Best of our wild blogs: 19 Jul 19

Sentosa Tanjung Rimau still alive!
wild shores of singapore

Pasir Ris explodes with sea hares and Babylon snails
wild shores of singapore

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Can Singapore and rest of South-east Asia rise to the challenge of surging seas?

BENJAMIN HORTON Today Online 18 Jul 19;

The Government announced in March that it will start a National Sea Level Programme this year to bring together research expertise and better understand how rising sea levels will impact Singapore.

On Wednesday (July 17), Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said that the Government will set aside S$10 million in funding for the programme over the next five years and set up a new office to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in climate science.

Why are sea levels rising and how will it affect the region and Singapore? And what can we do about it?

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Citizens’ workgroup to be formed to help improve recycling culture

Comprising 50 S'poreans from diverse backgrounds, it will work on creating effective solutions
Timothy Goh Straits Times 18 Jul 19;

The Government will convene a citizens' workgroup as part of its efforts to tackle climate change and environmental issues.

This was announced by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor during the Partners for the Environment Forum yesterday.

Dr Khor said that climate change and environmental protection are "complex and multifaceted problems that cannot be addressed by the Government alone", and which require businesses and individuals to also do their part.

Though the public has already been engaged widely on the Zero Waste Masterplan which will be launched later this year, Dr Khor said that the Government wants to go beyond discussion to action, and work with Singaporeans to co-create effective solutions to environmental issues.

The citizen's workgroup is an example of such collaboration. Comprising 50 Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds, it will work with the authorities on solutions to improve the way people here recycle at home.

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Environmental champions lauded for efforts, inspiring others to go green

LAUREN ONG Today Online 18 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE — No plastic straws, plastic water bottles or plastic boxes are being sold or used on the premises of Commonwealth Secondary School, thanks to a push by the school’s biology teacher, Mr Jacob Tan Guan Rui.

The drive to minimise the use of plastic was spurred by a conversation that Mr Tan had with his former student, who was aghast by the exorbitant amount of plastic waste he witnessed in schools, especially the polytechnic where he was.

Mr Tan, 33, said: “I wasn’t aware of the issue of plastic waste pollution until, in September 2017, the ex-student came back to look for me and told me (how this was bothering him).

Mr Tan agreed that more could be done in this area and said that he would read up more and see if he could “influence the school community” to support an initiative to cut down on plastic use.

Commonwealth Secondary School now has a campaign that bans plastic products from the canteen since the end of 2017.

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Singaporeans head to fire hotspot village in Indonesia to tackle haze

Michael Taylor Reuters 19 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Singaporean charity is working with villagers in Indonesia to restore ancient peatlands, seeking to curb the haze that chokes the region every year, organizers said on Thursday.

Indonesian farmers burn huge swathes of land every year to clear land for agricultural expansion, creating a vast haze that clouds the skies over large parts of Southeast Asia - including Singapore.

Now the People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM Haze), an advocacy group in the city-state, has launched a peatland restoration project in a tiny Indonesian village that suffered bad fires in 2014.

“One of the things we realized is that good management of peatland is very important for managing haze in the region,” Benjamin Tay, executive director of PM Haze told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“A lot of the haze comes over from that part of Indonesia into Singapore, so by preventing fires and haze in that region, we prevent haze from coming to Singapore,” he said.

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Community sheds with litter-picking tools for beach clean-ups set up in Singapore parks

Channel NewsAsia 17 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Sheds with shared, reusable litter-picking tools dubbed CleanPods have been set up at three parks in Singapore, the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) and National Parks Board (NParks) said on Wednesday (Jul 17).

Volunteer groups who organise beach clean-ups will be able to reduce waste by using the tools provided in the community storage platform, the two agencies said.

The existing methods of organising such activities might potentially contribute to waste, PHC and NParks said.

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Malaysia, Johor: 3 factories identified as most likely sources of Pasir Gudang air pollution

Rizalman Hammim New Straits Times 18 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: The Environment Department (DoE) has identified three chemical-based factories as the most likely sources of the air pollution in Pasir Gudang last month.

DoE director-general Norlin Jaafar said the factories were found to have high levels of methyl mercaptan readings when the incident was first reported.

“The three factories were identified through a process of elimination following checks on all 257 chemical-based factories in Pasir Gudang,” she said.

“All of them are also located within a 3km radius of Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar and SK Pasir Gudang 4.”

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Malaysia: Orangutan numbers drop as much as 30% in Malaysian palm oil estate forests - WWF

Reuters 18 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Orangutan populations in forest patches found in oil palm estates in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah fell as much as 30% in 15 years, but the overall population of the species in the area is stable, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said.

WWF’s findings, which it says are the result of the most intensive survey ever done on any great ape in the world, show that orangutan numbers fell by 30% and 15% respectively in Kulamba and Tabin, in eastern Sabah, between 2002 and 2017.

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Malaysia: Tigers spotted in Kampung Besul

Rosli Zakaria New Straits Times 18 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Yesterday, a pair of killer whales made a huge splash all over the news when they appeared near the oil rigs in Dulang, off the Terengganu coast, and today, villagers in Kampung Besul in Dungun were shocked when a pair of usually nocturnal tigers roamed along a road in the village in broad daylight.

Facebook user Adli Mohamed uploaded three pictures of the tigers, one leaning against a car and another resting under a tree.

He claimed in his posting that the pictures were authentic and that the incident happened today.

“They appeared before my eyes and I now know the experience of trying to escape from dangerous animal on a motorcycle,” he said, adding that the pictures were taken with his mobile phone camera.

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Malaysia: Vietnamese fishermen targeting sea cucumber in Sabah waters

Norasikin Daineh New Straits Times 19 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Vietnamese fishermen are now targeting sea cucumbers apart from other seafood in Malaysian waters especially in Kudat.

State Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy operations director captain Asmawati Mohd Tujeri said the agency was aware that there was a change of trend with foreign fishermen now focusing on the species.

She described the rampant catching of sea cucumbers during its recent arrests as worrying as the activity would destroy the marine ecosystem.

"We notice that the foreign vessels did not only take our fish but also aiming for the species.

"This is serious as they used metals along the seabed to take those sea cucumbers which would damage coral reefs,” she said.

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Indonesia: 11 provinces should declare alert status for forest fire - Ministry

Antara 18 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs has appealed to 11 provincial administrations prone to land and forest fires to impose emergency alert status in their respective regions.

"Regions must soon declare an emergency alert status, because of the total 16 provinces (prone to forest fires), only five have imposed the status," the ministry's Deputy for Public Order and Security Coordination Insp. Gen Carlo B. Tewu remarked during a coordination meeting to evaluate and take precautionary measures against land and forest fires here on Thursday.

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Indonesia: North Sumatra catches tiger that killed farmer

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 18 Jul 19;

After two months of hunting, the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA North Sumatra) has succeeded in catching a Sumatran tiger that killed a farmer.

The agency found the tiger alive on Tuesday in Huta Bargot subdistrict, Sosopan district, Padang Lawas regency, after it entered a trap the agency’s team had prepared.

The tiger was suffering from wounds on its right leg when caught, believed to have been caused by snares placed by residents.

