wildsingapore news will no longer be updated

It's been more than a decade of daily updates, I would like to have a rest.

It's now easy to build your own news feed, and to gather the info you need from social media.

So it's a good time for me to stop the updates.

Besides, I sense that very few people really read the updates...


Update 16 Sep: Thank you to the about 10 people who wrote to me about wildsingapore news. It really means a lot to me to hear from you. All these years, I've not heard from subscribers. Glad at least a few people have been reading it.

If you would like to keep up with marine issues, do consider subscribing to the Celebrating Singapore Shores blog or the facebook page.

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Best of our wild blogs: 9 Sep 19

Butterfly of the Month - September 2019
Butterflies of Singapore

Night Walk At Windsor Nature Park (06 Sep 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Stretch of Kallang River gets $86 million upgrade, with flood protection and water features

Lim Min Zhang Straits Times 7 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE - A 1.8km stretch along Kallang River has received a facelift, to make it not only more attractive, but also a better defence against the onslaught of rain.

The four-year, $86-million project called ABC Waters @ Kallang River is meant to boost flood protection for residents in the area, as well as to strengthen the canal's structural integrity.

With the canal wider and deeper, drainage capacity has been increased by 80 per cent.

The drainage improvement works by national water agency PUB at Singapore's longest river was completed recently and unveiled on Saturday (Sept 7), at an event attended by Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MPs Ng Eng Hen and Chong Kee Hiong. Dr Ng is also Defence Minister.

Previously, this part of the canal, between Bishan and Braddell roads, was plain concrete and did not have such water features.

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PUB releases thousands of fish in Pandan Reservoir to combat midges

Channel NewsAsia 6 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB has released "tens of thousands" of fish into Pandan Reservoir, the latest measure employed to try to control the midge pupae population, it said on Friday (Sep 6).

The release of the guppies, mollies and swordtails into the reservoir was done in a controlled manner that does not affect its ecosystem, PUB said in a Facebook post.

Midges, which are commonly mistaken for mosquitoes, are small insects which exist in and near water bodies.

"While these midges do not bite or spread diseases, they can be a nuisance when present in large numbers," said PUB.

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Taking the climate fight beyond straws and tote bags — individual actions that matter

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 7 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — In a country where most people do not think twice about buying new clothes, Mr Leow Yee Shiang has not bought a single piece of clothing in the past two years.

The 31-year-old civil servant practises what he calls a “minimalist lifestyle”. He rarely shops, and has only bought four items for himself this year – a water bottle, socks, lenses for his sunglasses and a motorcycle plate number.

What sparked the decision? Mr Leow said it happened early last year when he was packing his belongings for his return to Singapore from Australia, where he had been living with his wife for two years because of work.  

“I got a bit fed-up as I was packing… There were many boxes. I got so angry at myself that I just started throwing away things,” he recalled. Among some of the items which he threw out included his wedding photo and its frame, as well as the love letters he got from his wife when they were dating. It means that he can now “focus on cherishing” their relationship, he said with a smile. 

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Wasteful practices of affluence must stop

Let’s consider a set of new 3Rs for environmental sustainability – namely, reinvention, recalibration and reward, says Nominated Member of Parliament Professor Lim Sun Sun.
Lim Sun Sun Channel NewsAsia 7 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: One of my favourite Instagram accounts is that of Tabao Girl’s. This environmentally minded young woman meticulously photographs the efforts she makes daily to reduce her use of disposables.

On most days, she succeeds remarkably with her inspiring arsenal of reusable cups, containers, and cutlery, and enjoys her take-away food like the rest of us.

But one day in July this year, she recounted in a post her distressing experience at a bakery, while waiting behind another customer: “…when he was done paying, I was almost going to cry. First the 13 buns, each in 1 plastic bag of its own. Then he wanted 6 buns in 1 bag, and 7 buns in another – and he wanted them double-bagged. Then he asked the cashier to give him 1 large bag to put everything into. In 1 bakery trip for 13 buns, there was a total of 18, EIGHTEEN PLASTIC BAGS used in 1 single transaction.”

I share her distress when I witness such scenes in bakeries, hawker centres and supermarkets.

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Biodegradable plastic alternatives not necessarily better for Singapore, say experts

Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 9 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: You might think that switching from single use plastics to biodegradable plastic alternatives is good for the environment but in Singapore, there are “no effective differences”, experts said.

They often end up in the same place - the incinerator, said Associate Professor Tong Yen Wah from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Biodegradable plastic wastes make a difference to the environment only when they are buried in landfills, he added.

“In these situations, these plastic bags can degrade faster as compared to a regular polyethylene plastic bag and will not affect the environment as much. Overall for Singapore, it might even be more expensive to incinerate biodegradable plastics," said Assoc Prof Tong.He explained that this is because some biodegradable options take more resources to produce, which make them more expensive.

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Malaysia, Johor: Land reclamation may be behind mass fish deaths

VENESA DEVI The Star 7 Sep 19;

What went wrong?: Some of the dead fish found along Pantai Lido.

JOHOR BARU: Land reclamation along Pantai Lido could potentially be the main cause of mass fish deaths in the area.

State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said the Department of Environment (DoE), along with the Fisheries Department, were still investigating the matter and not ruling out land reclamation as the contributing factor.

“The DoE visited the location on Thursday upon receiving complaints about the occurrence and found that the dissolved oxygen level of the water was very low at 1.2mg/l,” he said.

“The hot weather and disturbance of the water flow here due to land reclamation are believed to be contributing factors, but we are still investigating the matter.”

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Malaysia: Two men nabbed, over 600 turtle eggs seized

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 8 Sep 19;

KUCHING: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) enforcement team nabbed two men for selling sea turtle eggs at Pasar Tamu Kubah Ria on Saturday.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said the first suspect, aged 65, was caught at 9.45am and 214 eggs were seized.

“When our team returned to the market for another round of patrol in the afternoon, they arrested a 26-year-old man with 438 sea turtle eggs. We had lodged a police report for further investigation,” he said in a statement today.

On the same day, another team raided a stall at Bandar Riyal market in Kota Samarahan for selling wild boar meat.

A 62-year-old male suspect was nabbed and 17 packets of the wildlife meat were seized.

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Malaysia: Sharks and rays still in demand in Sabah for their meat

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 8 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is keen to protect sharks and rays in the state’s waters but the problem is the two species of marine life have been a staple food for some locals.

A fishmonger of 35 years at the wet market here, who declined to be named, said due to demand from consumers, fisherman continue to net the two species.

“I am aware of the move to ban the catching of sharks and rays to prevent both species from becoming extinct. But some people in Sabah including fishermen still consume the meat,” he said, adding sharks and rays were sold between RM8 and RM12 per kilogramme.

He however said that the catch involving the two marine species was far less nowadays, compared to three decades ago.

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Malaysia: Govt to build elephant sanctuary in Perak

The Star 8 Sep 19;

TEMERLOH: The government will set up an elephant sanctuary in an area spanning 100ha in Perak at a cost of about RM20mil.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the move was part of an ongoing effort to conserve elephants, which were increasingly threatened due to human-elephant conflicts.

He said the new sanctuary would be a new addition to the Sungai Deka Elephant Sanctuary in Terengganu and the Johor Elephant Sanctuary in Kota Tinggi.

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Malaysia: Sarawak haze worsens; visibility in Kuching down to 1.2km

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 6 Sep 19;

KUCHING: The haze in Sarawak worsened today, with visibility in the state capital here reduced to 1.2km.

Five other areas are also shrouded in smoke and recorded Air Pollution Index (API) readings of “unhealthy” as of 9am.

Sri Aman registered the highest API of 166, followed by Miri at 133, Kuching at 125, Sibu at 123 and Sarikei at 109.

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Malaysia officially complains over haze as Indonesia forests burn

Reuters New Straits Times 6 Sep 19;

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s science ministry will urge Indonesia to take immediate action to fight haze, it said on Friday, as Jakarta detected a spike in the number of hot spots indicating worsening forest fires across the archipelago.

During the dry season, Indonesian farmers use fire to clear land, often for palm and pulp plantations, but the flames can rage out of control to produce a choking haze that spreads to neighbours like Singapore and Malaysia.

A mild El Nino weather pattern this year has aggravated the impact of fires, with the number of hot spots rising to the highest since devastating fires in 2015.

In a statement, Malaysia’s ministry of science, technology and innovation said it would “send a diplomatic note to Indonesia, so immediate action will be taken to put out the fires and prevent repeated burning.”

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Indonesia: Air-polluting forest fire hotspots in Riau reach 154

Antara 7 Sep 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Pekanbaru meteorology station reported that 448 hotspots were observed throughout Sumatra Island, comprising 154 hotspots in Riau Province’s eight districts on Saturday morning, depleting the air quality in parts of the province.

