Best of our wild blogs: 25 Jun 19

29 Jun (Sat): Ubin Day
wild shores of singapore

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Air quality in Singapore unaffected by Johor incident: NEA

Rei Kurohi New Straits Times 25 Jun 19;

The air quality in Singapore has remained good and has not been affected by what has been described as an "air pollution incident" which resulted in the closure of schools in the Taman Mawar area of Pasir Gudang in Johor.

In response to queries, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday that it is in contact with its counterparts in Johor's Department of the Environment, and that the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) and the PM2.5 readings in Singapore have remained in the "good" and "normal" ranges since last Thursday.

NEA added that the wind has been blowing over Singapore from the south and south-east, and that it expects this to continue for the next few days.

The ambient levels of volatile organic compounds along Singapore's coast have also remained low and within safe levels, NEA said.

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Businesses can soon buy 'green' commercial dishwashers; manufacturers urged to get products certified

Ng Huiwen Straits Times 24 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE - Businesses will soon be able to buy certified commercial dishwashers and washer extractors that are water efficient, helping them to save up to 44 per cent of water.

National water agency PUB and the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) said in a joint statement on Monday (June 24) that two manufacturers - Electrolux SEA and EcoLab - have submitted applications to certify their products under the new Singapore Green Labelling Scheme for commercial water use appliances.

The scheme for commercial appliances, which was developed in April, is the PUB's latest initiative to drive efficient water usage in the non-domestic sector, the statement said.

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Malaysia: Authorities confirm - Latest Pasir Gudang pollution caused by Sg Kim Kim toxic waste

Siti A'isyah Sukaimi New Straits Times 24 Jun 19;

PUTRAJAYA: The authorities have confirmed that the airborne contaminants, which left a number of students in Pasir Gudang hospitalised since last week, was due to excess toxic waste from Sungai Kim Kim, which first affected residents back in March.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said this was the information obtained from the Fire and Rescue Department, who were conducting investigations in the area.

“I have received information from the department that the case appears to be a repeat of the Sungai Kim Kim incident. I was made to understand that a contractor had previously been tasked with cleaning up and removing the harmful substances from the river.

“However, the substances were not 100 per cent removed. As such, the substances, left in Pasir Gudang exposed to the elements such as wind and rain, began spreading,” she told reporters after attending a ministry event here on Monday.

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Malaysia: Pangolin santuary to be Sabah's new wildlife tourist attraction

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 24 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A pangolin sanctuary, to be established within the protected Tawau Hills National Park, is set to become Sabah’s new wildlife tourist attraction.

Funded by Arizona Sabah Pangolin Sanctuary and Research Institute (Sapsari) with an initial start-up investment of RM1 million, the sanctuary is an effort by the state government to further protect arguably the world’s most poached and trafficked animal.

Deputy Chief Minister cum state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said Tawau was picked as a suitable location for the pangolin sanctuary because it has a vast forest.

“It will be a suitable place for pangolins because there’s plenty of food supplies there in the form of insects such as termites and ants.

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Malaysia: Devoting her life to saving the orangutans

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 24 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: When Sue Sheward visited the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan for the first time 18 years ago, she saw the challenges faced by the state in translocating and rehabilitating the protected species.

After being briefed by the centre’s then officer-in-charge Dr Sen Nathan, the Briton decided to devote her life towards wildlife conservation, specifically the orangutan.

Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga recalled that Sheward, who had founded Orangutan Appeal UK in 2000, started to raise funds through humble ways.

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Indonesia: Hot spots begin appearing in Riau - BMKG

Antara 24 Jun 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) revealed on Monday afternoon that five hot spots, which indicate possible occurrences of bush and forest fires, have begun appearing in four districts of Riau Province.

The confidence level of those hot spots that the Terra and Aqua Satellites detected on Monday at 04.00 pm local time reached above 50 percent, Head of the Pekanbaru-based BMKG, Sukisno, revealed.

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Indonesia: Environmental lesson to learn from flooding in Southeast Sulawesi

Antara 24 Jun 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Parts of Indonesia have begun to experience extreme dry season that causes water crisis, while other parts still have rains with high precipitation leading to major floods in Samarinda (East Kalimantan Province), Morowali (Central Sulawesi), and Konawe and North Konawe Districts in Southeast Sulawesi Province.

Flooding in Morowali District recently destroyed four bridges and caused extensive damage to over 10 homes, and affected more than 16 thousand people in three sub-districts.

In Samarinda, East Kalimantan, floods affected 9,358 families constituting 30,580 people living in of North Samarinda, Sungai Pinang, and Samarinda Ulu sub-districts.

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Best of our wild blogs: 24 Jun 19

The Bamboo Feeders (Part 1)
Butterflies of Singapore

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About 900 households fined between January and May as NEA calls for 'collective effort' to tackle dengue surge

Channel NewsAsia 23 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: About 900 households have been fined for mosquito breeding as of May this year, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) as it called for a "national collective effort" to tackle the high number of dengue cases in Singapore.

More than 372,000 inspections were carried out islandwide between January and May this year and about 6,500 instances of mosquito breeding habitats were uncovered, said NEA in a media statement on Sunday (Jun 23).

During the same period, the proportion of breeding detected in homes in cluster areas was 74 per cent, much higher than the national average of 60 per cent.

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Working to keep Singapore's beaches clean

John Tan The New Paper 24 Jun 19;

Dressed in neon shirts and vests, with bright yellow construction boots, Mr Wong Hua Sun and Mr Chan Chee Yan gather at East Coast Park at 6am, along with eight other men.

They are part of a team responsible for a stretch along East Coast Park, from Area G to Area H, which is about 1.6km.

Part of Ramky Cleantech Services, a company hired by the National Environment Agency to clean public parks, these men are a reason why the park remains litter-free.

The men start their day with area cleaning, tidying up the barbecue pits and the surrounding area.

At first light, usually around 7am, their team moves down to the beach to clean it.

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10 new land parcels in Lim Chu Kang on sale for farming

The plots come with a 20-year lease and six of them are for bean sprouts
Cheryl Teh Straits Times 20 Jun 19;

The humble bean sprout continues to be a major part of Singapore's journey towards self-sufficiency in producing its own food.

In another step along this path, 10 land parcels for food farming in Lim Chu Kang were put up for sale yesterday by public tender by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

These include six land parcels for bean-sprout farming, three land parcels for general agriculture (food) farming and one land parcel for vegetable farming, the agency said in a statement.

The land parcels for general agriculture (food) farming may be used to farm food crops, seafood, quail eggs, cattle or goats for dairy milk, and/or frogs reared for food.

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Malaysia, Johor: Pasir Gudang air pollution: 16 schools ordered shut

AMANINA SUHAINI New Straits Times 24 Jun 19;

A TOTAL of 16 schools in a 6km radius of SA Taman Mawar here have been instructed to close for four days beginning today following back-to-back incidences of schoolchildren falling ill due to suspected air pollution.

The closure involves 20,180 schoolchildren and teachers from the 16 schools, the Ibrahim Sultan Polytechnic, as well as 69 kindergartens and preschools.

On Thursday, 15 pupils from the school, as well as nearby SK Pasir Gudang 4, were hospitalised over suspected exposure to air pollution.

The incident worsened yesterday when 20 students from another school — SMK Taman Nusa Damai — displayed symptoms of air pollution exposure and were rushed to hospital.

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Malaysia: Sabah identified as potential site for pangolin research, conservation efforts

stephanie lee The Star 23 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has been identified as a potential site for pangolin research and conservation efforts and a research site will be set up in Tawau district soon.

To accomplish this, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the Sabah Pangolin Sanctuary and Research Institute (Sapsari) will be signed on Monday (June 24).

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the MoU will be signed between the state government and Peter Chan, the founder and chief executive officer of US-based Sapsari Arizona.

Liew said the much-anticipated Sapsari is going to be a reality for the conservation of the critically-endangered Sunda pangolin.

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Best of our wild blogs: 23 Jun 19

Wild Dolphins sighted off Siloso Beach, 21 Jun 2019
wild shores of singapore

23 June, 1pm: Celebrating Primates in Southeast Asia
Green Drinks Singapore

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Asean needs to cooperate to solve marine debris, haze pollution and other transboundary environmental issues: PM Lee

Rachel Au-Yong Straits Times 22 Jun 19;

BANGKOK - The transboundary nature of many environmental challenges, from marine debris to haze pollution, "makes it impossible for any single country to solve the issue alone," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (June 22).

This is why Singapore strongly supports Asean efforts to cooperate, he told his counterparts at the start of the 34th Asean Summit in Bangkok.

A meeting Singapore held among Asean ministers to discuss climate change issues last year, while it was Asean chair, prompted regional action on environmental issues, and PM Lee said he intends to keep the conversation going on this issue.

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As temperatures and urbanisation increase, fight against dengue will only get tougher

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 22 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — When 28-year-old Amanda Poh was bitten by mosquitoes earlier this month while having after-work drinks at a bar, dengue fever was the “furthest thing from her mind”.