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Indonesia: Komodo Island to be closed in 2020


East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Tourism Agency head Wayan Darmawa announced on Thursday that Komodo Island is to close by the beginning of 2020.

“It is definite; we have decided to close Komodo Island next year,” Wayan said, as reported by Antara news agency.

The closure is intended for the environmental rehabilitation of the island and to improve the conservation efforts for the Komodo dragons .

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Thailand: Marine experts push to plan to protect dugongs

The Phuket News 18 Jul 19;

KRABI: Calling on local fishermen to preserve dugong sea grass grazing areas and establishing a dugong protection zone are just two strategies to be rolled out under a plan to try to stem the rising number of dugongs found dead along the Andaman coast.

The proposals were put forward at a meeting in Krabi on Tuesday (July16) headed by Marine and Coastal Resources Department Director-General Jatuporn Buruspat. Also present were Rear Admiral Nunthapon Mararat of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command and Krabi Vice Governors Somkuan Kunngen and Sompot Chotichuchuang.

So far this year 15 dead dugongs have washed ashore or been found in the sea off the coast of the southern provinces, much higher than the yearly average, the meeting was told.

Mr Jatuporn unveiled a plan comprising short-term, mid-term and long-term phases.

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Thailand: Dramatic drop in Mekong water level sparks alarm

Pratch Rujivanarom The Nation 18 Jul 19;

Mekong River water levels that fell dramatically on Thursday under impact from dam operations will soon recover, says the national water management agency.

Somkiat Prajumwong, secretary-general at the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR), offered the reassurance despite warnings from experts that the dams are destroying Mekong ecosystems and doing long-lasting harm to millions of people who depend on the river.

Over this week, Mekong River levels on the Laos-Thailand border in the Northeast fell at an alarming rate after China’s Jinghong Dam reduced its discharge and Xayaburi hydropower dam in Laos began trial operations.

Somkiat admitted that Thai authorities had no measures to mitigate the rapid change in water level but said the river would return to normal quickly, as Jinghong Dam had already resumed its regular discharge rate and the Xayaburi Dam trial would conclude soon.

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IUCN red list reveals wildlife destruction from treetop to ocean floor

Latest list shows extinction now threatens a third of all assessed species, from monkeys to rhino rays
Damian Carrington The Guardian 18 Jul 19;

From the tops of trees to the depths of the oceans, humanity’s destruction of wildlife is continuing to drive many species towards extinction, with the latest “red list” showing that a third of all species assessed are under threat.

The razing of habitats and hunting for bushmeat has now driven seven primates into decline, while overfishing has pushed two families of extraordinary rays to the brink. Pollution, dams and over-abstraction of freshwater are responsible for serious declines in river wildlife from Mexico to Japan, while illegal logging is ravaging Madagascar’s rosewoods, and disease is decimating the American elm.

The red list, produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is the most authoritative assessment of the status of species. The list published on Thursday adds almost 9,000 new species, bringing the total to 105,732, though this is a fraction of the millions of species thought to live on Earth. Not a single species was recorded as having improved in status.

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Best of our wild blogs: 17 Jul 19

Sea slug overdose on Changi Creek shores
wild shores of singapore

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Wanted: Public feedback on how to reduce Singapore’s carbon emissions beyond 2030

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 17 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans may now give their suggestions on how to make Singapore cleaner and greener.

The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) launched an online public consultation exercise on Tuesday (July 16) to get feedback from the public regarding its long-term strategy to reduce Singapore’s carbon emissions beyond 2030.

It would like to seek views on measures and actions that can be taken by the Government, businesses, households and individuals towards becoming a low carbon city, to minimise carbon emissions.

The NCCS, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Office, oversees Singapore’s domestic and international policies to tackle climate change.

It is working on a strategy which builds on Singapore’s ongoing effort to achieve its pledge under the Paris Agreement — where Singapore has committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.


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‘Time is running out’: Tackling climate change a priority for Singapore, says Masagos

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 17 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Facing the “loud and unmistakable” warning of climate change, Singapore needs to act, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Jul 17).

Speaking at the 2019 Partners for the Environment forum, Mr Masagos stressed that tackling climate change is a “pressing priority” and an “existential challenge” for Singapore.

“Time is running out,” he said. “Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued one of the starkest warnings from the scientific community – an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius in global warming could occur as early as 2030.

“The warning is loud and unmistakable: We must act now or we may well face the ultimate threat to human survival ... the end of ‘life as usual’.”

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More mosquitoes or mutating virus? Experts have different views on dengue spike

Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 16 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore could see more cases of dengue than usual in 2019 after a lull of a few years, but it is not clear what is causing the current spike, infectious diseases experts told CNA.

Dengue cases rose to 666 last week, which the National Environment Agency (NEA) said was the highest recorded in a week since a previous peak in January 2016, when the number of cases hit 637.

As of 3pm on Monday (Jul 15), there were 7,438 recorded cases of dengue in Singapore, about five times more than the 1,481 cases in the same period last year, NEA said. Five people have died from dengue this year.

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Indonesia: Forest fires seared through 30,477 thousand hectares area in July

Antara 16 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Forest fires had consumed a total of 30,477 hectares of area as of July 2019, Agus Wibowo, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), stated.

Forest and bush fires engulfed the provinces of Aceh, Riau, Jambi, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and West Papua, Wibowo remarked here on Tuesday.

Forest fires devastated a total of 27,683 hectares of area in Riau, 2,274 hectares in West Kalimantan, 236 hectares in South Sumatra, 142 hectares in Aceh, 58 hectares in West Papua, 53 hectares in South Kalimantan, 27 hectares in Central Kalimantan, and four hectares in Jambi.

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Thirty-year study reveals cause of coral bleaching crisis

Brooks Hays UPI 16 Jul 19;

July 16 (UPI) -- Corals are disappearing across the world's oceans, and most scientists have pointed to warming water temperatures -- the result of climate change -- as the primary driver. But new research suggests nitrogen pollution is the main cause of coral bleaching in Florida.

The study, published this week in the journal Marine Biology, was compiled using three-decades worth of observational data collected at the Looe Key Reef in the lower Florida Keys.

"Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area," lead study author Brian Lapointe, research professor at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, said in a news release.

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Reducing plastic: H&M to charge 10 cents each for shopping bags in all Singapore stores

NABILAH AWANG Today Online 15 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE — Fashion retailer H&M is joining the environmental battle to reduce single-use plastic bags and other packaging with a new charge of 10 cents each for shopping bags.

The initiative, which will start from July 25, is part of H&M’s “circular packaging strategy” to reduce the use of plastic in the long run, the firm said in a media release on Monday (July 15).

All proceeds collected from the charge for plastic and paper shopping bags will be donated to WWF Singapore’s Plastic ACTion (Pact) initiative — an industry-wide push for businesses to reduce plastic use by 2030.

As the first fashion retailer signatory to the Pact initiative, H&M said it is committed to eliminating unnecessary packaging, transitioning to reusable materials and using recycled plastic in its packaging by 2025.

Various firms in the food and beverage sector, as well as some hotels, have already signed on to the Pact initiative.

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Weekly dengue cases in Singapore hit highest level since January 2016

Channel NewsAsia 16 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Dengue cases last week rose to 666, the highest recorded in a week since 2016, the National Environment Agency (NEA) confirmed on Tuesday (Jul 16) on its website.