Of the total figure, 60 were spotted in Pelalawan District, 42 in Indragiri Hulu, 34 in Indragiri Hilir, six in Meranti, five in Kuansing, three in Bengkalis, and two respectively in Kampar and Rokan Hilir, Ahmad Agus Widodo, analyst at the Pekanbaru meteorology station, remarked here on Saturday.

At least 97 of the 154 hotspots had developed into firespots, strongly suggestive of forest fires.

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Philippines: Whale shark population increases - WWF

Business Mirror 9 Sep 19;

More than 100 new ‘butanding’ (whale shark), including juveniles, spotted in Donsol, the highest number in several years.

DONSOL, Sorsogon—One-hundred-four new butanding (whale shark) individuals have been identified in Ticao Pass off the coast of Donsol, Sorsogon, between January and June 2019, according to a report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines.

Whale shark, classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on their Red List of Threatened Species, is a filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest living fish species in the world.

Each whale shark can be identified based on the unique pattern of spots behind its gills, which serves as a “fingerprint” for identification. Just as no two human fingerprints are alike, no two whale sharks have the same spot pattern.

The addition of these new sightings puts the total number of whale shark individuals spotted in Donsol at 676 since the monitoring began in 2007, the WWF said in its news release.

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Stranded whales: Numbers on the rise around UK shores

Helen Briggs BBC News 6 Sep 19;

The number of whales and dolphins washing up around the UK coastline has risen, according to new figures.

In 2017 alone, 1,000 animals were stranded - more than in any year since records began.

A total of 4,896 whales, dolphins and porpoises died on beaches between 2011 and 2017 - up 15% on the previous seven years.

Scientists found a number of causes for the deaths, including infectious diseases, fishing and plastic.

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Best of our wild blogs: 6 Sep 19

Changi Beach
Offshore Singapore

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100 hawksbill turtles released into the sea after rare hatching on Sentosa

JUSTIN ONG Today Online 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — One hundred newly-hatched hawksbill turtles were released into the sea from Tanjong Beach in Sentosa on Wednesday morning (Sept 4). 

According to a Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) spokesperson, the eggs were hatched on Tuesday at approximately 10pm. SDC carried out measurements and checks on the hatchlings before they were released into the sea at about 7am on Wednesday. 

The hawksbill turtle nest was discovered at Tanjong Beach on July 14, said SDC.

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Accident with boar, chain collision cause jam in Mandai Road

Clement Yong Straits Times 5 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE - An accident with a wild boar and a separate chain collision involving four vehicles caused a major jam along Mandai Road on Thursday morning (Sept 5).

The accidents happened one after the other along the same stretch of Mandai Road towards the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) at 6.50am, causing traffic to slow for more than an hour during the peak period.

Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that the wild boar had been killed by an oncoming vehicle, and the motorist left the scene after the accident.

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FairPrice to charge for plastic bags, McDonald’s to stop providing plastic straws at some outlets

Clement Yong and Melissa Heng Straits Times 5 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE - Supermarket giant NTUC FairPrice and fast-food chain McDonald’s have jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon.

Both companies announced on Wednesday (Sept 4) that they will be trialling initiatives to cut down on plastic bags and plastic packaging.

NTUC FairPrice will start charging 10 cents and 20 cents for plastic bags at seven outlets in a month-long trial, starting from Sept 16.

The "No Plastic Bag" trial will encourage shoppers to use their own bags, FairPrice said in a statement on Wednesday.

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MPs question Government’s stand on single-use plastics as Parliament passes new sustainability Bill

Ang Hwee Min and Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: The issue of single-use plastics was discussed in Parliament on Wednesday (Sep 4), with some Members of Parliament (MP) reiterating a call for plastic bag charges.

This came as MPs debated the Resource Sustainability Bill, which was passed on Wednesday.

The Bill introduces regulations to reduce food, packaging and electronic waste, as Singapore’s only landfill at Pulau Semakau is expected to run out of space by 2035.

It will be mandatory for large food waste generators to segregate and treat their food waste by 2021.

Producers of regulated electrical and electronic products will be responsible for collecting and recycling e-waste like mobile phones, computers and large appliances through an extended "producer responsibility" framework that will be launched by 2021.

A similar framework for packaging waste will also be introduced. Companies that use packaging, like importers and supermarkets, will be required to submit an annual report on the amount of packaging in their products and their packaging waste reduction plans from 2021.

MPs lauded the Bill as a step in the right direction, but some felt that more could be done to tackle the excessive use of single-use plastics.

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BCA's green building innovation grant gets S$20 million top-up

Kelly Wong Channel NewsAsia 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: The built environment sector received a S$20 million boost to go green on Wednesday (Sep 4).

This was announced by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the opening of the inaugural International Built Environment Week (IBEW), organised by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Mr Wong said that the top-up of the funds will encourage more collaboration between the built environment industry and the research community. This is to support BCA’s drive toward Super Low Energy (SLE) buildings, which BCA has said will be the “next generation of green buildings".

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Malaysia: Elephants losing its tusks to live

Roy Goh New Straits Times 5 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Elephants in Sabah are evolving to lose their tusks to survive, a phenomenon that is also happening in other parts of the world.

Sightings of such tusk-less bull Bornean pygmy elephants are getting more common and a senior veterinarian believes more research needs to be done on the phenomenon and its implications.

Sabah Wildlife department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said it used to be rare, seeing a tusk-less male, but these days it's becoming common.

"I have been involved in trans-locating elephants for more than 20 years and other senior colleagues dealt with the animal longer, more than 30 years, and now, we see this phenomenon becoming more common.

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Malaysia: Rare Bornean banteng falling victim to traps

KRISTY INUS The Star 5 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The banteng, the wild cattle of Borneo, are not just being poached but increasingly turning up as bycatch in snares set for other animals, say conservation groups.

In a joint statement, the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) said the population of the animal, estimated to number fewer than 500 in the state, was already facing fragmentation due to deforestation, infrastructure development and human activity.

“Besides being targeted for bush meat, the mammal has often become a bycatch in snares meant for smaller animals like wild boar and deer,” said DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens yesterday.

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Malaysia: Illegal wildlife trade rampant here


PETALING JAYA: From urban centres to deep jungles, the illegal wildlife trade is a multimillion-ringgit business spread across the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

It leaves a trail of cruelty starting from the forest – to the longhouses, markets in cities and towns, to certain “pet shops” and then onwards to the homes of the well-heeled, both within and out of Malaysia.

Some of these rare wildlife are endangered and protected under the law, and the most popular animals include macaques, hornbills, rare parrots, colourful birds, rare reptiles, baby sunbears, deer, tortoises, leopard cats and so on.

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Malaysia: Melaka grappling with invasion of Indonesian wild pigs

R.S.N.MURALI The Star 5 Sep 19;

MELAKA: On top of the problem of immigrants making their way illegally into Melaka via the strait, the state is currently facing another trans-boundary issue – the invasion of wild boars from Indonesia.

Melaka Agriculture, Agro-Based, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Committee chairman Norhizam Hassan Baktee said wild boars were excellent swimmers, but the state never expected them to cross the narrow Strait of Malacca from Sumatera in search of new habitats here.

“The sea-borne invasion of wild boars leaves us in despair as the animal population is increasing in Melaka.

“The mystical island of Pulau Besar here has witnessed widespread damage from the ‘migration' of dozens of these wild boars, including piglets, ” he said on Thursday (Sept 5).

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Malaysia: Penang expected to be hit by prolonged hazy conditions

N. TRISHA The Star 5 Sep 19;

Stifling situation: Motorists driving on the Penang Bridge that is barely visible.

GEORGE TOWN: The public have been told to wear masks while outdoors as the state is expected to be hit by prolonged hazy conditions.

The advice came from state environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

“The haze is here to stay as we are approaching the inter-monsoon period before the north-east monsoon starts in October.

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Indonesia: Satellite imagery suggests 949 hotspots in West Kalimantan

Antara 4 Sep 19;

Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The LAPAN satellite image data showed 949 hotspots were spotted in West Kalimantan on Sept 3-4, 2019, a notable surge, from 15 hotspots on Sept 2-3, according to the Supadio-Pontianak meteorology station.

Of the total, 433 hotspots were found in Ketapang District, 123 in Sintang, 102 in Sanggau, 87 in Sekadau, 61 in North Kayong, 49 in Landak, 41 in Melawi, 29 in Kubu Raya, 14 in Bengkayang, six in Kapuas Hulu and Sambas, Erika Mardiyanti, head of the meteorology station, stated here on Wednesday.

West Kalimantan Deputy Governor Ria Norsan noted that the provincial administration had issued Government Regulation No. 39 of 2019 on Prevention and Mitigation of Forest Fires to curtail slash and burn practices.