About a week later, she was down with a 40 degree fever and experienced bouts of nausea. Even then, she thought it was food poisoning.

But the fever refused to go away. Upon advice from a general practitioner, she went for a blood test at Changi General Hospital and the results confirmed she had dengue fever.

“Dengue always felt like a ‘it will happen to someone else but not me’ kind of thing, so it was a huge shock to find out that I had this virus,” said Ms Poh, a communications executive.

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No ifs or butts: Cigarette rubbish is littering Singapore's coastline

Nicole Chang Channel NewsAsia 22 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: Mention the phrase “marine litter” and chances are that images of plastic straws or bottles would be the first things to spring to mind.

Yet these items, while often found in local waters, pale in comparison to the number of cigarette butts littering the world’s shorelines.

Awareness of single-use plastic waste has been gaining traction in Singapore, most recently with the move by more than 270 food and beverage outlets to eliminate plastic straws.

But at a time when many other single-use plastic waste items - from plastic bags to single-use straws and cutlery - are facing growing public attention, have cigarette butts managed to slip under the radar?

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Malaysia: Sabah judiciary gets new guidelines for wildlife crime

Roy Goh New Straits Times 22 Jun 19;

KUDAT: The state judiciary has received a new set of guidelines for dealing with crimes involving wildlife.

The first of its kind in Malaysia, it was formulated during a series of workshops and meetings involving the judiciary, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Sabah Law Association and World Wildlife Fund-Malaysia since 2017.

In a simple ceremony here today, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah signed it and handed it over to the Registrar of High Courts of Sabah and Sarawak to be implemented.

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Malaysia: Three Pasir Gudang schools, two kindergartens ordered shut for two days over air pollution fears

venesa devi The Star 22 Jun 19;

PASIR GUDANG: Three schools and two kindergartens have been ordered to be close for two days from Sunday (June 23) here as a safety precaution following possible air pollution.

The schools are Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar, SK Pasir Gudang 4 and SMK Pasir Gudang 2 while the kindergartens are Tadika Pasti and Tadika Pintar Bistari.

State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said the schools and childcare centres are located from 100m to 800m away from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar, where the incident first started.

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Best of our wild blogs: 22 Jun 19

Special shells at Cyrene
wild shores of singapore

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Crocodile spotted in drain in Sungei Kadut caught, transferred to farm: NParks

Channel NewsAsia 21 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: A crocodile that was seen in a drain at Sungei Kadut Drive on Friday (Jun 21) has been caught and transported to a crocodile farm, said National Parks Board (NParks).

“NParks officers worked with our trained contractors to secure the crocodile. It has since been translocated to a crocodile farm,” it said in response to CNA's queries.

NParks was alerted to the sighting of the Estuarine crocodile at 8.20am, it said.

The crocodile was spotted by employees at concrete company Star Ready Mix.

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84-year-old woman dies from dengue in 5th fatal case this year

Channel NewsAsia 20 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: An 84-year-old woman died from dengue last week, marking the fifth such death in Singapore this year, according to a joint statement by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Jun 20).

The woman, who died last Friday, lived within an active dengue cluster at Lorong 6 Geylang.

As of Monday, 108 dengue cases have been reported in the cluster at Geylang Road, said NEA and MOH.

Since it was notified of the cluster on Apr 26, NEA said it had detected and destroyed 64 mosquito breeding habitats.

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Malaysia: Johor rules out Sg Kim Kim repeat following Pasir Gudang air pollution incident

mohd farhaan shah The Star 21 Jun 19;

PASIR GUDANG: The Johor government has ruled out a repeat of the Sungai Kim Kim incident after 15 individuals, including 13 students, were admitted to hospital following breathing and vomiting difficulties.

State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said the authorities have opened an operation centre at the Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium, following the latest incident on Thursday (June 20).

“This incident has nothing to do with Sungai Kim Kim because the school is located some 6km away and so far, the Department of Environment (DOE) has found no illegal dumping here.

“The Fire and Rescue Department and DOE will lead the operation team, where they would inspect air quality within a 2km radius around the affected area,” he told a press conference at the operation centre here Friday (June 21).

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Indonesia to face drier dry season this year

Antara 21 Jun 19;

"NTB and NTT are harvesting rainwater for farming, hence they need to be supported by irrigation water," he said.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Forecasting that this year's dry season will be drier as compared to that of the previous year, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has reminded the regional authorities to intensify vigilance over possible forest fires and droughts.

"Regions which were affected by droughts during the June, July and August period of last year, should be vigilant this year," Adi Ripalsi, head of the agency's climate information analysis sub-unit, said here on Friday, adding, "Last year, the precipitation during the dry season was less than 20 millimeters a month, and this year, it can go lower."

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Indonesia: Flooding inundates 40 hectares of rice fields in Mukomuko, Bengkulu

Antara 20 Jun 19;

Mukomuko, Bengkulu (ANTARA) - Flooding caused by continuous torrential rains resulted in a local river overflowing its bank and inundating some 40 hectares of rice fields in Pondok Baru Village, Selagan Raya Sub-district, Mukomuko District, Bengkulu Province.

In spite of the flooding, two-month-old paddy plants in the affected rice fields were not destroyed, Sugiyanto, an official of the Mukomuko agriculture office, confirmed here on Thursday.

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Indonesia's two new biosphere reserves recognized by UNESCO

Antara 21 Jun 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Tojo Una-Una Togean, Central Sulawesi, and Saleh-Moyo-Tambora (Samota), West Nusa Tenggara, were two new biosphere reserves recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the Paris congregation, France, June 19.

At the 31st Session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Program (ICC-MAB), Tojo Una-Una and Saleh-Moyo-Tambora Togean were the 15th and 16th biosphere reserves in Indonesia to be added to UNESCO's list.

"The Togean Tojo Una-Una Biosphere Reserve spans an area of 2,187,632 hectares in the heart of the Coral Triangle that has the highest coral diversity in the world as well as mangrove forests and small island ecosystems," IESCO-MAB UNESCO President Enny Sudarmonowati, also deputy for life sciences at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), noted in a written statement received in Jakarta on Friday.

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Thailand's $13 Billion Plan Could Woo 65 Million Tourists Yearly

Natnicha Chuwiruch Bloomberg 21 Jun 19;

Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.

Thailand is already struggling to cope with the environmental impact of a tourism boom that’s expected to lure 40 million visitors this year. The influx is on course to hit 65 million a decade from now, signaling an even bigger challenge ahead.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy plans to pour about $13 billion into expanding airport capacity and connecting major terminals with high-speed railways. As a result, foreign tourist numbers could jump more than 60% by 2029 to about the size of the U.K. population, projections from The World Travel & Tourism Council show.

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Canada becomes first G7 country to ban shark fin imports

Leyland Cecco The Guardian 21 Jun 19;

It was on a family visit to Hong Kong that Kristyn Wong-Tam noticed her uncle – a well-regarded chef – was the only person at the table not touching a bowl of shark fin soup.

When he explained how fins are hacked from struggling sharks, before their bodies are tossed back into the water, the rest of the family soon lost their appetite.

“We didn’t understand how the food came to the table,” recalled Wong-Tam. “But it made me think about whether I wanted to eat it, if my uncle – who was actually preparing the food – didn’t want to.”

The experience became a pivotal moment for Wong-Tam: as a Toronto city councillor, she went on to lead efforts to stamp out the sale of shark fins in Canada.

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Best of our wild blogs: 20 Jun 19

Three-Clam day at Pulau Jong
wild shores of singapore

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Indonesia: Juvenile elephant initially thought dead released back into jungle

stephanie lee The Star 19 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A seriously injured juvenile male pygmy elephant thought to be already dead in May has been nurtured to reasonable health and released back into the wild.

Though wildlife rangers are not completely sure it has fully recovered, they have high hopes it will survive and be reunited with its herd.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga (pic) said the elephant was in bad shape when it was discovered at an estate in Sabah’s central Telupid district on May 22, and could not even stand.

He said the male elephant believed aged between five and eight, was immediately taken in for medical treatment.

“When the elephant was found, he could not even stand, there was a huge hole on its back and, at that time, there was a serious infection,” he said when contacted Wednesday (June 19).

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Indonesia: BKSDA rescues trapped, injured female elephant calf in East Aceh

Antara 19 Jun 19;

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - A team rescued a trapped elephant calf that contracted infection from injuries in a forest area in Batu Sumbang Village, Simpang Jernih Sub-district, East Aceh District, Aceh Province, Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Office (BKSDA) stated.

"The trapped elephant calf is a female. She is about a year old," Sapto Aji Prabowo, head of the Aceh BKSDA, remarked here on Wednesday.

The calf's left front leg got wounded following contact with a metal wire mesh.

"She has contracted a serious infection. Moreover, the elephant calf is suffering from dehydration. She got separated from her herd," Prabowo noted.