The last time the weekly recorded numbers peaked was in January 2016, when there were 637 cases in one week.

As of 3pm on Monday (Jul 15), there were 7,483 recorded cases of dengue in Singapore in 2019.

This is about five times more than the 1,481 dengue cases in the same period last year, NEA said. The number is also more than twice the 3,285 cases for the whole of 2018, and the 2,772 cases for all of 2017.

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Malaysia: Making tiger protection a national priority

Nirooshini Madaven New Straits Times 15 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: WWF-Malaysia will launch a year-long Malayan Tigers Pledge during the Global Tiger Day celebration this year, in hopes to make protecting Malayan tigers a national priority.

Its executive director/CEO Sophia Lim said the Malayan Tiger Pledge would provide an avenue for Malaysians to symbolically support the establishment of a National Tiger Committee and garner the support of one million people by Global Tiger Day 2020 celebration.

She added that by actively including the civil society as a critical component of the effort, there would still be hope to protect our Malayan tigers for generations to come.

“We can ensure their survival if we act now instead of documenting their extinction,” said Lim at the Malayan Tiger Run 2019-Roar for Life!, launched today.

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Malaysia: Stiffer penalties to curb poaching in Terengganu

Rosli Zakaria New Straits Times 15 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The State Legislative Assembly today unanimously approved amendments to the Taman Negara National Park Enactment No. 6 of 1939, paving the way for the state government to introduce stiffer penalties against poachers.

The amendments, proposed by Ariffin Deraman (Pas-Alur Limbat) and seconded by Ir Saiful Azmi Suhaili (Pas-Kemasik), makes Terengganu the second state after Pahang to amend a similar Enactment with the same purpose.

It also follows the success of the National Parks and Wildlife Department in April when they arrested a group of poachers from Indochina during Ops Belang, aimed at monitoring the habitat of tigers and other protected wildlife.

Debating the motion, Hishamuddin Abdul Karim (Pas-Tepuh) said although the Fatwa Council decreed that poaching was haram (prohibited), it was not sufficient to stop illegal hunting activities.

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Malaysia is overflowing with waste and we’re running out of options

SIM LEOI LEOI The Star 16 Jul 19;

Since the Sg Kim Kim crisis broke and sickened almost 4,000 people with noxious fumes in Pasir Gudang, Johor, in March, Malaysians seem to have woken up to a new reality about waste.

It’s not just the river that runs through the maze of factories in the industrial area that is a dumpsite for tonnes of toxic chemicals; pretty much all of Malaysia has become a dumping ground for all sorts of wastes.

The media is littered with reports of illegal dumping, whether of plastic, chemical or construction waste, e-waste or even plain old rubbish.

One only has to go to illegal landfills in towns like Jengjarom, Kulim and Sg Petani to see the severity of the problem – and pictures of the mounds of trash in these small towns in Selangor and Kedah have made their way to international media.

How did it come to this?

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Indonesia: 127,977 Gunung Kidul inhabitants affected by drought

Antara 15 Jul 19;

Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - Drought has affected a total of 127,977 inhabitants of Gunung Kidul District, Yogyakarta Special Autonomous Region, and the dry spell is forecast to get worse.

"The dry spell leaves 15 sub-districts parched, and the number of affected villages has increased," Edy Basuki, head of the Gunung Kidul disaster mitigation office, said here on Monday.

Of the 15 sub-districts, the sub-districts of Girisubo, Paliyan, Rongkop, Panggang, and Tepus are the worst affected.

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Indonesia: Bali wins plastic-ban battle in Court, steps closer to being plastic-free island

Ni Komang Erviani The Jakarta Post 15 Jul 19;

Bali is on track to reduce plastic waste on the resort island after the Supreme Court rejected a judicial review that challenged the local administration’s limit on single-use plastic.

“[The verdict] means that the gubernatorial regulation that limits the use of single-use plastic has a strong legal position and can be applied across Bali,” Bali Governor Wayan Koster said Thursday.

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Thailand: Mounting dugong deaths cause alarm

APINYA WIPATAYOTIN Bangkok Post 15 Jul 19;

Two more dugongs were found dead on Sunday, one off the coast of Krabi and the other in Trang, bringing the death toll to five in four months, said Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, director of Phuket Marine Biological Centre.

In Krabi, the dead dugong was pulled out of the sea between Koh Pu and Koh Phi Phi. The other dead dugong was found washed ashore on Hat Samran beach in Trang's Hat Samran district.

The Krabi dugong was a 2.3-metre long male weighing about 400kg, said Woraphot Lomlin, head of Hat Noppharat Thara National Park-Phi Phi Archipelago in Krabi.

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Recycled electronics are turning Thailand into a 'dumping ground for hazardous waste'

Kathryn Diss ABC News 16 Jul 19;

Electronic waste from Western countries, including Australia, is flooding the shores of South-East Asian nations like Thailand, sparking fears of air and water pollution.

Global waste markets were upended in 2018 when China implemented tough new import restrictions on plastic and e-waste materials from foreign nations, forcing countries to find new markets.

Australia is among the countries taking advantage of the lax environmental regulations in Asia, redirecting trash China will no longer take to countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

But the rapid shift in global markets has had a devastating flow-on effect to communities now dealing with a flood of contaminated waste.

In Thailand, scores of new sorting and recycling companies — many of them illegal and with Chinese shareholders — have sprung up in provinces surrounding the country's main port of Laem Chabang.

The agricultural district of Chachoengsao, east of Bangkok, is one of the provinces which became a dumping ground for e-waste.

Local villager Payao Charoonwong said she has lost her main water source as a result.

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When did Southeast Asia become a dumping ground for waste?

If Southeast Asian countries no longer accept waste from high-income countries, where will the waste go? City University of Hong Kong Dr Danny Marks tackles the tough questions behind our giant waste problem.
Danny Marks Channel NewsAsia 16 Jul 19;

HONG KONG: Seventy-five per cent of globally exported waste ends up in Asia. But since July 2017 — when China began to ban imports of plastic waste — Southeast Asia in particular has become a dumping ground for wealthier countries’ waste.

After China’s ban, the amount of plastic waste imported to countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia more than doubled.

As the amount of foreign waste accumulates and resentment grows among local populations, Southeast Asian governments are beginning to refuse to act as the world’s dumpsite.

Both Malaysia and the Philippines recently announced plans to return waste from Western countries that had improper labelling.

Malaysia and the Philippines have already returned waste to Spain and South Korea, respectively. Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam recently restricted plastic waste imports, with a complete ban planned for in the coming years.

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Best of our wild blogs: 15 Jul 19

20 Jul (Sat): Volunteer training for NParks Biodiversity Beach Patrol
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Ubin's Prickly Affair
Wan's Ubin Journal

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Singapore opens first seed bank to protect regional plant diversity against climate change

Junn Loh Channel NewsAsia 13 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s first seed bank was officially launched on Saturday (Jul 13), as part of efforts to protect local and regional plant diversity against threats like climate change and habitat loss.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank, set up by the National Parks Board (NParks) in House 4 – the largest of the five colonial-style houses within the former Raffles College at Cluny Road – has a storage capacity of up to 25,000 plant species.