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Best of our wild blogs: 4 Sep 19

LTA releases CRL EIA Phase II report
Love our MacRitchie Forest

Terumbu Raya is amazing
wild shores of singapore

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Through nature reserve or around? Residents, nature groups stick to guns on Cross Island Line paths

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — Residents who may have to live with construction work at their doorstep are not letting up in opposing the proposal for the future Cross Island Line to skirt the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Nature enthusiasts, for their part, are also sticking to their guns, repeating their objections to the MRT line passing underneath the nature reserve, saying that this could damage fragile ecosystems and harm wildlife.

These entrenched positions remain despite assurances this week that both alignment options being explored for Singapore’s eighth MRT line were feasible.

The latest assessment report found that the environmental impact of either tunnelling through the nature reserve or going around it could be “adequately managed” with comprehensive mitigating measures and monitoring plans.

On Monday (Sept 2), the authorities gazetted for public inspection and feedback the second stage of a report assessing the environmental impact of building the line. The Government has not decided on which option to take.

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Land reclamation projects to combat climate change can be funded from past reserves: Lawrence Wong

NG JUN SEN Today Online 3 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — To finance the fight against climate change, smaller-scale infrastructure such as flood barriers can be funded from the Government’s Budget each year, while “long-lived major” infrastructure — including sea walls — could involve borrowing, said Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 3).

When land reclamation is involved, the costs will come from Singapore’s past reserves and the value of the reclaimed land after it is sold in the future will be fully returned to the reserves, said Mr Wong, who is also the National Development Minister.

“The reclamation of land is in essence a conversion of past reserves — from financial assets to state land. This use is not a draw on past reserves,” said Mr Wong, adding that this arrangement is part of the Reserves Protection Framework agreed between the Government and the President, whose constitutional role is to safeguard the national reserves.

Mr Wong was answering a parliamentary question by Associate Professor Walter Theseira, who had asked about the extent to which this policy to fund land reclamation will be applied to the S$100 billion climate change costs announced in this year’s National Day Rally by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

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Trash Talk: A toxic trash pile grows when gadgets become waste — in a year or less

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 4 Sep 19;

With Singapore having declared 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, TODAY’s new four-part Trash Talk series examines the issue of waste management and how Singaporeans can do our part to reduce waste. In the third instalment, we look at the often underestimated problem of electronic waste, and how consumerist lifestyles are adding to the toxic pile. Click to read the first and second instalment of the series.

SINGAPORE — The next time you are about to throw out your handphone to get a new model, perhaps ask yourself first: How many gorillas died for this?

What is the link, you might ask? Well, the critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla has lost 77 per cent of its population in the last 20 years, partly due to the mining of minerals used in mobile phones. 

The main mineral mined is coltan, a type of ore used in mobile phones and other electronic devices such as laptops, digital cameras and tablets.

And despite the hard labour (often in slave-like conditions) involved in mining this mineral, and the devastating impact that this has on the natural habitats of various wild creatures, we throw aside our devices each time a new version comes along.

Experts cautioned that the rollout of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks could also spell the demise of 4G gadgets, and see them ending up on the trash heap.

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Man tries to smuggle 2 hedgehogs through Woodlands Checkpoint

Channel NewsAsia 3 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: Two live hedgehogs were found hidden in a Singapore-registered car at the Woodlands Checkpoint by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers on Saturday (Aug 31).

The animals were wrapped in camouflage netting and hidden in the spare tyre compartment of the vehicle.

ICA said a 42-year-old Singaporean man was referred to the National Parks Board (NParks) for further investigation and that the hedgehogs are now under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“Animals like hedgehogs are not suitable as pets as they may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and can be a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape.

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Malaysia: Nearly 150,000 to be affected by month-long scheduled water cuts in three districts in Johor

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 3 Sep 19;

JOHOR BARU: The lack of rainfall and the ongoing hot weather in the last two weeks have caused the water level at the Machap Dam to fall to critical level, disrupting supply to almost 150,000 consumers in three areas in Johor.

In a statement on Tuesday (Sept 3), the National Water Services Commission (Span) said the condition at the dam had forced water supply company, SAJ Ranhill, to activate scheduled cuts for about a month.

"Following this, it is estimated that a total of 149,550 consumers from 29,910 accounts around Simpang Renggam, Layang-Layang and Pontian Utara would be affected from Monday until Oct 2.

"To ensure that clean water supply is optimised under limited resource conditions, Ranhill SAJ will arrange to supply water for 36 hours, followed by the next 36 hours without water," said the statement.

Span also pointed out that besides Machap, three other dams in Johor were also at critical levels - the Lebam dam, Upper Layang dam and Pulai dam.

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Malaysia: Johor MB - No open burning, please

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 2 Sep 19;

JOHOR BARU: Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal (pic) has urged the public, in particular, farmers, not to conduct any open burning during the current hot spell.

He said the public must understand the difficulties faced by the Fire and Rescue Department to put out fires during the dry season.

For instance, he said firemen had been battling a forest fire in Kampung Pekajang, Gelang Patah, for more than 12 days.

“The area is mostly peat soil where the underground heat can spread the fire quickly but (it) takes a long time to be doused, which is why we hope people will not do any open burning, ” he said after officiating the state-level Maal Hijrah celebration yesterday.

A total of 140 firemen along with personnel from other agencies have been working round the clock to douse the fire, which is believed to have been caused by the hot and dry weather since Aug 21.

They have been using “total flooding” as well as “fire break” techniques to prevent the fire from spreading.

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Malaysia: Leopard cat found killed in Kuala Baram forest fire

Stephen Then The Star 3 Sep 19;

MIRI: Firefighters dousing the remains of forests ravaged by wildfires in the Kuala Baram district in northern Sarawak have uncovered dead animals, including a leopard cat.

Miri Fire and Rescue Department said Bomba firefighters and voluntary firefighters from land developer Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd were dousing burning ambers near the Industrial Training Institute and Hamidah Orphanage, when they found the dead animals.

Miri fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the discovery was made on Tuesday morning (Sept 3).

He said he had informed the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

"The feedback I got from the SFC is that the dead wildlife is possibly a leopard cat.

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Indonesia: Wildfires in Riau force wild elephants to flee habitats

Antara 3 Sep 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Few wild elephants fled their habitats, entering residential areas after wildfires spread through the Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau Province, for the past week, the Natural Resources Conservation Office (BBKSDA) stated here, Tuesday.

Riau BBKSDA Chief Andi Hansen Siregar remarked that the national park's rangers had conducted monitoring of the movement of wild Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) from the rainforest to Bongkal Malang Village in Indragiri Hulu District.

Following a tip-off from villagers, two wild Sumatran elephants were spotted roaming around the plantation areas.

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Indonesia: North Sumatra tapir to be returned to wild after giving birth

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 3 Sep 19;

North Sumatra authorities have postponed a plan to release a female Sumatran tapir into the wild after discovering that she is pregnant.

The tapir was previously rescued from a plantation in Asahan regency.

After finding out that the tapir was pregnant, the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) decided to transfer the mammal to the Pematang Siantar animal conservation park until it gave birth.

North Sumatra BKSDA head Hotmauli Sianturi said the agency would ultimately release the female tapir into the Dolok Surungan wildlife reserve, which is a natural habitat for tapirs.

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Best of our wild blogs: 3 Sep 19

Seeking Singaporean Youth Voices on Biodiversity!
Psychedelic Nature

Ridge Walk – five Friday evening briskwalks along the Southern Ridges (Sep – Nov 2019)

Labrador shore still alive
wild shores of singapore

The Fruit Feeders
Butterflies of Singapore

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Explainer: How 2 proposed tunnelling routes for Cross Island Line will affect wildlife, housing areas

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 2 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — The authorities are inviting public feedback on two proposed construction choices for the future Cross Island Line. 

This is after the second stage of a report assessing the environmental impact of building Singapore’s eighth MRT line was gazetted on Monday (Sept 2). Gazetting allows public inspection of the report and feedback on its findings.

The Cross Island Line — which is set to run from Changi to Jurong and is expected to be opened in 2029 with 12 stations first — can either run directly under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve or go around it. It would take a longer route and be more costly to build if it skirts around the reserve.

However, both are feasible options when done with comprehensive mitigating measures and monitoring plans, the latest environmental-impact assessment found.

How will it affect the nature reserve or residents living around the train line? Here is a rundown of the key points to note.

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Pandan Reservoir midge outbreak: Residents liken it to a 'horror movie', says Member of Parliament

TESSA OH Today Online 2 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — Residents living around the Pandan Reservoir said that the recent outbreak of midges in the area is like being “in a horror movie”, Member of Parliament (MP) Foo Mee Har said on Monday (Sept 2).

Describing it as the “most severe” outbreak that residents have witnessed, Ms Foo, MP for the West Coast Group Representative Constituency (GRC), added that the midges stick to clothes and hair, and residents have found swarms of them in corridors, lifts, bus stops and in their homes.

Responding to questions from three MPs, including Ms Foo, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said that the sudden spike in midge activity can be attributed to the recent spell of unusually hot weather, which has hastened the growth process of the midges.