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Indonesia: Konawe flooding's impact wide-ranging, with 22,573 affected

Antara 19 Jun 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported that flooding in Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi Province, has affected 5,847 families comprising 22,573 people in 24 sub-districts with 166 villages devastated.

Torrential downpour triggered flooding that resulted in the rivers of Konaweeha, Lahambuti, and Rawa Aopa overflowing their banks, BNPB spokesperson Rita Rosita remarked here on Wednesday.

Information from the Konawe disaster mitigation office on Tuesday indicated that the sub-districts of Pondidaha, Wonggeduku, and West Wonggeduku are still submerged in floodwaters of between 30 centimeters and a meter in height.

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Indonesia to restore 200,000 hectares of peatland this year

Reuters 19 Jun 19;

JAKARTA, June 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia's Peatland Restoration Agency said on Wednesday that it aims to restore 200,000 hectares of peatland in 2019, as it races to reach a 1 million hectare restoration target by the end of next year.

The agency was set up in 2016 to restore carbon-rich peatland damaged by fires in seven provinces on Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua islands in 2015.

Indonesia was subsequently blamed for one of the worst ever peat and forest fire crises that blanketed much of Southeast Asia in thick haze and caused billions of dollars of economic losses.

Up to 2018, the agency had restored around 679,000 hectares of peatland, Nazir Foead, head of the Peat Restoration Agency, said.

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Best of our wild blogs: 19 Jun 19

Explosion of giant sea stars at Changi
wild shores of singapore

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Badly injured civet abandoned in cage at Bedok HDB block, later euthanised: Acres

Yahoo News 18 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — Animal welfare group Acres said on Tuesday (18 June) that it is working with NParks to investigate the case of a severely injured common palm civet found abandoned at the foot of an HDB block in Bedok.

The civet was euthanised following an assessment by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Acres, or Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, said in a Facebook post that the civet was found near the bin centre of Block 13A Bedok South Road in a cage on Sunday.

In photos attached with the post, the civet could be seen with open wounds on its tail and right shoulder. Food could be also seen in the cage, which was secured by raffia string.

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Weekly dengue cases in Singapore spike to highest in more than 3 years

Channel NewsAsia 18 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: There were a total of 468 reported dengue cases in the week ending Jun 15, the highest since March 2016, according to data by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

"The number of weekly reported dengue cases have more than quadrupled in the past three months," the agency said on its website.

As of 3pm on Monday (Jun 17), there were 5,261 reported cases, more than the 3,285 cases reported in the whole of 2018 and 2,772 cases in all of 2017.

The number of active dengue clusters has also more than doubled in the past month to 112, as of Monday.

There are 31 high-risk areas with 10 or more cases, including areas in Woodlands, Chai Chee and Geylang.

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Malaysia: Dengue cases on the rise in Sarawak

Goh Pei Pei, Melvin Jon New Straits Times 18 Jun 19;

KUCHING: Sarawak recorded over 700 dengue cases in the first half of this year, with Kampung Ajibah Abol near here being the latest outbreak area.

As the number increases, the state health department has taken the approach that it will no longer compromise with any premises, houses or resident units that found to have Aedes breeding grounds.

Vector Borne Disease Control Unit officer of Sarawak Health Department Kuching Division, Dr Mohd Daniel Salim said RM500 compound will be issued under the Destruction of Disease-Bearing Insects Act (DDBIA) 1975.

The dengue situation in the state, particularly in Kuching, is worrying as it recorded over 200 cases this year, with Kampung Ajibah Abol, identified as the latest outbreak area, he said.

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Malaysia: Conservationists call for mangrove preservation measures along Sabah's coast

kristy inus The Star 18 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A coalition of conservationists and community-based entities have called for mangrove-preservation measures in future development along Sabah's coast.

Coalition 3H, which is made of nine organisations, recommended that any tourism development and associated roads planned must consider future effects of climate change and preserve the natural coastal defence system that mangrove provides.

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Indonesia: Government to be sued for air pollution over Jakarta

Antara 18 Jun 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) has said that 40 to 50 people, including university students and lecturers, advocates, researchers and businessmen, will file a citizen lawsuit against several government institutions due to air pollution in Jakarta.

"Ninety percent of the preparations have been completed, because it involves many people, including some 40 to 50 would-be plaintiffs," LBH public lawyer Ayu Eza Tiara said here on Tuesday.

The participants in the lawsuit, grouped in a movement called "Inisiatif Bersihkan Udara Koalisi Semesta (Ibu Kota), will file the citizen lawsuit (CLS) to demand the right to enjoy clean air.

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Indonesia: 900 hectares of rice fields flooded in Penajam, E Kalimantan

Antara 18 Jun 19;

Penajam, East Kalimantan (ANTARA) - At least 900 hectares of rice fields were inundated in Babulu Sub-district, Penajam Paser Utara District, East Kalimantan Province.

Of the 900 hectares, 600 hectares were located in Sebakung Village and 300 hectares in Sri Rahrja, Bambang Marjuki, an official of the Penajam Paser Utara agriculture office, said here on Tuesday.

The condition of paddy plants were not very bad, so local farmers still could harvest it, he said.

The paddy would have been spoiled if the rice fields were flooded for too long, and if the farmers did not harvest it immediately, he said.

In the meantime, flooding in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, earlier, had extended to a broader area and affected 9,358 families constituting 30,580 people, rising from 20 thousand people the day before, in North Samarinda, Sungai Pinang, and Samarinda Ulu sub-districts.

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Urbanisation, commercial farms threaten Asia's forests, U.N. warns

Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation 18 Jun 19;

BANGKOK, June 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sprawling urban areas and expanding plantations are placing greater pressure on forests and resources in Asia-Pacific, hurting rural communities and exacerbating the effects of climate change, the United Nations food agency said on Tuesday.

The region has the world’s lowest per capita forest area of 19% compared to the global average of 32%, even as the total forest area increased by nearly 18 million hectares (44 million acres) between 1990 and 2015, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

While some Asian countries have introduced policies to conserve forests and give more rights to indigenous people, the area of planted forest nearly doubled between 1990 and 2015 at the expense of more critical primary forests, it said.

“We are worried about the lack of forest quality in our region – as primary forests are rich in biodiversity – and once that’s gone it’s gone,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative in Bangkok.

“Unfortunately, conservation of forests in one country often just shifts deforestation to another,” she said.

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Southeast Asia should ban imports of foreign trash: environmentalists

Patpicha Tanakasempipat Reuters 18 Jun 19;

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Environmental groups called on Tuesday for Southeast Asian countries to ban waste imports from developed countries to help tackle a plastic pollution crisis, as regional leaders prepare to meet this week in Bangkok.

FILE PHOTO: Fishermen boats are seen at a beach covered with plastic waste in Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo
Southeast Asia has seen a staggering spike in imports of plastic and electronic waste from developed countries after the world’s top recycler, China, banned imports, causing millions of tonnes of trash to be diverted to less-regulated countries.

Thailand will from Thursday host four days of meetings for leaders of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss the region’s most pressing issues, including plastic debris in the ocean.

“Greenpeace Southeast Asia demands that ASEAN leaders put this issue on the agenda during their summits this year and make a united declaration to address the region’s plastic waste crisis,” the group said in a statement.

“Declare an immediate ban on all imports of plastic waste,” Greenpeace urged.

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Best of our wild blogs: 16-18 Jun 19

Sea fan garden at Changi fading away
wild shores of singapore

Participate in "My Defining Maritime Moment" Social Media Contest (1 Mar to 31 Aug)!
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

24 Jun (Mon): Chasing Coral - Public Screening & Discussion Forum
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

6 Jul (Sat): A World Without Functional Mangroves? Public Forum
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Bobs of Singapore
Butterflies of Singapore

Night Walk At Ang Mo Kio Garden West (14 Jun 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Tackling issues like building resilience and an inclusive society

Linette Lai Straits Times 16 Jun 10;

Whatever the cause Singaporeans believe in and want to act on, the Government will be happy to partner them in their efforts as long as it is good for Singapore, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said.

He also encouraged people to look beyond the immediate issues that need solving, and think harder about Singapore - such as what it might look like when it turns 100. "How will our economy look like? How will our society look like?" he asked at the end of a dialogue session yesterday that lasted nearly two hours and was attended by more than 400 people.

Concern over the environment, the plight of the disadvantaged, being a small nation in a tumultuous world and what people can do to tackle challenges in these and other areas were among the issues raised by 25 people at the session that was jointly organised by Reach and CNA.

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Student’s lightbulb moment leads to installation of solar panels on school’s roof

REBECCA METTEO Today Online 16 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — One can call it a lightbulb moment.

For Hemal Arora, 16, all it took was him finding out that his school’s electricity consumption was almost 6,000 megawatt hours a year.

That would have been enough to power about 1,300 four-room Housing and Development Board flats. (The average monthly electricity consumption for a four-room flat is about 372.9 kilowatt hours, according to statistics from the Energy Market Authority.)