This is about half the number of seed plant species in the region and more than double of that currently found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which has around 10,000 species.

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'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

Ambitious export plan could generate billions and make Australia the centre of low-cost energy in a future zero-carbon world
Adam Morton The Guardian 14 Jul 19;

The desert outside Tennant Creek, deep in the Northern Territory, is not the most obvious place to build and transmit Singapore’s future electricity supply. Though few in the southern states are yet to take notice, a group of Australian developers are betting that will change.

If they are right, it could have far-reaching consequences for Australia’s energy industry and what the country sells to the world.

Known as Sun Cable, it is promised to be the world’s largest solar farm. If developed as planned, a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels will be spread across 15,000 hectares and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock.

Overhead transmission lines will send electricity to Darwin and plug into the NT grid. But the bulk would be exported via a high-voltage direct-current submarine cable snaking through the Indonesian archipelago to Singapore. The developers say it will be able to provide one-fifth of the island city-state’s electricity needs, replacing its increasingly expensive gas-fired power.

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Malaysia: Pasir Gudang pollution victims lodge police report

The Star 14 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU (Bernama): More than 100 victims of the pollution in Pasir Gudang in March and June have lodged a police report here to urge the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the incidents.

Among the victims who lodged the reports were residents of Taman Pasir Putih, Kota Masai and Tanjung Puteri Resort.

The police report was made through the Resident Action Body On Environment Pollution Issues of Taman Pasir Putih at the Seri Alam Police Station at 11.11am Sunday (July 14).

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Malaysia: Gazetting of shark and ray species not enough, says expert

The Star 13 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government has gazetted four shark and two ray species as protected, but a conservationist says the move may not be enough.

Sabah Shark Protection Association president Aderick Chong said that while the move was good and timely, there were a lot of uncertainties on its effectiveness.

“I am wondering how the authorities will control what fishermen catch and what traders sell,” he said when contacted.

“How can they enforce this law when many a times, we cannot even identify the species of the shark after its head has been chopped off?” he said.

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Malaysia: Juvenile clouded leopard successfully rescued in Ranau

The Star 13 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A male juvenile clouded leopard, believed to have become separated from its mother, was rescued at a village in Ranau district early Saturday (July 13) morning.

The Sabah Wildlife Department's wildlife rescue unit (WRU) went to Kampung Perancangan on Friday evening, after a villager said he spotted the animal roaming around the village a couple of days before.

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Malaysia: 250 turtle eggs confiscated from Lahad Datu market

Hazsyah Abdul Rahman New Straits Times 13 Jul 19;

LAHAD DATU: Marine police have seized 250 turtle eggs from the Lahad Datu wet market here yesterday (July 12).

In the 10am operation, the eggs, worth RM500, were found in a bucket and a basket near the market's chicken slaughter station.

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Malaysia: Researchers find microplastics in sea salt

The Star 14 Jul 19;

THE increase in news reports of marine wildlife washing up dead on shores due to complications from ingesting plastic, brings to light the severity of plastic consumption, disposal of plastic and garbage, and pollution of our waterways and oceans.

The Great Pacific garbage patch so far is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. There are smaller accumulations scattered all around the world. If marine life has been affected, are humans at risk?

This is what piqued the interests of senior lecturers, Dr Jane Gew Lai Ti and Dr Yow Yoon Yen of the Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Technology at Sunway University.

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Indonesia: Man arrested for trying to smuggle elephant tusks from Malaysia

Dyaning Pangestika The Jakarta Post 12 Jul 19;

The authorities in Nunukan, North Kalimantan, have arrested a 54-year-old man for allegedly trying to smuggle 10 elephant tusks from Malaysia.

Investigators from the Kalimantan Law Enforcement Center (Gakkum) foiled the smuggling attempt after receiving a tip-off from the Nunukan Customs and Excise Office on Tuesday.

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Indonesia: Living with drought

The Jakarta Post 13 Jul 19;

There is nothing new about the long droughts the country is now enduring. This nation has umpteen times proved its resilience in withstanding climate phenomena, that can have disastrous impacts on human beings and their environment. But inaction, assuming that it will eventually pass, is a mistake that will not only exacerbate the damage but also leave us unprotected when the disaster recurs in the future.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned that the dry season may be drier and more intense this year than last year as a result of the El Nino phenomenon. The agency has classified West Java, Central Java, most parts of East Java, Yogyakarta, Bali and Nusa Tenggara as the regions most vulnerable to extreme drought, or more than 60 days without rain. Jakarta, Banten, Sumatra, Kalimantan and South Sulawesi are the second-most prone regions.

Although the dry season will only culminate in August, its impacts have already been felt in many areas. A number of regional governments have reported scarcity of clean water, declining supply of irrigation water and potential crop failure. Most recently, health authorities in Pacitan, East Java, reported an outbreak of Hepatitis A that infected more than 1,000 people as a result, albeit an indirect one, of drought.

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Indonesia: Pekanbaru shrouded in haze from forest fire

Antara 14 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru. Riau (ANTARA) - Tampan and Senapelan Sub-districts in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Sumatra Island, on Sunday were shrouded in haze coming from forest fire.

"Haze shrouds Panam (in Tampan sub-district)," Tanjung, a local inhabitant, said here on Sunday.

The Terra and Aqua satellites detected 38 hotspots on Sunday morning, an increase from 35 hotspots on the previous day, the Pekanbaru meteorology, climatology and geophysics (BMKG) station, said.

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Vietnam: Urban heat islands make Vietnam’s cities hotter than ever

Vietnam News 12 Jul 19;

HCM CITY — Urban heat islands in HCM City and other large cities in Việt Nam are causing heat waves with some of the highest recorded temperatures ever in the country, affecting public health.

The Centre for Regional and Urban Studies said this year is forecast to be the hottest ever since temperatures began to be recorded in 1880.

In large cities like HCM City and Hà Nội, temperatures reached 40-50 degrees Celsius in March and April.

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Wildlife Traffickers Use Facebook, Instagram to Find Black-Market Buyers

‘If there were T-Rexes alive, they would be selling them,’ one researcher says
Kurt Wagner Bloomberg 11 Jul 19;

Ali Ahamed’s black satchel was overflowing with turtles, their tiny heads poking out. Just a few feet away, on the hotel room floor, roughly 20 larger turtles with dark brown shells were removed from black suitcases and flipped onto their backs to keep them from crawling under the couch.

Ahamed had arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital and a popular stop for animal traffickers, from India a few days earlier to meet with his buyer, who had discovered the turtle broker through Facebook Inc.’s social network months earlier. The two negotiated a sale on Facebook Messenger. The 55 turtles in his bags included red-crowned roofed turtles, known for their brightly colored necks, and black spotted turtles with little yellow dots on their shells. Both species are endangered, and both have become popular pets in mainland China and Hong Kong.