“With climate change, we will experience more extreme weather, which will have a corresponding response from nature,” he said.

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Commentary: Climate action is our generation’s 1965

Winning our climate war is a moral and economic imperative. The green lining is that the new climate economy being birthed creates good jobs while saving our world, says CEO of PhilanthropyWorks Vivian Claire Liew.
Vivian Claire Liew Channel NewsAsia 1 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this National Day Rally publicly acknowledged climate change as an existential threat to Singapore – and aced it.

He unflinchingly positioned the threat dead-centre in the Singaporean psyche – and mentioned housing price risks in the East Coast and waterfront areas. Yet, he also managed to sound upbeat and forward-looking.

This marks the defining moment for Singapore’s climate war. It is a clarion call for us to understand the climate impact reverberating through our society, economy and geopolitics. Singapore’s Total Defence strategy surely welcomes its missing seventh pillar.


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56% increase in vegetation fires in first half of 2019: Shanmugam

Today Online 2 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: There were 555 vegetation fires in Singapore in the first half of this year, a 56 per cent increase from the 356 cases in the same period last year, said Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam on Monday (Sep 2).

Mr Shanmugam was responding to a question submitted in Parliament by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera, who had asked what measures were being taken to ensure the early detection of vegetation fires and the efficient deployment of resources to handle them.

In his written reply, Mr Shanmugam noted that the number of vegetation fires has risen in recent years due to factors such as drier and hotter weather.

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Malaysia: Hype about orang utan’s release but not his return

MUGUNTAN VANAR The Star 2 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Animal rights activists are calling for more transparency by the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre, especially over its silence with the high-profile release of the orang utan named Tiger at the Tabin wildlife reserve late last year.

Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia director Upreshpal Singh said it was clear that Tiger was unable to go back to its natural home and was brought back to the Sepilok rehabilitation centre.

“We are aware that it is now in Sepilok but its management continues to use videos of its release back to the wild as a success story to tourists visiting the internationally famed rehabilitation centre.

“The use of such video portraying Tiger’s release may not be the appropriate representation, ” he said, adding that it was important for Sepilok authorities to explain what happened to Tiger, which was rescued as a baby 17 years ago.

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Malaysia: Divers remove ghost nets, rescue bamboo shark off Malohom bay

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 2 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The threat posed by ‘ghost nets’ — fishing nets discarded or lost in the sea — to marine life forms was evident recently when a dive and recreation team from Gayana Marine Resort discovered two bamboo sharks battling for their lives in the surrounding waters off Malohom bay here.

The team managed to rescue one shark, but could not save the other.

The resort was conducting a cleanup operation following the discovery of ghost nets in the surrounding waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP).

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Malaysia: Sarawak Forestry rescues protected parrots from China 'fortune tellers', lodges police report

The Star 2 Sep 19;

MIRI: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has lodged a police report against a group of fortune tellers from China who abused protected wildlife in their so-called "fortune-telling" business in Miri.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said his enforcement unit had also rescued two protected parrots being abused by these foreign traders.

"SFC officers raided the exhibition and rescued the two birds.

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Indonesia: Some 70 percent damage caused to South Kalimantan's mangrove forest

Antara 31 Aug 19;

Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Some 70 percent of the 116,824 hectares of mangrove forest in South Kalimantan's coastal area have incurred destruction.

"The existence of mangrove forest in South Kalimantan is under threat. Care and concrete actions are deemed necessary to preserve the mangroves," Dean of the Faculty of Fishery and Marine of the University of Lambung Mangkurat (ULM) Pahmi Ansyari noted in a statement, Saturday.

Apt actions, including the planting of mangrove seedlings, are deemed necessary for restoration of the mangrove forest ecosystem. Mangrove is beneficial for the environment and crucial to preventing abrasion.

"As part of the concrete action demonstrating our care for mangrove forest preservation, we will organize a one thousand mangrove tree planting event dubbed 'Action for Mangrove (BUM),'" Phami Ansyari, an expert in aquaculture, stated.

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Indonesia: 16 sub-districts in N Sulawesi brace for drought

Antara 2 Sep 19;

Manado, North Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Sixteen sub-districts in eight districts and municipalities in North Sulawesi have braced for drought during the current severe dry season, according to Muhamad Candra Buana, spokesman of the North Minahasa climatology station.

The eight districts and municipalities were Manado, Bitung, Bolaang Mongondow, North Bolaang Mongondow, East Bolaang Mongondow, Southeast Minahasa, North Minahasa, and Sitaro Islands, he said here on Monday.

In Bitung, severe dry spell affected the sub-districts of Aertembaga, North Lembeh and Matuari. In Manado, the drought-hit sub-districts were Mapanget, Malalayang and Bunaken. In Bolaang Mongondow, Bolaang and North Dumoga sub-distr4icts were hit by extreme dry season.

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Best of our wild blogs: 31 Aug 19

Amazing living reefs of Kusu Island
wild shores of singapore

East Coast Park is alive!
wild shores of singapore

Singapore Bird Report – July 2019
Singapore Bird Group

15 September (Sun): R.U.M. Mangrove Cleanup (Internaional Coastal Cleanup edition)
Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

Channel 8 newsclip about mangrove restoration as mitigation action against sea level rise
Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

Ubin Day 2019 – bringing focus to marine biodiversity and the threat of marine trash!

A new painting: Thunderstorm at Chek Jawa
Flying Fish Friends

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Shovelnose rays, served as ‘shark head’ in Singapore eateries, now critically endangered

NABILAH AWANG Today Online 30 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Food lovers who enjoy a delicacy called “shark head” in Singapore restaurants may want to think again as the animal has just been classified as critically endangered.

“Shark head” is the sea creature known locally as the shovelnose ray — also known as the white-spotted wedgefish — and is usually promoted as a dish rich in collagen, which is meant to promote skin elasticity.

The creature was added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Cites meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, ended on Wednesday (Aug 28).

The rays can be found in the waters of South-east Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and the Northern coast of Australia, said Ms Sue Ye, founder of marine conservation group Marine Stewards — whose mission is to protect marine resources by promoting sustainable fishing practices.

Local fishermen occasionally catch them, she said, adding that they were urged to release them back into the ocean if they did.

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8 in 10 S'poreans say climate change is real, Govt should invest in fighting threat: Reach

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 29 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Eight in 10 Singaporeans believe that climate change is real and Singapore should put resources into tackling the threat before it is too late, a government feedback exercise has found.

The exercise by Reach, the Government’s feedback unit, canvassed responses on the issues raised at the National Day Rally on Aug 18 from more than 5,000 Singaporeans aged between 15 and over-70.

The findings were released on Thursday evening (Aug 29) before a closed-door dialogue on the rally chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Speaking to reporters before the dialogue at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Heng noted that the need to tackle the climate threat has resonated, especially with young Singaporeans.

“Several of them told me that they have been discussing this a lot in schools as well as in the universities,” Mr Heng said.

“They felt it was important for us to tackle long-term challenges, even though these are not imminent today.”

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Commentary: Climate change in Singapore and what the future brings

History shows us how hotter and drier years, coupled with greater exposure to flash floods, haze incidents and water shortages, make climate change a deadly phenomenon to Singapore.
Koh Tieh Yong Channel NewsAsia 31 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: During his recent National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted that the defence against climate change must be given as much emphasis as the military defence provided by the Singapore Armed Forces because climate change threatens the existence of our nation in the 21st century.

Many Singaporeans who have paid only cursory attention to environmental issues may be surprised by the gravity of this message.

Sure, there are the occasional flash floods and yes, we do remember the days when the island was shrouded in haze. But have we come to the point where the climate has turned into such a monstrosity that our city-state has to “go to war” against this gargantuan enemy for generations ahead?

Two aspects of the problem help us appreciate our nation’s long-term commitment to mitigate and adapt to climate change. First, the observation and scientific understanding of climate change, especially how headline global trends compare in relation to Singapore. Second, the rational basis for addressing other suspected effects of climate change.

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One of Singapore's oldest water treatment plants upgraded for $162m to boost water resilience

Audrey Tan and Jacklin Kwan Straits Times 29 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE - One of Singapore's oldest water treatment plants has been upgraded with state-of-the-art technology, in a move that will boost the Republic's water resilience in the face of climate change.

The upgraded Choa Chu Kang Waterworks, which is also more energy- and cost- efficient now, was officially opened by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Thursday morning (Aug 29).

The Choa Chu Kang plant treats water from Kranji, Pandan and Tengeh reservoirs before it is delivered to taps in homes, businesses and industry.

Climate change may cause the quality of water in Singapore's reservoirs to deteriorate, said Mr Masagos during the event.

He pointed to how rising temperatures could result in warmer waters, while intense rainfall could lead to an excessive amount of nutrient runoff being washed into waterways and reservoirs.

"These conditions are likely to fuel algae growth in the reservoirs, which will need to be removed as part of the water treatment process," said Mr Masagos.