So Hemal, a Grade 10 student at the United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) East campus, decided that he needed to take action.

“If all of this was coming from natural gas, then it is not sustainable because of the huge greenhouse gas emissions that we're still responsible for just by switching on the lights,” Hemal said.

The solution, he figured, was to use solar panels.

Together with seven other Grade 10 students, they started a project called “Solar for East”.

Read more!

Malaysia: Elephant calf falls into drain

The Star 15 Jun 19;

KOTA TINGGI: A baby elephant, believed to be merely a day old, fell into a drain while crossing the road with its mother at a plantation near the Kota Tinggi Rubber Research Station.

He said the animal was trapped for about six hours before its mother managed to help it out and return to the forest reserve. The calf is said to have sustained bruises.

Read more!

Indonesia: Aceh hit by 283 forest fires since 2016

Antara 16 Jun 19;

Aceh Province has recorded a total of 283 cases of forest fires that hit Indonesia's western most province since 2016 until early June 2019.

Traditional farming using slash-and-burn method contributed to the high number of forest fire cases in the province, according to M Daud, head of the forest management office for Region IV of Aceh, said here on Sunday.

In Aceh, there were 103 fire spots in 2016, 113 in 2017, and 65 in 2018, according to him.

"And in 2019, there are only two fire spots, notably in West Aceh District," he remarked.

Read more!

Vietnam seizes 7.5 tons of elephant ivory, pangolin scales

Associated Press 14 Jun 19;

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Authorities have seized 7.5 tons of elephant ivory and pangolin scales in one of Vietnam’s biggest wildlife trafficking cases.

The 3.5 tons of ivory and 4 tons of pangolin scales were found Wednesday in barrels when customs officers checked a shipping container arriving at northern Hai Phong port, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

The steel barrels containing the ivory and scales were mixed with ones containing tar to conceal the trafficked animal parts from customs authorities.

Read more!

Asian countries take a stand against the rich world’s plastic waste


When the MV Bavaria cargo ship chugged out of a Philippine port one morning last month carrying 69 containers of rotted Canadian garbage, it didn’t just end a messy diplomatic spat between the two countries.

It also signaled a sea change in the global recycling system.

After years of pressure, Canada had agreed to take back the waste, which had been exported to the Philippines beginning in 2013 falsely labeled as plastic scrap. The shipments were part of a decades-old practice in which rich countries including the United States sent used plastic to Asia to be recycled. Often, the shipments included contaminated waste that couldn’t be recycled but made it past customs checks anyway, and countries had few legal avenues to send it back.

That began to change 18 months ago, when China, the biggest consumer of discarded plastics, banned nearly all waste imports to stop the smuggling of non-recyclable scrap. The trade in plastics quickly rerouted to neighboring Southeast Asian countries that lacked effective recycling plants and disposal laws, leaving much of the waste to be burned or dumped in fields and waterways, creating health and environmental hazards.

Now those countries are closing their doors, too.

Read more!

Hundreds of dolphins have died along Gulf Coast since February, scientists say

At least 279 animals have been stranded, triple the usual figure, and 98% have died, prompting investigation
Associated Press The Guardian 15 Jun 19;

At least 279 dolphins have become stranded across much of the US Gulf coast since the start of February, triple the usual number, and about 98% of them have died, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said.

Scientists will investigate whether lingering effects from the 2010 BP oil spill and more immediate effects from low salinity because of freshwater flowing from high rivers and a Louisiana spillway contributed to the deaths, said Teri Rowles, coordinator for Noaa fisheries’ marine mammal health and stranding response program.

BP spill effects included problems with lungs and adrenal glands, which produce stress-related hormones; blood abnormalities; and general poor condition, according to earlier reports. Those reports said the spill contributed to the Gulf of Mexico’s largest and longest dolphin die-off.

“We do know some of the health conditions … are improving, but some have been slow to improve,” Rowles said on Friday. “Reproduction in the heaviest-oiled areas continues below normal.”

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 14-15 Jun 19

Pedal Ubin is back this year on Sat 29 Jun 2019 – and registration is open!

Read more!

Singapore wants year of zero waste. But it’s rubbish at recycling

Read more!

Malaysia: Prevent human-elephant conflicts, Johor urged

nelson benjamin and esther tan The Star 14 Jun 19;

JOHOR BARU: The state govern­ment must take measures to better protect areas where wildlife roam freely to prevent an escalation in human and animal conflicts in future.

Malaysian Nature Society vice-president Vincent Chow said there were several major areas in Johor which needed protection, the Panti and Lenggor forests in Kahang and Mersing, and Labis National Park.

“Elephants roam these areas. Plantations might be destroyed as a result,” he said.

“If we continue to encroach into their habitat, the animals will be forced to come out and look for food in our villages.

Read more!

Malaysia: Sabah to cap visitor numbers at marine park to prevent overcrowding

kristy inus The Star 14 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The carrying capacity to the five islands under Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) here will be capped due to overcrowding, as proposals to "facelift" the islands are also being considered.

Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais said that at present the numbers can reach up to 2,000 visitors per day, with an average of 400 to 500 visitors per island.

“We are going to limit the numbers but that can only be done once we go online to sell entrance tickets.

Read more!

Malaysia: Shock over Canada's refusal to accept returned plastic waste


GEORGE TOWN: A senior Penang lawmaker has expressed shock over news report that Canada is refusing to take back plastic waste from Malaysia.

After all, Canada has willingly taken back its plastic waste from the Philippines.

State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said he had given due respect to the Canadian representatives by not inviting the media during a visit to show the condition of the containers and their content at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) on Tuesday.

“At the federal level, the Malaysian and Canadian ministers are dealing with the issue, but when they put out this kind of statement, they (Canadian government) are not showing any respect to Malaysia, especially Penang.

Read more!

Indonesia: Floods in South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi and East Kalimantan Provinces

International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies ReliefWeb 14 Jun 19;

This bulletin is issued for information only and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Indonesian Red Cross – Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI), with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), are continuing to monitor and respond to the situation with local and national resources. If required, additional financial resources will be sought via the relevant IFRC international disaster response mechanism.

The situation

High intensity rainfall triggered flooding in several areas of Sulawesi and Kalimantan in early June 2019. Three provinces in Sulawesi, namely South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi; and one province in Kalimantan – East Kalimantan, still suffer flooding from significant increase of water discharge, worsened by the high tidal wave.

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Major oil companies commit to carbon pricing at Vatican

NICOLE WINFIELD and FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press Yahoo News 15 Jun 19;

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Some of the world's major oil producers pledged Friday to support "economically meaningful" carbon pricing regimes after a personal appeal from Pope Francis to avoid "perpetrating a brutal act of injustice" against the poor and future generations.

The companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Chevron and Eni, said in a joint statement at the end of a Vatican climate summit that governments should set such pricing regimes at a level that encourages business and investment, while "minimizing the costs to vulnerable communities and supporting economic growth."

The CEOs, as well as leaders of major asset managers such as BlackRock and BNP Paribas, also called for companies to provide investors with clarity about the risks climate change poses to their businesses and how they plan to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Read more!

Climate Change Is All Most of Us Have Ever Known

Nathaniel Bullard, Bloomberg Yahoo News 15 Jun 19;

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In May, the Toronto Star launched an in-depth series on climate change in Canada, with a straightforward title: “Undeniable.” It’s an apt description of the evidence within the reporting and elsewhere in publicly available data.

“Undeniable” might be a useful descriptor, but let’s frame climate change differently: how this reality manifests itself within the human experience, and how politics are being shaped by that experience. Let’s begin with global average temperatures.

Global surface temperatures have surpassed the 1951-1980 average every year since 1977, which means anyone born since has lived their entire lives in an already changed climate.

In 2015, the global median age was just below 30, so a changing climate is the only thing most people on Earth have known.

Different age groups have contrasting views of a climate of constant change and volatility. A recent Gallup poll separated Americans into three climate change cohorts:

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Two-hour ‘dose’ of nature significantly boosts health – study

Researchers say simply sitting and enjoying the peace has mental and physical benefits
Damian Carrington The Guardian 13 Jun 19;

A two-hour “dose” of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing, research suggests, even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace.

The physical and mental health benefits of time spent in parks, woods or the beach are well known, but the new research is the first major study into how long is needed to produce the effect. If confirmed by future research, two hours in nature could join five a day of fruit and veg and 150 minutes of exercise a week as official health advice.

The finding is based on interviews with 20,000 people in England about their activity in the previous week. Of those who spent little or no time in nature, a quarter reported poor health and almost half said they were not satisfied with their life, a standard measure of wellbeing. In contrast, just one-seventh of those who spent at least two hours in nature said their health was poor, while a third were not satisfied with their life.

Read more!