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Best of our wild blogs: 12 Jul 19

14 Jul (Sun): Registration opens for Sisters Islands Intertidal walks in August 2019
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Novel reusable hydrogel could harvest clean, desalinated water from humid air above sea surfaces

National University of Singapore 11 Jul 19;

The novel hydrogel developed by a team from the National University of Singapore, led by Assistant Professor Tan Swee Ching (extreme right), can be used to harvest clean water from humid air above sea surfaces, just by using natural sunlight. Credit: National University of Singapore
Huge amounts of water evaporate from water surfaces such as reservoirs and the open sea each day. To address this issue, especially in water scarce areas, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found an innovative way to harvest water from the humid air above water surfaces.

The solution lies in a unique zinc-based water-absorbing hydrogel that was developed last year by a research team at the NUS Faculty of Engineering. This gel-like material is over eight times more absorbent than commercial drying agents and only natural sunlight is required to harvest water from the water-saturated hydrogel.

"Due to the hot climate in Singapore, about 45 million cubic metres of water is lost from reservoirs through evaporation each year. Our hydrogel can convert moisture present in humid air to water without the need for any external energy input. By harnessing the moisture-rich air that is commonly found above water surfaces, we can collect water, which would otherwise be lost to the environment, for different uses," said research team leader Assistant Professor Swee-Ching TAN, who is from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering.

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Indonesia to build country's longest bridge linking islands near Singapore

Reuters 11 Jul 19;

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to build a 7 km (4.35 mile) bridge to connect two islands in the Malacca Strait, close to Singapore, as part of efforts to develop industry and tourism in the area, the government said on Thursday.

The bridge connecting Batam and Bintan islands will cost an estimated 4 trillion rupiah ($284.35 million), the office of the cabinet secretary said in a statement on Thursday, and will be the longest in the Southeast Asian country.

The bridge aims to capitalize on expansion of Singapore’s Changi Airport with the development of a new Terminal 5, which will have transport connections to Bintan.

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Indonesia: Environment ministry intensifies land and forest fire control

Antara 11 Jul 19;

A technical evaluation has been done in each agency, local government, stakeholders (stakeholders), the community
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) and related stakeholders are working together to intensify patrols to prevent and control land and forest fires (karhutla). "A technical evaluation has been done in each agency, local government, stakeholders (stakeholders), the community," said Director of Forest Fire and Land Control of KLHK Raffles B Panjaitan when contacted from Jakarta Thursday.

Manggala Agni fire-fighting brigades in North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan, in addition to South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, and North Sulawesi routinely conduct daily patrols in an effort to prevent and control forest and land fires.

The company is also involved in forest fire control efforts in accordance with Minister of Environment and Forestry Regulation Number 32 of 2016.

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Indonesia: Dead whale washed ashore in East Java

Antara 11 Jul 19;

Lumajang, E Java (ANTARA) - An 11-meter-long whale was found dead after it was washed ashore on the Bambang Beach of Lumajang District, East Java Province, on Thursday.

The ill-fated whale carcass was first found by Siyo, a resident of Rekesan Hamlet in Bago Village, Pasirian Subdistrict, Lumajang District, while he was on his way to his rice field near the Bambang Beach area.

"From the distance, I saw something big and stinky. After approaching it, I know it was a whale carcass," Siyo said.

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Troubled waters: China-fuelled cruise boom sparks environment fears

AFP 11 Jul 19;

Cruises are enjoying a boom fuelled in part by hordes of Chinese tourists taking to the high seas, but green groups warn a wave of hulking new liners may cause environmental devastation.

Gone are the days when cruising was the preserve of retirees, who would while away the hours lounging in deckchairs, playing bingo or taking part in formal dinner-dances.

Modern liners resemble floating, futuristic cities capable of carrying thousands of passengers, where robot bartenders serve drinks and passengers can enjoy hi-tech entertainment.

Many of the new, more sophisticated ships aim to appeal to the rapidly growing Chinese cruise market -- now the second-biggest in the world after the US -- and are choosing cities in the Asian giant as their home ports.

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Australia: Great Barrier Reef hard coral cover close to record lows

Coral bleaching, crown-of-thorns starfish and cyclones reduced coverage to 10% to 30% over past five years
Adam Morton The Guardian 11 Jul 19;

Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef is near record lows in its northern stretch and in decline in the south, surveys by government scientists have found.

A report card by the government’s Australian Institute of Marine Science says hard coral cover in the northern region above Cooktown is at 14% – a slight increase on last year but close to the lowest since monitoring began in 1985.

A series of “disturbances” – coral bleaching linked to rising water temperatures, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and tropical cyclones – have caused hard coral cover to decline to between 10% and 30% across much of the world heritage landmark over the past five years.

Mike Emslie, the institute’s acting head of long-term monitoring, said the report included glimmers of hope: individual reefs, including those on the outer shelf in the Whitsunday Islands, were found to have lively communities and tiny juvenile corals were discovered across the 2,300km reef system. The density of juvenile coral suggested recovery was possible if there were not further disturbances.

He said it indicated there was some resilience in the system but added: “The important thing is the absence of further disturbances. If we have more coral bleaching events all bets are off.”

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Best of our wild blogs: 11 Jul 19

Youth for Climate Fest 2019
Green Drinks Singapore

Dolphins, sea turtles (Jan-June 2019)
wild shores of singapore

An increase in environmental awareness? Public outcry over poaching of giant clams
Mei Lin NEO

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Malaysia, Johor: DOE acting on river pollution complaints

The Star 11 Jul 19;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor Department Of Environment (DOE) has received eight complaints of pollution in a river in Ulu Tiram since last year.

Johor local government, urban well-being and environmental committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said following complaints about Sungai Kopok, the department carried out inspections.

“Among complaints received include the change in the colour of the river water, which turned darker and emitted a stench.

“There were also claims of dead fishes in the river,” he said in reply to S. Gopalakrishnan ( PH – Tiram) at the Johor state assembly at Bangunan Sultan Ismail in Kota Iskandar here.

Tan said initial investigations by the department found that the pollution was due to the discharge of industrial effluents from palm oil, oleochemical, biodiesel, soap-based and food-based companies in the area.

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Indonesia: Weather modification likely to prevent Rp3 trillion loss

Antara 10 Jul 19;

How much is the state loss due to the harvest failure? The estimation is up to Rp3 trillion, and hence we must find a solution to address the drought, and one way out is by making artificial rain
Bogor, West Java (ANTARA) - The Agency for Technology Assessment and Application (BPPT) will propose the use of weather modification technology to deal with the severe dry season that could inflict a loss worth Rp3 trillion in the agricultural field.

"We are trying to calculate (loss) caused by harvest failure. This is just a proposal. How much is the state loss due to the harvest failure? The estimation is up to Rp3 trillion, and hence we must find a solution to address the drought, and one way out is by making artificial rain," Hammam Riza, head of BPPT, said.

Many farming areas in Java, Bali and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) have been affected by the extreme dry spell.

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Massive shark fin haul into Hong Kong dodges global shipping bans

Farah Master Reuters 10 Jul 19;

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Two global shipping firms that have vowed not to transport shark fin products inadvertently moved a 40-foot container of the controversial delicacy from Nicaragua to Hong Kong this year, both companies told Reuters.

The shipment highlights the challenges global industry faces in monitoring the trade that results in the killing of more than 70 million sharks a year, and has pushed more than a quarter of species into extinction according to World Wildlife Fund.