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Plans to cut daily waste sent to landfill feasible, but some gaps remain in implementation: Experts

TESSA OH Today Online 30 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Environment experts believe that the 2030 target to reduce the amount of waste sent daily to the Semakau Landfill by 30 per cent is within reach, but how the plans are executed will determine whether the goals are ultimately achieved.

The waste reduction target was announced by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) on Friday (Aug 30) as part of its larger Zero Waste Masterplan, which aims to extend the landfill’s lifespan beyond 2035.

Ms Renee Mison, spokesperson for Eco-Wiz, said that she has already seen some of the initiatives recommended for tackling food waste in practice. The company, which specialises in food waste and general waste management technology, has worked with several restaurants, hotels and malls to adopt food waste segregation measures.

Ms Mison has also observed that, increasingly, more companies are introducing food waste segregation measures into their waste management practices.

As such, she believes that the Government’s plan to make food waste segregation treatment mandatory by 2024 is a realistic goal.

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August 2019 likely the driest and warmest on record, says Met Service

Channel NewsAsia 30 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: This month was likely Singapore's driest and warmest August on record, said the Meteorological Service Singapore on Friday (Aug 30).

The record-breaking readings come as the country experienced its first dry spell in more than five years, from Jul 31 to Aug 16.

At the climate station in Changi, the total rainfall recorded for August was 11.8mm as of Aug 29, breaking the previous August low of 18mm in 1888.

"August 2019 is thus on track to be the driest August in Singapore since rainfall records began in 1869," said the Met Service.

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Sky park to be built above Bukit Timah canal as part of new green corridor

Vanessa Lim Channel NewsAsia 31 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: A sky park is set to be built above the Bukit Timah canal, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced on Saturday (Aug 31).

Construction works for the first phase of the new park, a 1.4km elevated stretch that runs from the Rail Corridor to Elm Avenue, will start in 2021 and is expected to be completed within two to three years.

The sky park is part of the National Parks Board (NParks) plan to develop the Bukit Timah-Rochor Green Corridor, a linear park that lies between Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road.

In future, this green corridor may be extended all the way to Kallang Riverside, totalling 11km.

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New trial could enable drone inspections, better Web experience for visitors to Singapore’s Southern Islands

Kevin Kwang Channel NewsAsia 30 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: If you see drones flying about when visiting Singapore’s Southern Islands, don’t be alarmed. They are part of a wider trial by authorities to bring “low-cost, reliable and long-range connectivity” to these far-flung areas using an under-utilised radio spectrum known as TV White Space.

A six-month trial to use TV White Space for data transmission on five Southern Islands - Kias Island, St John’s Island, Pulau Seringat, Pulau Hantu Besar and Kusu Island - started in August.

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Malaysia, Johor: Situation in Pasir Gudang under control, no need to close schools - MB

VENESA DEVI The Star 30 Aug 19;

MUAR: The situation in Pasir Gudang is under control and there is no immediate need to shut down schools in the district, says Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal.

Dr Sahruddin said there has not been any new case reported since Thursday (Aug 29), and students who fell sick on Wednesday (Aug 28) have since recovered.

"Whether or not schools need to be shut down depends on the decision by the state education department.

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Malaysia: Protected marine parks no sanctuary for endangered turtles

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 29 Aug 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Despite efforts to save turtles, the endangered species are still under threat, even within protected marine parks in the state, in particular the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) near here.

Marine biologist Scott Mayback said the threats come in various forms, including heavy boat activities, marine debris, fish bombings, and ghost nets.

“(The ghost net) is a major concern. People are still using it to catch fish, even within a protected marine park.

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Malaysia: Kelantan Customs seizes 4,000kg of Thai-bound wild boar carcasses

Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah New Straits Times 29 Aug 19;

TUMPAT: Kelantan Customs Department today foiled an attempt to smuggle 4,000kg of wild boar carcasses, worth RM44,000, to Thailand.

The wild boar carcasses, hidden in two boats, were seized in two separate operations here, said the department's director Mohd Rakbi Mat Saud.

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Malaysia: Poachers target Helmeted Hornbill

EDDIE CHUA The Star 30 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: The critically endangered Helmeted Hornbill is facing a grave threat from poachers who are after its famed red crown, which is prized by collectors.

International wildlife syndicates pay these poachers between US$80 (RM337) and US$100 (RM421) per crown, prized as “red ivory” that can be carved into souvenirs and trinkets.

The hunt for these magnificent birds has intensified in Malaysia following a clampdown on poaching activities in Indonesia. The authorities there are keeping a tight watch on airports and seaports.

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Indonesian police investigate palm oil companies over forest fires: ministry

Reuters 29 Aug 19;

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police are investigating three palm oil companies on suspicion of starting fires on Borneo island, where environmentalists say extensive deforestation has occurred to make way for plantations, a government ministry said.

The Ministry of the Environment and Forests is also investigating 24 other companies on Borneo and Sumatra island in connection with fires in their concession area, Rasio Ridho Sani, the ministry’s director general for law enforcement, told reporters.

“Previously, we focused more on bringing suspects to civil courts and giving administrative sanctions. But with the forest fires still taking place in 2019, we are using criminal instruments more intensively,” Sani said.

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Indonesia: Severe haze sees schools dismissed in Dumai

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 30 Aug 19;

A thick blanket of haze from forest fires has forced schools in Dumai, Riau, to dismiss their students early.

On Wednesday, four principals from different elementary schools asked the Dumai Education Agency for permission to dismiss their students early because of the increasing severity of the haze.

“They went home at 10 a.m. We asked the principals to tell the students’ parents to pick their children up at school so they wouldn’t wander around after school,” Dumai Education Agency secretary Dedy said on Wednesday.

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Great Barrier Reef outlook very poor, Australia says

BBC 30 Aug 19;

The Great Barrier Reef's outlook has been officially downgraded from poor to very poor due to climate change.

Rising sea temperatures thanks to human-driven global warming remain the biggest threat to the reef, a five-year Australian government report says.

Actions to save it "have never been more time critical", the report reads.

Stretching over 2,300km (1,400 miles), the reef was designated a World Heritage site in 1981 for its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance".

But in recent years the reef has been increasingly damaged by warmer seas which have killed off coral and affected its long-term health.

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Amazon fires: Brazil bans land clearance blazes for 60 days

BBC 29 Aug 19;

Brazil has banned setting fires to clear land for 60 days in response to a massive increase in the number of fires in the Amazon rainforest.

The decree was signed by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has faced intense criticism at home and abroad for failing to protect the rainforest.

A leading Brazilian environmentalist warned on Wednesday that the "worst of the fire is yet to come".

South American countries will meet next week to discuss the crisis.

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Best of our wild blogs: 29 Aug 19

Wild fun for kids during the September school holidays
wild shores of singapore

Open for registration – Love MacRitchie Walk with NUS Toddycats! on 8 Sept 2019 (Sun)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

14 Sep (Sat): Fishing community join MPA Marine Clean-Up Day
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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2 turtles rescued by Acres make their way home to Malaysia

TESSA OH Today Online 27 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — A small crowd gathered at Jalan Lekar on Tuesday (Aug 27) for a heartwarming send-off, as turtles Barni and Queen B set off for their journey back into the wild.

The turtles, who were rescued by the Animal Concern Research and Education Society (Acres) in the middle of last year, will be released at an undisclosed protected area in Malaysia where they can live freely again, in their natural habitat.

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Trash Talk: Packaging waste is everywhere, including in your body

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 27 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — A shopping trolley, plastic bottles, plastic bags and food wrappers galore. No this is not a scene at a supermarket — this is just a typical dive into the seas surrounding Singapore’s southern islands.

Singapore prides itself on keeping its streets spotless, but if you take a dive with Ms Sam Shu Qin, the 30-year-old co-founder of Our Singapore Reefs, it quickly becomes apparent how much trash surrounds our pristine island.

The volunteers with Our Singapore Reefs, a non-profit organisation that was set up with the sole aim of clearing up the trash from Singapore’s waters, pick up a lot of marine debris during their dives. Last year, they removed 3,439 pieces of marine debris weighing around 704kg from around Sisters’ Island Marine Park and Lazarus Island.

They have collected all kinds of garbage, from car tyres to bits of fishing equipment, and yes, even shopping trolleys. Once, they found a whole washing machine underwater.

But far and away, the biggest polluter in these waters is plastic, mostly in the form of food packaging.

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Singapore needs to lift farm production, cut waste, as global protein shortage looms: Study

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 28 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — As a result of climate change and rising population, the world is set to face a 56 per cent shortfall in food nutrition by 2050. Yet, Singapore is still heavily reliant on food imports from countries with weather-dependent traditional farms, a new study has found.

Released on Tuesday (Aug 27), the study by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and consulting firm Deloitte said that Singapore's farms are the key to bolstering the country's food security — by deploying smart technology to boost yields.