Best of our wild blog: 12-13 Jun 19

Coney Island is Alive
Offshore Singapore

Going Bananas!
Flying Fish Friends

Symbiosis – Who’s the original: Fragines or Tridacnines?
Mei Lin NEO

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Building resilience against natural disasters among ways Singapore can help Asia grow sustainably: Heng Swee Keat

Tang See Kit Channel NewsAsia 12 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is currently developing the market for insurance-linked securities (ILS) as an alternative risk-financing solution, said Acting Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Wednesday (Jun 12).

This can help strengthen Asia’s resiliency against natural catastrophes – one of the three broad ways Singapore can contribute to sustainable growth in the region, according to Mr Heng.

The other two ways include bridging partnerships for regional infrastructure development opportunities through Singapore’s Infrastructure Asia initiative, and promoting sustainable economic growth by growing its sustainable finance sector.

“Singapore seeks to contribute to Asia’s sustainable growth by serving as a key node for channelling financing to the region,” he said.

Read more!

More locally grown organic food in store after farm gets first-of-its-kind certification

LAUREN ONG Today Online 11 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans are set to see more locally grown organic products in their supermarkets after a vegetable farm in Lim Chu Kang took a vital step towards meeting fast-growing demand here for clean, green food.

The farm, operated by Sky Greens, is Singapore’s first farm to secure a new national standard for organic primary produce grown in or near an urban area. The farm received the SS 632 Certification on Tuesday (June 11) at a ceremony attended by Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

NTUC Fairprice director of food quality and safety, Ms Chong Nyet Chin, said Singaporeans’ expanding disposable income, increasing health concerns and consumer awareness are some of the drivers behind the proliferation of the local organic market.

She said consumers here increasingly want to “go for green, go for local and go for niche”.

Read more!

An average person could ingest 100,000 plastic particles a year — equal to one credit card a week: Study

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 12 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — An average person could be ingesting as many as 1,900 plastic particles a week — more than 100,000 particles a year — from sources such as tap and bottled water, shellfish, beer and salt, a study commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has found.

This translates to eating about 250 grams of plastic a year. Put another way, it’s like consuming 5 grams of plastic a week — the equivalent of munching through a credit card.

The study, which is the first to estimate and combine insights from over 50 studies globally on the ingestion of plastic by people, was done by researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia and strategy consulting firm Dalberg Advisors.

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Singapore authorities recall bottled water from Malaysia containing bacteria

Today Online 12 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — Authorities here have issued a recall of bottled mineral water imported from Malaysia after it was found to contain a common environmental bacterium that is found in faeces, soil, water and sewage.

In a media statement on Wednesday (June 12), the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said that the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa was detected in Malaysia’s “Starfresh” bottled drinking water during a routine sampling of the product. It comes in 500ml and 1.5 litre bottles.

The agency said it has directed the importer Radha Exports to recall all affected products, with the process ongoing.

Read more!

Malaysia: Sabah conservationists caution against issuing mining licences

muguntan vanar The Star 12 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A group of Sabah conservationists has come out strongly against the issuance of mining licences for the extraction of natural resources in the state.

The group, comprising 12 NGOs, called on the state government to stay out of mining as its past experience from the Mamut copper mine had left irreparable damage to the state's biodiversity.

The group also called on Mineral and Geoscience Department director-general Effendi Abdullah Azizi to reconsider his suggestion to the state government to issue more mining licences to encourage extraction of natural resources in Sabah.

Read more!

Malaysia: Endangered eagles, slow loris rescued; turtles eggs seized in wildlife raids

stephen then The Star 11 Jun 19;

MIRI: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has rescued two endangered eagles and a slow loris, also seizing dozens of turtle eggs.

In a series of enforcement operations in Serikin town at the southern Sarawak-Kalimantan border, SFC units arrested an Indonesian woman, 47, for selling the turtle eggs in the market there.

The operations were carried out in Serikin during the Gawai and Hari Raya holidays.

Read more!

Malaysia: Eight-year-old Borneo pygmy elephant with fractured jaw put to death

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 12 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: An eight-year-old Borneo pygmy was euthanised yesterday after having suffered from severe dental condition as a result of a complete fracture of its lower jaw.

The sub-adult bull elephant, nicknamed Toothie, was put out of misery by Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) veterinary team at 12pm.

The process was carried out at the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary (BES) in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary where Toothie was being kept in captivity for three months.

Read more!

Indonesia to make moratorium on new forest clearance permanent: Minister

Channel NewsAsia 12 Jun 19;

JAKARTA: Indonesia's moratorium on new forest clearing for palm plantations or logging operations, which has been regularly extended since 2011, will become permanent, the environment minister said on Wednesday (Jun 12).

Indonesia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, with more than 74 million hectares of rainforest - an area nearly twice the size of Japan - logged, burned or degraded in the last half century, according to Greenpeace.

The moratorium covering more than 60 million hectares of primary forest and peatland was introduced in 2011 in an effort to reduce emissions from fires caused by deforestation.

"I have decided to keep the moratorium instead of renewing it every two years," Forestry and Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar told reporters.

Read more!

Indonesian waters facing possible six-meter high waves

Antara 12 Jun 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Waves as high as six-meters might be seen in Indonesian waters during the next four days, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

Head of BMKG Public Relations Taufan Maulana said here on Wednesday that the agency forecasted waves with heights of four to six meters in West Mentawai up to Bengkulu waters, as well as in the seas west of Lampung, and in part of the Indian ocean running from west Mentawai to Lampung.

Read more!

Climate change on track to reduce ocean wildlife by 17%

Marlowe HOOD, AFP Yahoo News 13 Jun 19;

Paris (AFP) - Climate change is set to empty the ocean of nearly a fifth of all living creatures, measured by mass, by the end of the century, researchers have calculated.

In a world that heats up three to four degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, 17 percent of marine biomass -- from minuscule plankton to 100-tonne whales -- will be wiped out, they reported in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

To date, Earth's surface has warmed a full degree (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

Bigger fish and marine mammals already devastated by overfishing, pollution and ship strikes will see especially sharp declines due to rising temperatures.

Even in a "best-case" scenario of limiting warming to 2C -- the cornerstone target of the Paris climate treaty -- the ocean's biomass will drop off by five percent.

Read more!

Devastating coral bleaching around French Polynesia

RNZ 12 Jun 19;

A coral bleaching around the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Mo'orea is being described as the most devastating seen in years.

But what's worried scientists most is that it took them by surprise.

Read more!

Near-record 'dead zone' forecast off U.S. Gulf coast, threatening fish

Rich McKay Reuters 11 Jun 19;

(Reuters) - A near record-sized “dead zone” of oxygen-starved water could form in the Gulf of Mexico this summer, threatening its huge stocks of marine life, researchers said.

The area could spread to about 8,717 square miles (20,577 square km), scientists at Louisiana State University said on Monday, or about the size of the state of New Hampshire, and larger than the 5-year average of 5,770 square miles.

Experts blamed unusually high rainfall across the U.S. Midwest this Spring that washed farm fertilisers along streams and rivers through the Mississippi River Basin out into the Gulf.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 10-11 Jun 19

Rainbow rocks at Pulau Ubin!
wild shores of singapore

16 Jun (Sun): Turtle Tails - Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles in the 21st Century
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Buffer Parks to Nature Reserves
Butterflies of Singapore

Read more!

MPA, conservation group team up to promote marine biodiversity

Lim Min Zhang Straits Times 10 Jun 19;

The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and local marine conservation group Our Singapore Reefs have teamed up to promote the importance of Singapore's marine biodiversity.

They will organise underwater clean-up activities and public outreach events each year as part of a three-year collaboration.

Kicking off the partnership as part of efforts to commemorate World Oceans Day last Saturday, 20 volunteer divers completed an underwater clean-up exercise in the southern waters around Lazarus Island yesterday.

Read more!

Amid the doom and gloom over climate change, environment advocates hold out hope for better future

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 9 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — After a week of sitting through discussions about climate change, participants at an environmental conference here walked away feeling a slight sense of optimism despite the challenges ahead for the world.

Around 2,000 global business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and academics converged at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre for the inaugural Ecosperity Week from June 4 to 7 to discuss matters ranging from how to build sustainable businesses to threats facing the ocean.

Some conference participants whom TODAY spoke to acknowledged that these are dire times.

Marine ecologist Alex Rogers likens climate change to a train that is “coming down the tunnel to hit us very, very hard”.

The world will become “increasingly chaotic because of extreme weather events”, he said, as he called for people to start adopting more sustainable lifestyles.

Read more!

This Convenience Store Doesn’t Sell Food Or Drinks, But Here’s Why You Should Check It Out Anyway

JASMINE TEO Today Online 11 Jun 19;

This new shop with a difference is nestled in Orchard Road.

There’s a new convenience store right smack in the middle of Orchard Road, but instead of snacks or drinks, you’ll find menstrual cups and discarded telephones on its shelves. Come again?

Welcome to The [Not-So] Convenience Store, with a shopfront so quirky cool, it makes for a great OOTD spot. But it’s more than just a photo opp, okay? What looks like a retro cool convenience store is actually an exhibition to raise awareness about a zero-waste lifestyle, and the massive impact that plastic, household, food and electronics waste have on the environment.