The fins were first loaded onto a vessel called Laura, which is operated by Ocean Network Express (ONE), in Nicaragua in March and then transhipped in Manzanillo, Mexico, onto Mediterranean Shipping Company’s (MSC) vessel Natasha to Hong Kong, according to cargo records seen by Reuters and confirmed by the firms.

The shipment arrived in Hong Kong in April and was first flagged to Reuters by conservation group OceansAsia, which saw bags of shark fin being unloaded on a road in the city’s industrial western district.

Representatives of both ONE and MSC told Reuters the shipment took place but said the contents had not been declared as shark fin.

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Thousands of wild animals seized in smuggling crackdown

Nearly 600 arrests in Interpol operation that nets primates, big cats, birds and reptiles
Agence France-Presse The Guardian 10 Jul 9;

Police across the globe have seized thousands of wild animals, including primates and big cats, and arrested nearly 600 suspects in a crackdown on illegal wildlife smuggling, Interpol has said.

Covering 109 countries, the operation was carried out in coordination with the World Customs Organization (WCO), with investigators homing in on trafficking routes and crime hotspots, the international policing body said.

Operation Thunderball, based in Singapore, was aimed at transnational crime networks seeking to profit from wildlife smuggling activities. It was the third such Interpol mission in recent years.

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Best of our wild blogs: 10 Jul 19

Great Expectations
The Hantu Blog

Scaly-breasted Munia enjoying Algae
Singapore Bird Group

Protesting for the planet: Is climate activism alive in Singapore?

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Spot a python? Just leave it alone, advise wildlife groups

Pythons are a natural control for the rat population, say wildlife experts.
Cindy Co Channel NewsAsia 19 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Waking up to the screams of his wife and maid, Mr Melvin Yap rushed to them, only to discover a snake coiled around the cage of his pet bird.

It was a reticulated python about 1.5m long - one of the most common species of snakes found in Singapore.

Although the incident occurred about two years ago, Mr Yap still has vivid memories of the snake.

“It was quite docile,” said Mr Yap, recalling how he calmly used a stick to coax the python into a plastic bag.

“Unless you know what you’re doing, the best thing is to avoid it. (But) I knew what kind of snake it was.”

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Reusable water bottles not in NDP 2019 funpacks due to high production cost

Channel NewsAsia 8 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Reusable water bottles were considered for this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) funpack, but this was not implemented due to the lack of suppliers who could do so at an affordable cost.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen revealed this in a written answer to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament Louis Ng on Monday (Jul 8).

Mr Ng had asked whether a reusable water bottle could be provided for the NDP funpack instead of a single-use plastic bottle.

"Drinking water in reusable bottles was considered but not implemented as there were a lack of suppliers which can do so at an affordable cost," said Dr Ng.

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Malaysia: 26 investigation papers opened on illegal waste dumping in Johor

The Star 8 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU (Bernama): The Johor Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp) has opened 26 investigation papers for the illegal dumping of solid waste since 2018.

Its director Cairul Hisham Jalaluddin said 12 companies had been charged, including three as of Monday (July 8).

"We are completing the investigation papers against the remaining 14 companies," he told reporters when met at the Sessions Court here.

On the cases that were brought to court today, he said three companies were involved, adding that all pleaded guilty to the charges and were fined a total of RM45,000.

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Indonesia: Fire razes 50 hectares of peatland area in Aceh

Antara 9 Jul 19;

Meulaboh, Aceh (ANTARA) - A fire scorched 50 hectares (ha) of peatland area in West Aceh District, Aceh Province.

"We have continued to make attempts to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to a wider area," Mashuri, coordinator of the Operation Control Center of the West Aceh Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), stated here on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, the fire razed a 45-ha peatland area located in Johan Pahlawan and West Woyla Sub-district, and on the next day, it extended to a five-ha area located in Alue Peunyareng in Meureubo Sub-district.

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Indonesia: Dry spells spread to wider Indonesian areas, affect farming

Antara 8 Jul 19;

Earlier this year, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reminded the regional authorities to step up their vigilance over possible forest fires and droughts as this year's dry season was forecast to be drier than that of the previous year.

The extreme dry season has affected several areas since May and is expected to last until September, with the condition likely to peak in August. In the beginning, dry spells were reported mostly on Java Island. Currently, drought has cast a pall over 100 districts and cities in the Aceh, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provinces, the Indonesian Agriculture Ministry's data stated.

"Most parts of Java, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara have not received rains for over 30 days. Drought has affected some 100 districts and cities," Sarwo Edhy, director general for agriculture infrastructure and facilities at the Agriculture Ministry, revealed on July 8, 2019, following a coordinating meeting to discuss mitigation efforts.

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Indonesia sends rubbish back to Australia and says it's too contaminated to recycle

Indonesian officials say containers of paper contaminated by electronic waste, used cans and plastic bottles
Kate Lamb and Adam Morton The Guardian 8 Jul 19;

Indonesia says it will immediately send eight containers of household rubbish back to Australia after inspectors declared the material too contaminated to be recycled.

It is the latest in a series of announcements by south-east Asian nations that they will not be dumping grounds for overseas waste.

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Indonesia: Farmer arrested for alleged plan to sell Sumatran tiger pelts

The Jakarta Post 8 Jul 19;

Mount Leuser National Park rangers have arrested a farmer, identified only as P, from Langkat regency, North Sumatra, for his alleged role in the trade of Sumatran tiger parts.

The rangers confiscated three tiger pelts and a tiger skull.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry’s law enforcement head of the North Sumatra-Aceh office, Haluanto Ginting, said the suspect was arrested on July 1 after the rangers went undercover as a buyer of tiger organs at the Sogong crossing, Marike district, Langkat regency.

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Best of our wild blogs: 8 Jul 19

Return of leathery corals to Terumbu Pempang Tengah
wild shores of singapore

21 Jul (Sun): R.U.M. mangrove cleanup
Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

Punggol Point Beach
Offshore Singapore

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Air and water quality in Singapore not affected by Pasir Gudang pollution: Masagos

Amir Yusof Channel NewsAsia 8 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: The air and water quality in Singapore have not been affected by the recent pollution incidents in Pasir Gudang, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in Parliament on Monday (Jul 8).

He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) for Tanjong Pagar Melvin Yong on whether Singapore has been impacted by the pollution given its close proximity, and if authorities are monitoring developments closely.

Since Jun 20, more than 1,000 schoolchildren in Pasir Gudang have experienced breathing problems and nausea. Malaysian authorities are still trying to determine the source of the pollution.

All schools in the area were ordered to close from Jun 25 for three days, but students displayed similar symptoms hours after the schools reopened. On Sunday (Jul 7), at least 11 students at four Pasir Gudang schools were reported to have suffered headaches, nausea and vomiting.

Mr Masagos confirmed that, so far, no toxic chemicals have been detected within Singapore as a result of the incidents in Johor.

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Malaysia: Johor DOE receives eight complaints over pollution at Sg Kopok

The Star 7 Jul 19;

ISKANDAR PUTERI (Bernama): The Johor Environment Department (DOE) has received eight complaints over pollution at Sungai Kopok, Ulu Tiram since 2018.

State Local Government, Urban Well-being and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said the complaints were on its foul smell and dark colour, and incidents of dead fishes in the river.