Singapore should also become a centre for food by-products, as a way to tackle large levels of food waste, it added. Some details of the study, on food waste, were released earlier this month. 

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Singapore may experience slightly hazy conditions in the next few days: NEA

Today Online 26 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Singapore experienced slightly hazy conditions on Monday (Aug 26) morning as a result of a brief shift in the direction of the prevailing winds, which blew from the southwest on Sunday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

In an update on Monday evening, NEA said that the “slightly hazy conditions gradually improved when the prevailing winds strengthened to blow from the south-southeast”.

“There were also thundery showers over the island (on Monday),” it said.

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Fighting rising sea levels: 5 approaches from around the world

TESSA OH Today Online 28 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Singapore is not alone in assessing measures to mitigate the threat of rising sea levels. 

During the National Day Rally on Aug 18, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore is prepared to invest about S$100 billion or more over the next 50 to 100 years to strengthen its coastlines against the threat of rising sea levels.

Significant areas of Singapore are 4m above mean sea level or lower, and they will increasingly be at risk of going underwater when sea levels rise, he warned.

To combat the looming threat, various climate change measures are being considered by the Government. They include plans to build polders — low-lying reclaimed land protected by embankments — along with reclaiming offshore islands or building dykes.

TODAY looks at some of the coastline and river defence measures that have been considered or implemented in other cities across the world that are also seeking to strengthen their flood prevention systems.

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Malaysia, Johor: Iskandar Puteri firefighters battle 100-hectare forest blaze

New Straits Times 26 Aug 19;

JOHOR BARU: Firefighters at Kampung Pekajang in Iskandar Puteri, near here, are winning a battle to extinguish a massive forest fire which grew to almost 100 hectares on Sunday.

As of early today (Aug 26), personnel from the Johor Fire and Rescue Department have successfully doused 45 per cent of the blaze which began on Friday, Bernama reported.

Originally 16 hectares in size, the wildfire grew to 98 hectares due to strong winds and dry conditions in the state.

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Malaysia: Special anti-poaching squad to protect forests of Sabah

Forests Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini (inset) said the squad would focus on anti-poaching operations from Sept 1. NSTP
Roy Goh New Straits Times 28 Aug 19;

A total of 25 specially-trained contract staff will start operations under the department's Enforcement, Tactical, Operational and Protection squad or Protect Unit.

Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini said the squad would focus on anti-poaching operations from Sept 1.

“They will boost the enforcement capacity of the state government in reducing the number of poaching cases in Sabah,” he said.

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Malaysia: 'Malaysians deserve to know why we voted against proposal to protect sharks, rays'

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 27 Aug 19;

KOTA KINABALU: It was reported yesterday that Malaysia was among the 40 countries that opposed a proposal to protect certain species of sharks and rays from exploitation.

Tabled by Mexico at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference, the proposal which would require ratification this week, would see the marine species no longer being traded unless it can be proven that their fishing would not impact their survival.

102 countries voted in favour of the move.

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Malaysia: Kelantan marine police foil smuggling of 90 palm civets, 14 tortoises

Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah New Straits Times 26 Aug 19;

PASIR PUTIH: Marine police foiled an attempt to smuggle 90 palm civets and 14 tortoises near Sungai Semerak here on Sunday.

The animals, which were seized near a jetty in Taman Sara about 11am, are estimated to be worth about RM19,000.

Marine police third region commander Assistant Commissioner Norzaid Muhammad Said said a marine police team from the Tok Bali base had spotted 90 baskets containing the palm civets and two plastic containers with the tortoises.

He said no suspects were nabbed during the operation, which was launched after a tip-off.

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Malaysia: Heavy downpour helps to put out Miri forest and peat fire

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 25 Aug 19;

KUCHING: Heavy downpour this morning and hours of fire fighting operation finally managed to extinguish the forest and peat fire which has plagued the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) station in Miri.

The forest and peat fire caused one of the worst haze episodes recorded in the country’s history.

Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Superintendent Law Poh Kiong said 68 personnel from the fire and rescue department, Civil Defence Force (APM), Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Department of Environment and Emergency Response Team from from Naim Land Sdn Bhd began to put out fire at the site since 8am.

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Indonesia: 7,745 suffer from acute respiratory tract infection in Pekanbaru

Antara 26 Aug 19;

The Pekanbaru City Health Office reported that the number of people suffering from acute respiratory tract infection in the Riau provincial capital between July and August 2019 reached 7,745.

"The figure is based on reports from all public health service posts (Puskesmas) in Pekanbaru City, comprising 3,540 cases recorded in July and 4,205 cases in August," acting chief of the Pekanbaru City Health Office, Muhammad Amin, said in Pekanbaru on Monday.

The increase in the number of those suffering from acute respiratory tract infection in the past couple of months is a result of the haze from land and forest fires in a number of districts and cities in Riau province, as well as in neighboring provinces.

However, the increase is relatively small, at 900 per month compared to more than 3 thousand in August 2018 when no haze was found, he said.

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Indonesia: Man mauled to death in tiger attack

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 28 Aug 19;

A 36-year-old man was mauled to death by a Sumatran tiger in a concession area in Gaung subdistrict in Indragiri Hilir regency, Riau.

Indragiri Hilir Police chief Adj. Comr. Sr. Christian Rony confirmed the incident, saying the victim, identified as Darmawan aka Nang, was attacked while taking a bath near a well in a PT Bhara Induk concession area at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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Indonesia: Jokowi names Penajam Paser Utara as new capital city site

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 26 Aug 19

Prof Wong Poh Poh's comments on PM's speech on climate change and rising seas
wild shores of singapore

Love Our MacRitchie Forest – raising public awareness about our forest heritage

Beting Bronok, Pulau Tekong
Offshore Singapore

Cyrene Reef
Offshore Singapore

The Singing Bird Returns: Ailanthes integrifolia
Flying Fish Friends

Flying Tigers 2.0
Butterflies of Singapore

Shining and Guiding the Way: The Lighthouses of Singapore
Remember Singapore

Read more!

Explainer: How much time does Singapore have to build up its response to climate change?

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 24 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE —  A “50- to 100-year problem” was how Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the “grave threat” of rising sea levels to Singapore.

While a hundred years from now seems far away, Singapore has already started to feel the impact of climate change with hotter weather and heavier rainfall in recent years. Studies have also shown that Singapore could experience more extreme weather patterns as soon as 2050. 

Indeed, steps are already underway to mitigate the impact of rising sea levels. For example, Singapore has introduced a carbon tax to nudge companies to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. It has also begun building infrastructure such as train stations on elevated ground. 

More measures are in the pipeline. How much time does Singapore have to make sure that it is sufficiently ready? TODAY takes a closer look.

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Commentary: How effectively can Singapore adapt to sea level rise?

Even as Singapore strives to adapt to rising sea levels, let’s not win that battle yet end up losing the larger war against climate change, says the Singapore Management University’s Winston Chow.
Winston Chow Channel NewsAsia 25 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore isn’t alone in confronting the consequences of rising seas.

Several other coastal cities and small islands also face this hazard, and lessons can be drawn from how they plan for and adapt to it.

Recent research shows three general approaches can be considered when dealing with the threat of sea level rise. First, accommodate the threat, which includes flood-proofing existing buildings and infrastructure, or designating areas that would be allowed to flood during high tide.

Second, retreat from the threat, which includes the removal and reallocation of key infrastructure and assets to areas that the sea cannot inundate.

Third, protection from the threat, which includes planting and managing mangrove coasts, or engineered options like sea walls, land reclamation and polders described during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech.

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Rising sea levels: Not urgent or too close to home? Residents in the east give their views

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 22 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — One was so assured that she would encourage her children to live near Singapore’s eastern coastline even 50 to 100 years from now.

Another wondered if construction work being done to deal with rising sea levels would block the views from his flat.

In getting a quick gauge of how residents living in the eastern part of Singapore think about the future impact of climate change, TODAY found that for some of them, climate change was too far down the road to be a cause for worry.

Others were impressed that the environmental issue was finally getting national attention, but all were generally supportive of the measures to counter the problems related to it.

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21% more mosquito breeding habitats destroyed in 2018 through use of Gravitrap system

Channel NewsAsia 23 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) on Friday (Aug 23) said that its Gravitrap system - which is designed to attract and trap female Aedes mosquitoes looking for sites to lay their eggs - enabled it to detect and destroy 21 per cent more breeding habitats in 2018 compared to the previous year.

Gravitraps have also been useful in helping NEA remove a large number of Aedes aegypti adult mosquitoes, including infected female mosquitoes, the agency said in a media release.

About 50,000 Gravitraps have been deployed at Housing and Development Board (HDB) estates islandwide since NEA began using the system in 2017.

Another 14,000 traps will be rolled out at landed estates and newly completed HDB areas from the second half of this year, NEA said.