Read more!

BreadTalk among 38 companies prosecuted for illegal discharge into public sewers

Channel NewsAsia 10 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: A total of 38 companies have been prosecuted for illegally discharging trade effluent, or liquid waste, into public sewers, said national water agency PUB in a press release on Monday (Jun 10).

The companies were prosecuted between June 2018 and May 2019, and fined a total of S$253,700. Eighteen of these companies were repeat offenders and given harsher penalties.

Offences ranged from the discharge of trade effluent containing regulated metals or chemical substances exceeding allowable limits, to more serious offences of discharging trade effluent containing dangerous or hazardous substances, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Read more!

Recyclers cringe as South-east Asia says it’s sick of the West’s trash

Today Online 10 Jun 19;

TELOK GONG (Malaysia) — Black sedans with government plates raced through a town near Malaysia’s main seaport, flashing blue sirens as they approached rogue trash dumps.

The raid, in the town of Telok Gong this week, was among the latest efforts by officials to shut down unlicensed dumps holding plastic scrap imported from the United States and other rich countries.

“Everybody knows those dumps are illegal,” said Mr Modh Faiz Tamsir, a butcher hawking fly-covered beef in a parking lot on Telok Gong’s main drag. “We don’t like them.”

After China, once the world’s primary dumping ground, abruptly imposed restrictions on “foreign garbage” in late 2017, countries across South-east Asia began taking in the West’s plastic waste.

Within months, Malaysia, which has a sizable ethnic Chinese population, had replaced China as the world’s largest importer of plastic scrap. But this country, and others across the region, soon saw the waste as an environmental nightmare, and a heavy backlash has begun. With public support, some advocacy groups have urged officials to permanently ban the import of plastic waste.

But at a time when the world is awash in such plastic, some experts worry that this backlash could block the flow of raw material to South-east Asia’s aboveboard recyclers and manufacturers — and raise the chances that plastic scrap will end up in rivers, oceans, dumps and illegal burn sites.

Read more!

Malaysia: Penang to return 265 waste-filled containers to countries of origin

Balvin Kaur New Straits Times 10 Jun 19;

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will send 265 plastic waste-filled containers, which are currently held up at the North Butterworth Container Terminal, back to their countries of origin.

State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said that the state is taking the action after receiving instructions from the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry.

The plastic waste containers arrived in Penang from Belgium, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Canada and several other countries.

Read more!

Indonesia to re-export illegal plastic waste

Antara 10 Jun 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia will re-export illegal plastic waste entering the country, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said, following news of the illegal import of plastic waste in Gresik, East Java.

"The waste that enters Indonesia, which has plastic, is definitely not legal. And basically the provisions are there, therefore we will perform a re-export," Nurbaya said in Jakarta on Monday.

The import of illegal plastic waste is not a new problem. From 2015 to 2016, Indonesia re-exported dozens of containers of plastic waste.

Read more!

Indonesia: Sulawesi engulfed by floods, thousands evacuated

The Jakarta Post 10 Jun 19;

Floods in three provinces in Sulawesi have forced thousands of people to flee their houses for higher ground.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) revealed that 4,198 people in North Konawe regency in Southeast Sulawesi had been evacuated to safer areas.

"Asera district is the worst effected, with 13 of its villages inundated. Seventy two houses have been washed away, while thousands of other houses are inundated and hundreds of hectares of rice fields, corn fields and fish ponds have been damaged," Sutopo said in a press release made available to The Jakarta Post Monday.

Besides areas in Southeast Sulawesi, he said the floods that began at the beginning of June following torrential downpours had also left villages in South Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi under water.

Read more!

Philippines: Surge in giant clam population seen as spawning starts in Palawan

The Inquirer 11 Jun 19;

CLAM NURSERY Rows of giant clams are protected in a nursery run by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute near Silaki Island in Bolinao, Pangasinan province. The endangered giant clams (Tridacna gigas) are also propagated in marine research facilities in other parts of the country. —REM ZAMORA

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, Philippines — The future is bright for the conservation of giant clams (Tridacna gigas) after a private foundation has successfully fertilized 9.5 million eggs of this marine species that poachers seek in Philippine waters.

The Malampaya Foundation Inc. (MFI) on Monday said it had embarked on an ambitious project to propagate in large numbers the endangered giant clams, starting in the hatchery of Western Philippines University (WPU) in Barangay Binduyan here.

Read more!

‘Frightening’ number of plant extinctions found in global survey

Study shows 571 species wiped out, and scientists say figure is likely to be big underestimate
Damian Carrington The Guardian 10 Jun 19;

Human destruction of the living world is causing a “frightening” number of plant extinctions, according to scientists who have completed the first global analysis of the issue.

They found 571 species had definitely been wiped out since 1750 but with knowledge of many plant species still very limited the true number is likely to be much higher. The researchers said the plant extinction rate was 500 times greater now than before the industrial revolution, and this was also likely to be an underestimate.

“Plants underpin all life on Earth,” said Dr Eimear Nic Lughadha, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who was part of the team. “They provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, as well as making up the backbone of the world’s ecosystems – so plant extinction is bad news for all species.”

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 7-9 Jun 19

Fiery seagrasses at Beting Bemban Besar!
wild shores of singapore

Terumbu Bemban: corals are well, seagrasses look good
wild shores of singapore

Celebrating World Oceans Day with my Ocean Heroes
Mei Lin NEO

‘200: a natural history’ Exhibition Launch
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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DPM Heng Swee Keat offers ideas to building a sustainable future

Tang See Kit Channel NewsAsia 7 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: A sustainable future for the world can be achieved by deepening international partnerships, enabling all segments of society and developing next-generation talent.

This is according to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was speaking at the FutureChina Global Forum on Friday (Jun 7) held as part of the Ecosperity Week 2019.

“The world is facing major challenges in sustainable development,” said Mr Heng, who is also Singapore’s Finance Minister.

“If not properly handled, these challenges could potentially unravel the progress that the world has made over the past few decades.”

In particular, taking action against climate change and pursuing economic development are the areas in which more needs to be done.

Read more!

Restaurants and malls among 1,600 premises to cut use of disposables in new NEA campaign

Channel NewsAsia 8 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: More than 1,600 premises, including restaurants, malls, hotels, supermarkets and schools, will take steps to encourage consumers to reduce the use of disposables such as plastic bags and takeaway containers.

They come under 59 companies and organisations that have joined the National Environment Agency's (NEA) latest campaign launched on Saturday (Jun 8), to get people to cut down on waste and choose more sustainable alternatives.

Companies will implement initiatives such as providing only reusable straws, offering discounts to customers who bring their own cup for drinks, removing plastic bottled water in meeting rooms and reducing the use of cling wrap in kitchens.

Read more!

Fast fashion, fast trash: Industry needs to arrest carbon impact, find sustainable solutions

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — The fashion industry is guilty of generating carbon emissions more than the aviation and shipping industries combined.

To create a more sustainable industry, it needs to work closer with researchers to implement solutions which can be scaled up more quickly than before.

This was the conclusion on Thursday (June 6) by panellists at the Ecosperity Conference here, held in conjunction with the inaugural Ecosperity Week at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The event is expected to be attended by 2,000 global business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and academia to discuss issues on the environment and sustainable development.

Ms Ariel Muller, the Asia-Pacific managing director at Forum for the Future, a non-profit organisation promoting sustainability, highlighted findings by the United Nations which showed that the fashion industry contributes to 10 per cent — or 1.2 billion tonnes — of carbon emissions.

This is more than the combined total for the shipping and aviation industries.

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Thirsty Singapore taps into innovation to secure its water future

Michael Taylor Thomson Reuters Foundation 7 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE, June 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every day after his morning run, Adam Reutens-Tan washes under a half-full camping shower hooked on the ceiling of his bathroom.

The modified shower, which uses just four litres of water, is one of several ways the Reutens-Tans family conserve water as part of a countrywide push to cut Singapore's daily consumption by 8% by 2030.

The nation currently uses 141 litres per person each day - about enough for two typical eight-minute U.S. showers, according to Harvard University statistics.

Singapore, a steamy, low-lying island city-state, is the fifth most likely country in the world to face extremely high water stress by 2040, according to the U.S.-based World Resources Institute.

And it is hardly alone.

Read more!

Phasing out plastic straws helps the environment, but more needs to be done, say observers

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 8 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: The move by more than 270 food and beverage (F&B) outlets to eliminate plastic straws represents an important move in the right direction, but more work is needed for Singapore to tackle its output of plastic waste, industry observers told CNA.

The local outlets in question will phase out plastic straws by Jul 1, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced on Monday (Jun 3).

They will be removing straws completely from their premises, providing them only on request or for specific medical reasons, WWF said in a media release. The move is part of the PACT (Plastic ACTion) initiative by WWF, which is supported by the National Environment Agency and Zero Waste SG.