He said investigations were carried out following the complaints and it was found that the pollution was caused by the discharge of industrial effluents with high organic load, especially from palm oil-based operations such as oleochemicals, and soap-based operations, biodiesel as well as food-based manufacturing.

"Although the plants are equipped with effluent treatment facilities, there are a few that have been negligent in controlling discharge of effluents from their premises.

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Malaysia: Fish-bombing deaths - Agriculture Ministry waiting full report from cops

martin carvalho, hemananthani sivanandam, rahimy rahim, and tarrence tan The Star 8 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry is awaiting the full police report on the two Chinese tourists and their local divemaster who were believed to have been killed by fish bombs while diving in waters off Semporna in Sabah's east coast on Friday (July 5).

Its minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said that such cases were rare and he would wait for the full details from the police before making any comments.

"We will wait for the actual report from the police. I think the police can investigate it swiftly," he told reporters at the parliament lobby Monday (July8).

It was reported that tourism operators are blaming fish-bombing activities for the deaths, but the police have yet to officially confirm it.

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Malaysia, Johor: Sungai Kim Kim victims to file lawsuit

remar nordin The Star 8 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: Victims of the Sungai Kim Kim toxic pollution and the Pasir Gudang Pollution Action Committee will be filing a lawsuit at the Johor Baru High Court soon.

Led by lawyer Kamarudin Ahmad, it will be filed on July 17 against 11 defendants, including the state government and the Johor Mentri Besar.

“The lawsuit represents 160 people, including 34 students, who fell ill, and 120 fishermen from Pasir Gudang, whose livelihood were badly affected by the pollution.

“It will also include seeking RM5mil in compensation for general damages suffered by Irfan Wafiy Idham Wazir.

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Indonesia has lost land equal to size of Jakarta in last 15 years

Kharishar Kahfi The Jakarta Post 7 Jul 19;

Ever since taking office in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, in December, Nagekeo Regent Johanes Don Bosco Do has been receiving grim reports from residents living in coastal areas in the northern and southern parts of the regency.

According to observations from local officials and residents, waves from the Flores Sea have eroded the coast of Aeramo village, the region’s most populous village with 6,000 people, by 3 to 4 meters each year.

“I have seen firsthand that beaches are facing erosion,” Johanes said.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelagic nation, is losing its coastal areas due to rising sea levels and unsustainable economic activities.

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Indonesia: Riau sees human-elephant conflicts double in 2019

The Jakarta Post 8 Jul 19;

The number of conflicts between residents and Sumatran elephants doubled in Riau during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, data from the Riau Resource Conservation Center (BBKSDA) shows.

"Data recorded between January and June this year shows that there has been a sharp increase compared to the same period last year," BBKSDA Riau chief Suharyono said in Pekanbaru city, Riau, on Saturday, as quoted by Antara.

The center recorded 30 conflicts between wild elephants and residents in various parts of the province between January and June this year, a spike from the 16 cases recorded over the same period last year.

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Oil giant Total's chief announces new unit to invest in forests

AFP Yahoo News 7 Jul 19;

Aix-en-Provence (France) (AFP) - The head of French energy giant Total announced Saturday that the company would invest a hundred million dollars annually on a new forest preservation and reforestation project.

"We want to set up a business unit to invest in projects that will preserve forests," chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told a meeting to discuss economic issues in Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France.

The company would spend $100 million a year on the project, he said.

"The most effective way today to eliminate carbon, for less than $10 a tonne, is reforestation," he added.

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Best of our wild blogs: 7 Jul 19

Terumbu Hantu still very reefy
wild shores of singapore

13 Jul (Sat) - Free Guided Walk at Chek Jawa
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Night Walk At Windsor Park (05 Jul 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Balik Chek Jawa 2019
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

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Malaysia: Elephants trash Kluang family's house and car

The Star 6 Jul 19;

KLUANG (Bernama): A villager from Kampung Sri Timur was awoken early Saturday (July 6) by loud sounds and saw two elephants in front of his house.

"I felt shock and terror when I saw the two elephants right in front of the house. I watched helplessly as they trashed the garage," said Afian Kamin, 36.

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Malaysia: Cops to assist rangers in jungle rounds, stop poachers

New Straits Times 7 Jul 19;

TAIPING: Police have agreed to assist the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) rangers to carry out patrols in the jungle.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said the cooperation was necessary to combat poachers, particularly of the Malayan tigers, as well as to destroy the traps set up by irresponsible parties.

“I will make an announcement on the joint operation with the police soon, while cooperation with the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) is still in negotiation as it involves technical issues,” he told reporters after opening the Save Malayan Tiger Campaign here Saturday.

According to Dr Xavier, the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 does not allow forest rangers to carry firearms and, more or less, it limits their ability to fight poachers in areas bordering neighbouring countries.

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Best of our wild blogs: 6 Jul 19

Seaweedy at Pulau Sekudu
wild shores of singapore

Butterfly of the Month - July 2019
Butterflies of Singapore

Sat 6th July 2019: 11.00am – 12.30pm @ NLB – Public Talk on Mangroves by Prof Joe Lee and Panel Discussion
Otterman speaks

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It takes a community to protect mangroves: Desmond Lee

Marcia Lee Straits Times 6 Jul 19;

As both the biggest threat to and beneficiary of mangroves, the local community needs to be involved in protecting the tropical trees growing in and around intertidal communities.

Anyone can help by volunteering with organisations like the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Restore Ubin Mangroves initiative, a mangrove rehabilitation project led by researchers, community groups and government agencies.

They can get involved in nature walks, biodiversity surveys and mangrove cleanups in the Central Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin or Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR).

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Crocodile found in Sungei Kadut drain: Concerns from the past and what next

Experts explain how injured reptile may have got here, suggest possible relocation homes
Shabana Begum Straits Times 6 Jul 19;

The crocodile found in a Sungei Kadut drain last month may have been fleeing a territorial fight or was relocating from Malaysia, wildlife experts told The Straits Times.

The 3.4m estuarine crocodile - one of the largest ever spotted in Singapore - was caught and transferred to a crocodile farm on June 21 by the National Parks Board (NParks) and trained contractors.

It was believed to have entered the Sungei Pang Sua drainage area.

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Malaysia: 31 more Pasir Gudang students suffer breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting

Kalbana Perimbanayagam New Straits Times 5 Jul 19;

PASIR GUDANG: Another 31 students from 11 schools here experienced breathing difficulties, nausea and vomiting during classes yesterday.

State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said 21 students were sent to the district health clinic and one, whose condition was more serious, was referred to Sultan Ismail Hospital.

“The rest were treated by the medical psychology team on standby at the respective schools.

“There were no new admissions so far,” he said.

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Indonesia makes serious effort to tackle forest fires

Antara 5 Jul 19;

Indonesia is bracing for devastating and frequent forest fires, following the recurrence of bush and forest fires in many regions of the largest archipelagic country in the world. The authorities in Palangka Raya have been striving to halt the recurrence of bush and forest fires in the Central Kalimantan Province's capital city amid the dry season, while the city's health workers are also preparing to help residents affected by smog.