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Malaysia: Water treatment plants in Johor affected by hot weather, dry spell in state

VENESA DEVI The Star 24 Aug 19;

JOHOR BARU: Several water treatment plants have been affected by the dry spell in Johor, says State International Trade, Investment, and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah.

He said that the Sungai Gembut water treatment plant in Kota Tinggi could no longer operate normally due to the significant drop in the water supply.

"The water level at the treatment plant has dropped beyond its critical level of 0.0 meter to -0.87 meter. The plant is failing to operate normally," he said in a statement released on Saturday (Aug 24).

He added that several areas in the district are expected to experience water disruptions due to the dry spell and hot weather in the state

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Malaysia: Trench built to contain raging forest fire in Johor

REMAR NORDIN The Star 23 Aug 19;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: The state Fire and Rescue Department has built a trench to stop the forest fire at Jalan Tanjung Kupang, Kampung Pekajang from spreading.

Its operation commander Sarhan Akmal Mohamad said the fire, which started since 11.45am on Wednesday (Aug 21), has now spread to 40 acres.

“A total of 70 Fire and Rescue Department personnel from 10 stations from Zone 1 (Johor Baru, Pasir Gudang, Kulai and Pontian) have been deployed to help fight the fire.

“We have conducted aerial monitoring to find the best way to contain the blaze, ” he said in a statement here on Friday (Aug 23).

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Malaysia: Two schools in Kuala Baram shut due to worsening smog

STEPHEN THEN The Star 22 Aug 19;

MIRI: Two schools in Kuala Baram in northern Sarawak have been shut down until further notice, effective noon on Thursday (Aug 22), following worsening haze caused by forest fires.

The Sarawak Disaster Relief Management Committee announced that SK Kuala Baram 2 and SJK Chung Hua Tudan have been told they must close.

"The Air Pollutant Index near the schools has reached 223 and both will close until further notice," said the committee secretariat.

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Merbau now Malaysia's national tree

Veena Babulal New Straits Times 23 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Capable of towering up to 50m in height, the Merbau, one of the tallest trees in the tropical region, is now officially Malaysia’s national tree.

In announcing this, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the merbau could become a symbol of national pride.

“I would like to take the opportunity to announce that the merbau tree (Malacca teak) has been chosen as our national tree.

“With its hardy nature, I believe that all Malaysians can take the merbau as a symbol of national pride,” he said while opening the “Hutan Kita” exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Tower here.

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Indonesia: Sumatra Island ravaged by 584 hotspots representing forest fires

Antara 24 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) Station in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, confirmed the presence of 584 hotspots on Sumatra Island suggestive of forest fires on Saturday morning.

Of the total, 272 hotspots were detected in Riau, over twice the 112 hotspots found on Friday afternoon, Nia Fadhila, the Pekanbaru BMKG station's analyst, stated here on Saturday.

A total of 128 hotspots were found in Jambi Province, 99 in South Sumatra, 41 in Bangka Belitung, 18 in Lampung, 11 each in West Sumatra and Riau Islands, and four in Bengkulu.

Some 102 hotspots covered Pelalawan District in Riau, 90 in Indragiri Hilir, 35 in Bengkalis, 17 in Indragiri Hulu, nine each in Meranti Islands and Siak, seven in Rokan Hilir, two in Kuansing, and one in Kampar.

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Indonesia: Forest fires drive Sumatran tiger from their habitats

Antara 25 Aug 19;

Indonesia, home to the Sumatran tiger, joined celebrations on International Tiger Day, observed on July 25, to raise support for the conservation of tigers.

The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving tiger in the country, and the smallest of the five tiger subspecies in the world. In the 1970s, the number of Sumatran tigers had reached some 1,000, though the figure decreased to 800 by the 1980s. Currently, the population is believed to be between 400 and 600 tigers.

In earlier days, Indonesia was home to three tiger species, including the Bali tiger, which became extinct in 1940, and the Java tiger, declared extinct in the 1980s.

While environmentalists, experts and officials campaigned during Global Tiger Day, still, the few remaining Sumatran tigers have to struggle to survive, as Sumatra Island has been ravaged by hundreds of hotspots, similar to forest fires, since July 2019.

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Sharks and rays to be given new international protections

BBC 25 Aug 19;

Countries have agreed to strengthen protections for 18 threatened species of sharks and rays, including those hunted for their meat and fins.

The proposal was passed at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) on Sunday.

The newly protected species include mako sharks, wedgefishes and guitarfishes.

A demand for shark fin soup is one of the driving factors in the depleting numbers of sharks in the ocean.

The proposal, which was tabled by Mexico and requires ratification this week, means that the species can no longer be traded unless it can be proven that their fishing will not impact the possibility of their survival.

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Thailand: Second dugong calf washed ashore dies

Tan Hui Yee Straits Times 23 Aug 19;

BANGKOK - An orphaned dugong under the care of Thai veterinarians died on Thursday (Aug 22), less than a week after the loss of another calf which became a social media darling for its human-friendly antics.

Jamil, a three-month-old male dugong, was found washed ashore in the southern province of Krabi on July 1 with abrasions on his body, and had been kept under close watch in an enclosed pond at the Phuket Marine Biological Center.

Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) announced on its Facebook page that the mammal had been sent for surgery to Vachira Phuket Hospital on Thursday evening to remove seagrass that had clogged his stomach after his intestines stopped working.

That had caused a build-up of gas in his intestines and was putting pressure on his lungs, making breathing difficult.

But Jamil stopped breathing after he was returned to the nursery pond.

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What if Singapore does not have 50 to 100 years to deal with climate change?

BENJAMIN HORTON Today Online 21 Aug 19;

I watched Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on Sunday (Aug 18) night. It was the single most impressive talk about the threat of sea-level rise by a political leader.

In particular, Mr Lee balanced talk of urgency with hopeful and creative ideas to inspire positive change. Mr Lee made it clear that climate change is a matter of life and death for Singapore.

Having studied the issue for 25 years, I am also very worried about sea-level rise and strongly believe that we must urgently act on it. I am the only scientist in Singapore to be part of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group that produced a report on the physical science of climate change. 

There is a phrase “if you knew what I knew”. Mr Lee noted that the UN has projected that sea levels will rise by 1m by the end of this century but that scientists’ estimates have been going up and sea levels may rise higher and faster than that.

I would say that we should be careful about underestimating the risk. Published peer reviewed studies by myself and other members of the IPCC suggest there is a one in 20 chance sea-level rise in Singapore could be in excess of 2.5m by 2100.

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150 hatchlings born last year at Singapore's only turtle hatchery: NParks

About 150 baby turtles were hatched last year at Singapore's first and only hatchery for these marine creatures, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Wednesday (Aug 21), nearly a year since its official launch in September 2018. Junn Loh reports.
Junn Loh Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: About 150 baby turtles were hatched last year at Singapore's first and only hatchery for these marine creatures, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Wednesday (Aug 21), nearly a year since its official launch in September 2018.

The turtle hatchery at Sisters’ Islands Marine Park was built as part of efforts to provide a safe space for incubating eggs, which faces threats caused by human traffic, light pollution and predators such as monitor lizards.

Singapore is home to two species of turtles: the hawksbill turtle and the green turtle, both of which are critically endangered.

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Singapore Mulls Bonds, Reserves for $72 Billion Climate Fight

Philip Heijmans and Yongchang Chin Bloomberg 21 Aug 19;

Singapore is weighing options including the issuance of government bonds to fund the S$100 billion ($72 billion) it could take to fight rising sea levels over the next century.

In the short-term, funding for projects such as a S$400 million upgrade to the city-state’s drainage systems to boost flood resilience will come from ministry-level expenditures, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in an interview on Wednesday. Longer term spending, he said, could require the government to tap its national reserves and issue state bonds.

“For those that have to be spent that will benefit future generations, we’re talking about borrowing so that whatever we spend for the future will also be paid for by the future generations,” Masagos told Bloomberg TV’s Haslinda Amin. “S$100 billion is actually a lot of money even if spent over 100 years.”

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‘Calamity may come’ if Singapore doesn’t take care of its coastlines now: Masagos Zulkifli

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources also shared more on the citizens’ workgroup, saying one problem it will look at is how to increase the recyclability of items in neighbourhood blue bins.
Kevin Kwang Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: Calamity could befall Singapore if it does not start dealing with the climate change threat to its coastlines today and leaves it until it is too late, warned Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Aug 21).

In an interview with CNA938, Mr Masagos reiterated the threat of rising sea levels to Singapore that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had spoken about in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday.

Mr Masagos said that scientists have concluded that sea levels will rise by 1m by the end of the century, and when faced together with high tide and heavy rain, will become a “very difficult problem to overcome”.

The long-term impact will not just be on the environment, but also on Singapore’s economy and jobs, said Mr Masagos, adding that this is precisely why Singapore has to take immediate and long-term measures to ensure its coastlines are well protected.

“This problem is going to come upon us slowly over the next century, over the decades,” he said.

