatment.

She died of an internal organ complication caused by severe distress and acute dehydration. She had been receiving treatment at the Elephant Training Center in Saree, Aceh Besar, Aceh.

Amirah, also called Mey, was found injured in Geumpang, Pidie regency on May 3 this year. Amira was left behind by her herd and the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (Aceh BKSDA) took her to the center and treated her wounded leg, which was almost completely torn off.

Agency head Sapto Aji Prabowo said on Monday that Amirah's wound did not cause her death, which had healed completely. He suspected she died because her liver and kidney was not functioning well.

“Amira’s health had been in poor condition since we brought her here. She suffered from stress and malnutrition,” Sapto said.

Amira had received medical treatment from a joint team comprising Aceh BKSDA and the Syiah Kuala University’s Medical School for four months.

Veterinarian Rosa Rika Wahyuni, who had been taking care of Amirah, said she suffered from stress because she was separated from her mother and herd, which worsened her health. The stress made Amirah vulnerable to diarrhea and other diseases.

“We tried hard, but it was not enough to save the elephant,” said Rosa. (evi)

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Indonesia: Plastics make up 37 percent of garbage polluting Indonesian seas

Antara 25 Sep 18;

Probolinggo, E. Java (ANTARA News) - Around 37 percent of 1.2 million tons of garbage polluting Indonesian seas are plastics, which could not easily be decomposed, a government official said here on Tuesday.

Director General of Sea Pollution Control at the Environment and Forestry Ministry MR Karliansyah said plastic made up around 37 percent of 1.2 million tons of garbage in the country`s seas .

"Sea garbage has become a world problem and plastic garbage is the most dangerous as very many fishes in the sea found to have eaten plastics," Karliansyah said, adding the plastic was found when the fish bellies were split open.

Karliansyah, who was here to attend the ceremony of commemorating the Environment Day highlighted with "Coastal Clean Up" activity on the Binor beach, said his information was based on a survey by the Environment and Forestry Ministry in October 2017 in 18 coastal districts areas and cities.

The finding, however, showed that the condition was by far not as bad as said by a French researcher that Indonesia was the second largest contributor to sea garbage in the world, he said.

The result of the survey negates the allegation, he said, adding "the condition in Indonesia is still quite good despite the plastic garbage."

He said 50-70 percent of the sea garbage came from on shore and the rest from the sea itself such as from ships.

"We will continue to carry out evaluation that we have data in two consecutive years and as part of the program to achieve the government target of making Indonesia free from plastic garbage in 2025," he said.

He said the Coast Clean Up activity would be made regular by the local people to serve as an example for other coastal areas that would make people more aware of the importance of keeping the sea clean

Head of the East Java Environment Office Dyah Susilowati said she appreciates the local people involved in cleaning up the coast and said she would seek to make the activity routine in the province.

Reporting A Malik Ibrahim
Editing by Yoseph Hariyadi
Editor: Heru Purwanto

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Malaysia: Serious pollution as Malaysia processes plastic waste rejected by China - imports and permits to be tightened

fatimah zainal The Star 25 Sep 18;

KUALA LANGAT: Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin is proposing that a levy be imposed on plastic waste imports in a bid to better manage the problem of plastic pollution from the recycling industry.

She said while Malaysian factories were currently importing plastic for free, this was set to change soon as the government planned to impose a levy of RM15 per tonne.

Local factories have been importing and recycling plastic waste from countries like Western countries after China banned imports of such plastic waste. There have been reports of serious pollution, including in Kuala Langat district (around Banting town).

"I hear it's a very lucrative business.

The process to obtain approved permits (AP) on plastic waste imports will also be made more stringent before permits were issued to plastic waste factories, she said.

According to Zuraida, there were 114 plastic recycling factories that are active all over Malaysia. (The country is becoming one of the hubs to process waste plastic from western countries that had been rejected by China.)

"The names of companies that import plastic and export plastic must be listed down to show how genuine the business is.
"The applicants must also get the approval of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) in order to get the AP," she said.

Zuraida added that the APs issued by her Ministry will be made to tally with the Customs Department's capacity to receive plastic waste at the ports.

"Previously, there was no tally between the permits issued and the Customs Department's capacity," she pointed out.

In July, the Ministry revoked the AP on plastic waste imports, affecting 114 legal plastic waste factories all over Malaysia for three months up till Oct 23.

The move was taken after reports of serious pollution in Kuala Langat caused by factories processing plastic waste.

In Kuala Langat alone, there were 24 illegal plastic waste factories, with another 17 already ordered to close down, she said.
In addition, there are 13 plastic waste factories that are operating legally in Kuala Langat.

All of these factories will be called for a meeting with the Ministry on Oct 2.


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