Ms Melissa Lam, who started Bamboo Straw Girl, a business selling biodegradable straws, suggested that the move represents a "step" rather than an "achievement".

“It’s got a lot of publicity, a lot of countries have done this and we’re quite slow to the game," she said. "It’s not going to be the be all and end all of the problem.

"This is not an achievement, it’s just a step. It is small but it catches the attention."

Read more!

Singapore’s Sky Farms Are Transforming The Agriculture Sector

Marvie Chorawan-Basilan Business Times 6 Jun 19;

Singapore's cost-efficient sky farms are changing the way people in the city-state view farming and agriculture as a whole. Lab-grown and in-building products are being promoted to help achieve the ultimate goal of producing 30 percent of Singapore's total food by 2030.

According to Voice of America, the basic principle in sky farms is to grow fish, vegetables, and other crops and seafood on top of the city-state's skyscrapers. Singapore has an estimated 5.6 million citizens, but the local agriculture sector only produces 10 percent of food products for Singaporeans.

Among the challenges that the government is faced with are population growth and climate change. With more people moving to the city-state, the biggest dilemma is space for growing crops.

"Whenever I talk about food security in Singapore, I tell folks don't think land - think space. Because you can go upwards and sideways," agriculture professor at Nanyang Technological University, Paul Teng, noted.

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Research progress to lead to improvement in tropical forecasts

Erland Kallen Straits Times 8 Jun 19;

The science of meteorology has made tremendous progress over the last 20 years. Today, the quality of a five-day weather forecast (a weather prediction five days ahead) is about the same as a three-day forecast was 20 years ago. If we assign the value 100 to a perfect forecast, the five-day forecasts today would get about 93 marks. This is particularly true for the mid-latitudes, both in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Over the tropics, forecasts have also improved, but there are still some outstanding issues, such as the prediction of localised thundery showers. For large-scale features such as tropical cyclone tracks and monsoons, the forecasts have become much better - five-day forecasts today are as good as two-day forecasts were 20 years ago.

But regional areas of rain showers and thunderstorms are hard to predict, even a day or two ahead. Thunder showers have a much shorter lifespan than large-scale monsoon winds or tropical cyclones.

But we are now seeing research progress that will improve tropical forecasts. This stems from advances in weather prediction science. Weather scientists rely on observations of temperature, winds, pressure and moisture as well as physics. Using the laws of physics together with supercomputers, scientists are able to set up computer models that calculate the evolution of the weather well ahead of the actual weather events occurring.

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Singapore and other cities have to think outside the box in food production


By 2050, two in three persons in the world will be urbanites. Yet today, only 5 to 10 per cent of food is grown in cities. With climate change projected to decrease global food yields by 25 per cent, cities will need to step up to produce food.

As competition for space becomes even more acute, how can we think outside the box to integrate food production in our cities?

A good starting point is to examine how technology is creating new spaces to produce vegetables, meat and even milk in urban spaces.

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Malaysia: Rangers trying to reunite baby elephant with mother

muguntan vanar The Star 9 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) rangers are trying to reunite a baby Borneo pygmy elephant, which strayed into a plantation in Tawau, with its mother.

The elephant calf was found within the estate’s management compound at about 6.30am yesterday.

The rangers rushed to the plantation after being notified by the management.

The health of the calf, which is just weeks old, is being assessed by WRU veterinarians who are trying to determined if it needs care.

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Malaysia: ‘Illegal trade in bear parts posing threat to animal’

The Star 9 Jun 19;

PETALING JAYA: Widespread illegal trade in bear bile and gall bladder for traditional medicine across Malaysia is potentially a serious threat to wild bears, says TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network.

Traffic South-East Asia senior communications officer Elizabeth John said a 2015 survey of 365 traditional medicine shops across Malaysia, found 48% claimed to sell bear gall bladders and medicinal products containing bear bile.

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Malaysia: All out to protect the exotic animals

clarissa chung The Star 9 Jun 19;

PETALING JAYA: Legislation to ban online advertisements on the sale of endangered animals may soon be introduced under a proposal to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim says this is because currently there are no legal provisions which expressly forbid the advertising of exotic pets on social media channels.

Perhilitan, he said, would be proposing these amendments via the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry and it is likely to be tabled by year’s end.

A regulatory impact analysis prepared by Perhilitan in April 2019 stated that a special provision must be in place to clamp down on online advertisements on the sale of wildlife.

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Malaysia: Fading blips of Sibuti River fireflies

CHANG YI The Borneo Post 9 Jun 19;

The fireflies will come out to illuminate the display trees along the riverbank at night.

IT was definitely a night to remember for the seven of us who went on a two-hour river cruise up the Sibuti River to survey and study fireflies.

The day started ominously with an overcast sky. Rain-laden clouds, building up on the horizon, soon released their ponderous load and blew up a storm from Miri to Bekenu-Sibuti.

Part of the team comprising Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) leader Musa Musbah and his vanguard group were already out of coverage range as they converged in Kuala Sibuti to conduct a briefing.

We, the support team from Miri, decided to proceed, braving the heavy rain and hoping for the best. The dark skies were anything but promising, dumping more rain onto the road, making it very slippery.

But the drencher did not throw a damper on the survey. It remained on target to document the fireflies of Sibuti River before they wax a distant memory.

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Malaysia: Bans alone won't reduce plastic usage

Bernama New Straits Times 9 Jun 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) should get their hands dirty and not depend on bans alone to get people to reduce their plastic use, said the presidents of two local environmental groups.

Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia (PEKA) president, Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil, told Bernama: “The government needs to take the crucial step and get to the root of the problem, which is taking action against factories that produce single-use and non-biodegradable plastic.”

In this way, throwaway plastic will not be easily attainable and the environment will benefit, said Shariffa, while recommending the use of steel, bamboo and paper products instead.

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Malaysia: 62 Malaysian companies hold permits to import plastic waste

Bernama New Straits Times 8 Jun 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 62 Malaysian companies currently hold approved permits (AP) to import and process plastic waste.

The permits are issued by the National Solid Waste Management Department (NSWMD) within the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

In July last year, the Ministry announced a three-month suspension for the issuance of permits following the incident of contamination in Kuala Langat, Selangor, believed to have been caused by a factory processing plastic waste illegally.

NSWMD deputy director (Facilities and Import Permit Unit) Wemi Kalsuna Katerun said all the 62 companies were being continuously monitored to ensure they abide by stipulated regulations.

Stern action, including the revocation of licence, would be taken if any of the companies were found to have violated the regulations pertaining to the permits.

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Malaysia: Alarm as drifting ocean rubbish begins converging on Sipadan

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 7 Jun 19;

SEMPORNA: Sipadan Island, among the few places on earth which provides an unforgettable experience for scuba divers, has not been spared from the blight of man-made floating trash currently polluting the world’s oceans.

Sipadan Island Park and Tun Sakaran Marine Park manager Boni Antiu said that a clean-up of waters off the isolated island in November yielded up to 60kg of rubbish on the beach and 2kg underwater.

“The trash found under the water line was not only (drifting) in the waters of dive sites, but also stuck on corals.

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Malaysia: Fondness for lemang one reason why pitcher plants are becoming extinct, claims Mardi researcher

The Star 7 Jun 19;

SERDANG (Bernama): The pitcher plant (periuk kera in Malay) has a hot topic lately because of the popularity of lemang periuk kera.

Nature lovers and conservationists have expressed their concern over the use of these unique carnivorous plants to prepare lemang – a glutinous rice delicacy served during Hari Raya Aidilfitri – and they claim that the practice is causing the plants to become extinct.

There is an estimated 170 species of the pitcher plant worldwide, which belongs to the Nepenthes genus and is known for its characteristic "pitfall trap" – consisting of a deep-cupped cavity or pitcher filled with a liquid that can digest small insects that fall into it.

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Indonesia: Jellyfish sting several dozen tourists on Gunung Kidul beaches

Antara 6 Jun 19;

Gunung Kidul (ANTARA) - Several dozen tourists spending their Eid holiday on the beaches of Gunung Kidul district, Yogyakarta, were on the receiving end of stings from jellyfish.

Surisdiyanto, one of the local SAR officers in Baron, reported that until 14.00 p.m. local time, 94 tourists were stung by jellyfish in some beaches in the area, specifically in Sepanjang Beach, Watu Kodok Beach, Krakal Beach, Drini Beach, and Kukup Beach.

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Indonesia: Security officers rescue endangered animal in West Sumatra

Antara 8 Jun 19;

Lubukbasung, W Sumatra (ANTARA) - Security officers, deployed for securing the 2019 post-fasting festivities at the Agam District Police Station, West Sumatra, rescued a slow loris, or nyticebus coucang, in Lubukbasung Sub-district on Friday (June 7) night.

Commander of the Simpang Gudang Security Post Police Inspector Nofriandi confirmed here on Saturday that a rare and protected animal was rescued while roaming around the security post.