“If we start now, we can certainly build over time. If we start too late, then calamity may just come over us.”

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Malaysia: Minimising conflict between humans and elephants

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 22 Aug 19;

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Elephant Sanctuary (JES) will be beneficial to both the largest land animal in South-East Asia and humans as it is designed to reduce conflicts between them.

State Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Salman Saaban said the 57.23ha land, located near Kampung Panti in Kota Tinggi, was expected to be completed this year.

“Elephants are migratory animals and in Johor, they have been found moving within four districts - Kota Tinggi, Kluang, Mersing and Segamat.

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Malaysia: Elephants trapped in mud pit rescued

Mohd Rafi Mamat New Straits Times 21 Aug 19;

PEKAN: A herd of elephants including a young calf were rescued after getting trapped in an abandoned mud pit at the Ibam forest reserve near Runchang, here, yesterday.

Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) rangers took about four hours to dig a path and chase the elephants to climb out of a steep mud pit which is believed to be an abandoned gold mining site.

State Perhilitan director Rozidan Md Yasin said the Orang Asli community who lived nearby had stumbled upon the animals stuck in the pit at about noon and immediately alerted the department.

He said four rangers were deployed to the scene and they sought help from a mining company operator in the vicinity to help bring the animals out.

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Malaysia: Sale of white-rumped shama bird going overboard, laws needed to protect the songbird

The Star 21 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: The international trade of South-East Asia's most popular songbird, the white-rumped shama, has led to "incredible numbers" of birds seized in markets in and around Malaysia, a 2018 study revealed.

According to wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, the study found that close to 70% of 15,480 white-rumped shamas seized in South-East Asia between 2008 and 2018 were destined for international trade.

The wildlife trade routes run mainly from and through Malaysia, and to Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

In 2017, the single biggest cross-border seizure involved 4,280 white-rumped shamas smuggled from Malaysia to Indonesia by boat, the study published in Oriental Bird Club found.

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Malaysia: Over 400 wild animals seized in Sibu

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 21 Aug 19;

SIBU: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation seized more than 400 wild animals which included protected species during their operations last week.

Its Chief Executive Officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said a total of 366 animals from 38 species protected under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) were rescued.

“Our team also seized four Imperial Pigeon (Ducula aenea) and a black hornbill, which are among the total of protected species,” he said.

Other protected species included pheasants, Hill Mynas, owls, Prevost's squirrels, parrots, mousedeer, peacocks, kijang (barking deer), punai (green pigeon) and tortoise.

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Malaysia: API in Miri remains unhealthy despite water bombing

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 21 Aug 19;

KUCHING: Air Pollutant Index (API) reading in southern Sarawak remains unhealthy despite a week of water bombing and firefighting operations to mitigate the ongoing haze.

Two stations at the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) and SK Kuala Baram 2, recorded API 156 and 132 respectively as of 3pm today.

Although the API readings of the two stations have dropped from hazardous to unhealthy levels, the environment in Miri remains hazy and searing hot.

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Indonesia: Minister admits poor law enforcement against those who ignite forest fire

Antara 22 Aug 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto has admitted poor law enforcement against individuals applying slash and burn method caused forest and land fires. He said the government would take a different approach to stop the traditional farming practices.

"This traditional society, we have reminded them. Corporations can help them with tractors (for land clearing) hence they do not have to burn the forest," Wiranto said after a meeting on land and forest fire here on Wednesday.

According to Wiranto the sanction imposed for individuals that ignited the fires was ineffective to stop the practice.

"It is ineffective, we have to find another way to solve the problem. Because they practise this for generations. But we have to change the mindset, and we need the help of all stakeholders to change their mindset," Wiranto remarked.

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Indonesia: Greater Jakarta, Banten likely to experience intense drought

The Jakarta Post 21 Aug 19;

Residents of Greater Jakarta and Banten should prepare for drought for 20 to 60 days as there is little chance of rain until September, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned.

The agency said in a statement that most of Greater Jakarta and Banten is likely to experience an extended period of drought during the dry season.

Furthermore, the agency also forecast little chance of rain in the remainder of August and September.

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Best of our wild blogs: 20-21 Aug 19

Singaporeans are Already Ashamed Of What Isn’t Being Done to Fight Climate Change
RICE media

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment? Join NUS Toddycats!

ICCS Workshop for Organisers (Final Session no. 4)
News from the International Coastal Cleanup

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Engineering solutions to tackle rising sea levels important but more research vital: Experts

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 19 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: Experts on Monday (Aug 19) welcomed the possibility of implementing engineering solutions such as land reclamation to tackle rising sea levels but stressed the need for more research into the impact of climate change.

This follows Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech on Sunday (Aug 18), during which he highlighted that Singapore is susceptible to the effects of climate change and vulnerable to rising sea levels.

As part of strengthening the Republic's coastal defences, Mr Lee explained that one solution could be a reclamation method known as empoldering.

Polders are created by first building a seawall in the water, before pumping out the water behind the seawall to create dry land. This land can be lower than the sea level, but water has to be continually pumped out.

Another alternative would be to reclaim a series of islands offshore, from Marina East to Changi, said Mr Lee. In addition, there are also plans to build a second pump house at Marina Barrage, he added.

Speaking to CNA, Associate Professor Adam Switzer of Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) said that "carefully engineered reclamations and flood defences including polders" could be the "best option" for Singapore.

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Malaysia: Manage water resources better, urges Johor Regent

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 20 Aug 19;

JOHOR BARU: The Regent of Johor Tengku Mahkota Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim, wants the state government to better manage its precious water resources.

This comes after Tunku Ismail, who was appointed as the Regent on Aug 11, attended a briefing on Johor’s water management at Bangunan Dato’ Jaafar Muhammad in Kota Iskandar on Sunday.

In a statement posted on Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar’s official Facebook page, Tunku Ismail said he takes a serious view of issues on pollution and mismanagement of water in the state.

He has urged the state government to start taking the necessary action to rehabilitate Johor’s waters and stamp out pollution.

Tunku Ismail also decreed that the state government should better manage its water resources and educate the public on proper water usage and awareness.

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Malaysia: Johor expected not to depend on treated water supply from Singapore in 2022

Bernama 19 Aug 19;

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources expects Johor to no longer be dependent on the supply of treated water from Singapore by 2022, said its Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

He said the effort to reduce the dependency of treated water supply from Singapore was by ensuring treated water in Johor was sufficient.

“We have to make sure that Johor has sufficient treated water and does not need to get it from Singapore. Which is why we have to provide new water treatment plants in Johor.

“The capacity must reach 260 million litres a day. We already have an understanding that by the year 2022, we will have this capacity,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy visit from Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal here today.

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Pulau Brani: 5 historical nuggets from an island set for a makeover

Channel NewsAsia 20 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: It’s always been there.

But rarely has Pulau Brani made the headlines in recent years, until it became a significant part of Singapore’s plans to develop the Greater Southern Waterfront.

On Sunday (Aug 18), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave an overview of the revamp that’s in store for the island during his National Day Rally speech.

Currently home to the Brani Terminal, which opened in 1992, the island will be redeveloped to host a range of lifestyle and tourist attractions - similar to what can be found next door in Sentosa.

As Pulau Brani awaits a new future, a look back in time at how the island evolved.

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Trash Talk: No time to waste in dealing with Singapore’s mounting trash problem

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 21 Aug 19;

With Singapore having declared 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, TODAY’s new four-part Trash Talk series examines the issue of waste management and how Singaporeans can do our part to reduce waste. In the first instalment, we look at where our trash ends up, what happens to it, and why we urgently need to cut down waste.  

SINGAPORE — Some 8km south of Singapore, there is an island where the expired tub of yoghurt you threw out last week meets the old batteries that your friend dumped in the trash, and they commingle with the pile of tissues that your colleague went through during a recent bout of cold. 

This island is Semakau, and it is in trouble. 

Most of us have probably heard of it, but few have likely put much thought into this final resting place for all the dirty, used and unwanted detritus from our lives.

Well, now is the time to start thinking and talking about it. The Semakau landfill, a critical element in keeping Singapore as famously spotless as it is today, is set to run out of space by 2035.

Where will our trash go then?

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‘Less trash’ left behind at NDP 2019, but empty plastic bottles, food wrappers among litter lying around


SINGAPORE — The total trash collected after the National Day Parade (NDP) on Aug 9 was lower than the amount left behind in previous years, said the parade organisers in response to TODAY’s queries. 

However, they declined to reveal the statistics. Based on TODAY’s observations, many spectators were spotted carrying bags of rubbish with them as they left the venue. As a result, the stands were generally clear of litter. Still, items such as empty plastic bottles from the funpack, used tissue paper and food wrappers were seen lying around. 

“Despite the higher number of spectators present at this year’s NDP, the total trash collected was lower than previous years,” said Military Expert 6 (ME6) Ignatius Tham, who chairs the parade’s logistics and finance committee. 

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