Best of our wild blogs: 31 Dec 18

Night Walk At Windsor Nature Park (28 Dec 2018)
Beetles@SG BLOG

2018 - Looking Back
Butterflies of Singapore

Read more!

Community gardening scheme plants a million native species in a decade

Michelle Ng Straits Times 30 Dec 18;

SINGAPORE - Retiree May Lee initially took up gardening after her doctor advised her to spend more time in the sun to boost her Vitamin D levels following a severe bout of meningitis in 2012.

What started as a means of recuperation blossomed into a hobby for Mdm Lee.

Today, the healthy 62-year-old leads a team of more than 20 gardeners and tends to three flourishing community gardens, which occupy 20,000 sq ft next to Block 106, Bukit Batok Central.

Cosy Garden, the largest of the three, has a koi pond, turtle pond and unique crops such as asparagus and Brazilian grape trees mainly for educational purposes, as children from nearby childcare centres visit it regularly.

The other two gardens are home to edible plants such as vegetables, herbs and more than 30 types of fruit trees including cempedak and mangosteen. When harvested, these crops are distributed among the residents and the underprivileged.

Read more!

A made-in-Singapore solution to the world's plastic waste problem

NUS scientists have found a way to turn plastic bottles and other wastes into 'one of the most promising materials in the 21st century'.
Derrick A Paulo and Anne-Marie Lim Channel NewsAsia 30 Dec 18;

SINGAPORE: Imagine there’s a way to turn the plastic waste that ends up in oceans and landfills into a life-saving material, say, for making cheap fire-resistant jackets for all people.

It isn’t hard to do – at least, not any more – for a team of researchers in Singapore dreaming of reducing environmental waste and sharing their breakthrough with the world.

These scientists from the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology have converted polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into a highly insulating and absorbent material called aerogel.

Aerogels, the lightest and most porous materials known to man, have existed since the 1930s – and were used to insulate the Mars Pathfinder rover in the 1990s.

Read more!

Malaysia moves to reap the benefits of processing global plastic waste

After China shut its doors to the world's plastic waste, Malaysia became a go-to destination for some countries looking to get rid of their trash.
Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 30 Dec 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: In a bright yellow terraced house near the intersection of a small but busy highway, Ngoo Kwi Hong stood up abruptly from her cushioned stool.

Her living room was losing light as dark clouds gathered over the sleepy town of Jenjarom, a 40-minute drive southwest of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. But Ngoo was determined to show the bags under her eyes.

She flicked on the light switch and pointed at her face. “I’ve not been able to sleep for days,” the 46-year-old told Channel NewsAsia in Malay. “At night I cannot breathe. I feel like dying.”

Read more!

How mountains of U.S. plastic waste ended up in Malaysia, broken down by workers for $10 a day

SHASHANK BENGALI Los Angeles Times 29 Dec 18;

In a derelict warehouse complex plastered with “For Rent” signs an hour from the Malaysian capital, four women squatted on upturned buckets. Their fingernails were cracked and nubby, their headscarves dampened with sweat.

Wielding hair dryers, they heated and peeled labels from a waist-high pile of discarded plastic electric meters. The stickers affixed to each of the plastic round gray casings bore the sun-like logo of a faraway power company: the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

How scrap from California ended up in a junkyard 8,500 miles away, broken down manually by workers earning $10 a day, is the story of the reshaping of the global garbage and recycling system.

Read more!