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Best of our wild blogs: 5-6 Jun 19

Some bleaching at Pulau Semakau (North)
wild shores of singapore

Checking up on the reefs at Cyrene
wild shores of singapore

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Let’s not underestimate threat of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases in Singapore

EUGENE K B TAN Today Online 6 Jun 19;

On May 29, a 63-year-old man who lived in Hougang Avenue 1 became the fourth person in Singapore to die from dengue this year. But Singaporeans do not seem to bat an eyelid at the disturbing trend of increasing dengue infections.

More than 4,000 dengue cases have been reported this year, exceeding the 3,285 for the whole of 2018. The number of cases reported each week has been on a steep upward trend, reaching 402 for the week ending June 1.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) anticipates more dengue cases in the warmer months ahead, prompting it to bring forward its annual dengue-prevention programme.

Have we become indifferent to mosquito-borne public health threats? Are there inadequacies with how we are combating the dengue threat?

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SembWaste signs MoU to attract workers and upgrade skills in recycling industry

Cindy Co Channel NewsAsia 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: The first thing one notices when entering the sorting area in SembWaste’s Materials Recovery Facility is the mountain of rubbish made of items such as plastic bags, boxes, tin cans and even a shoe or two.

This is the tipping hall where recyclables from commercial and municipal partners are collected.

The sorting process begins when the truck tips the collected recyclables into a conveyor belt, funnelling them into the next room where orange-jacketed workers wait, assembly line-style.

Accompanied by the rumble of heavy machinery, workers sort the items that come to them on conveyor belts.

Tossing aside rejects such as pillows and shoes, they separate the remaining items into material types and send them on their way.

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PUB to deploy Singapore's first large-scale floating solar panel system by 2021

Channel NewsAsia 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB said in a press release on Thursday (Jun 6) that it intends to deploy a 50 megawatt-peak (MWp) floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Tengeh Reservoir by 2021.

According to PUB, the floating Tengeh system will eliminate the need to emit 28,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year that it is in operation - the equivalent to removing 6,000 cars off Singapore's roads.

When installed, it will be Singapore’s first single large-scale floating solar PV system, and one of the largest of its kind in the world. PUB first tested the systems at Tengeh Reservoir in 2016.

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Singapore researchers find ways to turn trash into building blocks

Vanessa Liu Straits Times 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE - Come 2035, Singapore's one and only landfill, on Semakau Island, is expected to run out of space and the nation's trash might have nowhere to go.

In a race against time to solve this impending crisis, local scientists are trying to come up with alternative uses for the country's burnt rubbish in construction and automobiles.

The idea of using incinerated ash to replace sand and stone in construction is not new, but its application has been delayed because of the risk of toxic heavy metals in the ash leaching into the environment.

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SP Group and Gardens by the Bay launch pilot project to convert waste to energy, biomass

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: SP Group and Gardens by the Bay launched on Thursday (Jun 6) a two-year pilot project to convert waste to by-products that can used within the local attraction.

The smart waste management system involves the use of gasification technology, turning waste produced within Gardens by the Bay into syngas - primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen - as well as carbonised biomass.

The combustion of syngas then produces thermal energy, which is used to heat up water for potable use by F&B outlets within the local attraction.

The carbonised biomass, known as biochar, is a substance which some studies have shown can be used to help the soil retain nutrients better. Gardens by the Bay will be conducting experiments on the usefulness of biochar before making a decision on its usage.

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Malaysia, Johor: 3 elephants found dead, feared poisoned

Bernama New Straits Times 5 Jun 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Three elephants were found dead in Kampung Sri Timur 3, Kluang, Johor, on Tuesday, believed to have been poisoned.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said an initial post-mortem conducted on the animals to identify the cause of death indicated there maybe criminal elements involved.

“Nonetheless, the type of poison imbibed is still unknown as the samples of the liver and kidney of three elephants have to be sent to the Chemistry Department for analysis.

“The results of the toxicology analysis to identify the poison will be known in three months,” he said in a statementtoday.

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Malaysia: Single-use plastic banned in Selangor govt depts

wani muthiah The Star 4 Jun 19;

KLANG: All Selangor government departments and agencies are prohibited from using single-use plastic starting from July 1.

State Environment, Green Technology, Consumer and Non-Islamic Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the move was to promote a healthy and clean environment, as well as counter contamination issues arising from single-use plastic.

“It is also in line with the state government’s efforts to reduce the usage of single-use plastic, especially plastic bags and polystyrene,” Hee said in a statement.

He said the ruling was also in tandem with the Federal Govern­ment’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030 that was launched last year.

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Malaysia: Widespread floods in interior Sarawak

stephen then The Star 5 Jun 19;

MIRI: Widespread floods have inundated numerous settlements in northern and central Sarawak, following heavy rain over the past 24 hours.

Long Busang village in the vicinity of Bakun Dam in central Sarawak is totally submerged in about three metres of water.

At least 1,000 villagers have been evacuated to higher grounds.

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Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon surges to record high

Environmentalists fear 2019 will be one of worst years for deforestation in recent memory
Jonathan Watts The Guardian 4 Jun 19;

Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surged last month to the highest May level since the current monitoring method began, prompting concerns that president Jair Bolsonaro is giving a free pass to illegal logging, farming and mining.

The world’s greatest rainforest – which is a vital provider of oxygen and carbon sequestration – lost 739sq km during the 31 days, equivalent to two football pitches every minute, according to data from the government’s satellite monitoring agency.

Although a single month is too short to confirm long-term trends, May is considered an important guide because it marks the start of the dry season, which is when most burning and other forms of forest clearance are carried out.

Unless the government sends a clear signal it will not tolerate a further acceleration, environmentalists fear there will be an increase in the coming months that could make 2019 one of the worst years for deforestation in recent memory.

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Best of our wild blogs: 4 Jun 19

Special Changi shore still alive
wild shores of singapore

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New exhibition documents 200 significant natural history events in Singapore

Straits Times 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE - It may seem hard to imagine now but such was the popularity of turtle meat in 19th Century Singapore that the creatures were often kept alive by being placed upside down until people got hungry.

And less than 30 years ago wild elephants roamed Pulau Tekong for a week, after a family of three swam over from Johor and co-existed with national servicemen, until the trio were captured and moved to a national park in Malaysia.

These are some of the 200 stories documented at a new exhibition at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

200: A Natural History was opened by guest of honour Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, on Monday (June 3).

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S$26 million in funding for firms to implement water conservation schemes

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — Over the next three years, large industrial water users that are keen to implement water recycling or water conservation solutions within their premises can tap on funds of up to S$26 million administered by PUB.

The national water agency said water-intensive companies could reduce their consumption by up to 70 per cent through water recycling.

Water demand in the non-domestic sector is projected to jump from the current 55 per cent to 70 per cent of overall consumption by 2060, it said.

PUB hopes to achieve industrial water savings of three million gallons per day (mgd) every year, or savings equivalent to the water demand of more than 25,000 households.

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As businesses join anti-straw bandwagon, consumers call for more sustainable solutions

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — While most lauded the move by hundreds of food and beverage outlets to stop providing straws, critics also pointed out that a plastic straw ban alone does little to reduce plastic pollution as a whole.

Some consumers TODAY spoke to said that businesses should adopt more sustainable solutions that reduce overall plastic use and other types of waste if they are serious about doing their bit for environmental sustainability.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced on Monday (June 3) that more than 270 F&B outlets in Singapore will remove straws completely from their premises or provide them only on request by July 1.

Ms Aarti Giri, founder of Plastic-Lite Singapore, said that while it is good to hear about F&B business coming together to reduce the use of straws, this may only address the “straw” issue and not disposable plastics on the whole.

“As rightly pointed out by some, straws are a small part of the humongous plastic waste problem,” she said.

“In fact, I am afraid, businesses may get away from their actual corporate social responsibility role by feeling good that they are playing an important part merely by shining the spotlight on straws reduction and may turn out to be just another tactic to go under the ‘corporate green washing’ umbrella,” she added.

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More than 270 F&B outlets to stop providing plastic straws by Jul 1

Channel NewsAsia 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: More than 270 food and beverage (F&B) outlets in Singapore will phase out plastic straws by Jul 1, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced on Monday (Jun 3).

Participating F&B outlets will be removing straws completely from their premises, providing them only on request or for specific medical reasons, WWF said in a media release.

This includes 53 F&B outlets owned by Accor Group, which operates hotels like Raffles, Swissotel and Fairmont, 24 Pastamania outlets, dozens of outlets operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore and 15 eateries under the Spa Espirit Group including Tiong Bahru Bakery and 40 Hands.

"This is the largest industry commitment so far that addresses the excessive use of plastic disposables in Singapore," said Ms Lotika Mehta, campaigns manager of WWF-Singapore.

The move is part of the PACT (Plastic ACTion) initiative by WWF, which is supported by the National Environment Agency and Zero Waste SG.

People in Singapore use about 2.2 million straws daily, according to a 2018 report by AlphaBeta, The Final Straw and the Cyan Project.

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