"At the moment, none of the residents is suffering from health problems due to the impact of the smog," Acting Head of the Palangka Raya Health Office, Andjar Hari Purnomo, said here Thursday.

Over these past few days, bush and forest fires have been spotted in certain areas around the city. On July 2, a thin cloud of smog blanketed the city's sky.

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Best of our wild blogs: 5 Jul 19

Delicate coral garden at Chek Jawa
wild shores of singapore

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Temperatures in Singapore could hit 40°C as early as 2045: Scientists

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 4 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE — By 2045, Singaporeans could face some days of the year when temperatures soar as high as a scorching 40°C.

At best, this sweltering scenario could be delayed to as late as 2065 onwards, according to a suite of simulations conducted by a team of scientists at the Centre for Climate Research Singapore, which is part of the Meteorological Service Singapore.

Dr Muhammad Eeqmal Hassim, a senior research scientist at the centre, told TODAY on Thursday (July 4) that this is the worst case scenario if the world continues to emit greenhouse gases at a rate that is “business as usual”.

“It (days of 40°C) won’t be a one-off event. There'll be some days starting from as early as 2045. And that's what we saw in the results. Some models are later. And so that's why we tend to give a range (that is) as early as 2045, possibly, or as late as 2065 onwards,’’ he said.

The scientist’s dire warnings come on the back of a recent four-day heatwave across western Europe that killed at least seven people.

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Second phase of construction begins for Tuas mega port

Michelle Teo Channel NewsAsia 4 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: A caisson, a watertight structure about the height of a 10-storey HDB block, was installed at the site of the upcoming Tuas mega port on Thursday (Jul 4) to mark the start of its second phase of development.

At 387 hectares, this phase is the largest of the total four to be reclaimed. When fully operational, it will feature 21 deep-water berths, offering a capacity of 21 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo annually.

The completed Tuas mega port will be able to handle up to 65 million TEUs a year.

A total of 227 of the caissons will eventually be transported offshore and sunk into the water to form part of the wharf structure, which will span 8.6km.

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As Malaysia Bans Sand Exports, Singapore Says It’s Using Less

Anisah Shukry and Philip Heijmans Bloomberg 4 Jul 19;

Singapore said it’s been trying to reduce reliance on sand, as neighboring Malaysia announced a ban on all exports of sea sand since last year on environmental concerns.

The city-state piloted a polder development in outlying Pulau Tekong that uses less sand compared to regular reclamation, a spokesperson for Singapore’s Ministry of National Development said in a statement. The government has also sought to diversify its sources of sand to ensure resilient supply, the spokesperson said.

The ministry was responding to questions after Malaysia’s Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said that the country’s sea sand will be limited for domestic use only. The exports ban won’t affect ties with Singapore as it isn’t related to the city-state’s reclamation efforts, he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

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Malaysia, Johor: 'Kim Kim clean-up not done properly'

Kalbana Perimbanayagam New Straits Times 5 Jul 19;

PASIR GUDANG: A group of Pasir Gudang residents has accused state authorities and agencies of failing to properly manage the disposal of chemical waste from the Sungai Kim Kim incident in March.

This, they said, had led to the air pollution incident in the district last month, which saw the temporary closure of 111 schools after scores of schoolchildren fell ill.

Pasir Putih Residents Environmental Pollution Action Committee deputy chairman Mohd Rafee Abdullah said it had reason to believe the recent incident was a result of poor chemical waste management in Sungai Kim Kim.

“The waste from the river clean-up was collected and disposed of, while the rest was buried under tonnes of soil.

“And now, it has resurfaced in the form of vapours, which polluted the air and affected residents.”

Rafee said the residents had conducted their own investigation by visiting affected areas and speaking to those working in the industrial plants.

He said they had photographic evidence to back their claims.

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Indonesia: Aceh's 20-hectare peatland engulfed by fire amid dry season

Antara 4 Jul 19;

Suka Makmue, Aceh (ANTARA) - Fire scorched 20 hectares of peatland in two villages of Nagan Raya District, Aceh, Thursday afternoon, amid the dry season that has mired fire-extinguishing efforts, Nagan Raya Disaster Mitigation Agency's (BPBD's) Acting Head Hamidi stated.

In a bid to prevent the fire, gutting certain peatland areas in Cot Mue Village in Tadu Raya Sub-district and Kuala Tripa Village in Tripa Makmur Sub-district, from further worsening, BPBD workers had built canal blockings, he revealed.

"We have been able to localize the fire by building canal blockings at several locations, but our endeavor to douse it could not as yet be done completely," Hamidi remarked, adding that the fire-razed areas belong to the local villagers.

In putting out the fire, the BPBD workers collaborated with personnel from the military and police as well as members of the community by installing water pumps at various locations, as fire trucks were unable to reach the disaster zone, he noted.

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Indonesia: Jakarta’s air quality kills its residents – and it’s getting worse

Choked up citizens have had enough and are taking the government to court over Jakarta’s chronic smog, Kate Walton points out.
Kate Walton Channel NewsAsia 5 Jul 19;

JAKARTA: The end of the Ramadan fasting period is marked by a week-long holiday in Indonesia. In Jakarta, this means that almost half the population leave the city to travel back to their hometowns and villages to celebrate Idul Fitri with their families.

Usually, this exodus is marked by a noticeable improvement in Jakarta’s air quality, with clear blue skies appearing as the road traffic all but disappears.

This year, however, on Jun 4, one day before the Idul Fitri holiday, Jakarta had the worst air quality in the world, according to AirVisual, an air quality monitoring app. With an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 210, Indonesia’s capital easily ranked above other notoriously polluted cities, such as Beijing, Dubai and New Delhi.

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Reforestation could cut carbon levels by two-thirds, study says

Issam AHMED, AFP Yahoo News 5 Jul 19;

Washington (AFP) - Good news: we can help halt climate change through a massive campaign of reforestation, according to a new study published Thursday.

Bad news: it would require covering an area the size of the United States in new trees, and even then some scientists are skeptical about the paper's conclusions.

Such an effort could capture two-thirds of manmade carbon emissions and reduce overall levels in the atmosphere to their lowest in almost a century, according to the research that was carried out by ETH Zurich and published in Science.

The study is the first to attempt to quantify how many trees the Earth can support, where to plant them and how much carbon they could store.

"We all knew restoring forests could play a part in tackling climate change, but we had no scientific understanding of what impact this could make," said co-author Thomas Crowther.

"Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today."

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Best of our wild blogs: 4 Jul 19

Beting Bronok slowly fading away
wild shores of singapore

Open for registration – Love MacRitchie Walk with NUS Toddycats! on 14 July 2019 (Sun)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

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In blow to Singapore's expansion, Malaysia bans sea sand exports

Fathin Ungku, Rozanna Latiff Reuters 3 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia, Singapore’s biggest source for sea sand, has banned the export of the commodity, according to officials in Kuala Lumpur, a move that traders said could complicate the island-state’s ambitious expansion plans on reclaimed land.

Those plans include the development of the Tuas mega port, slated to be the world’s biggest container terminal. Singapore has increased its land area by a quarter since independence in 1965, mostly by using sand to reclaim coastal areas.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir, who came to power in a shock election last year, imposed a ban on all sea sand exports on October 3, two senior government sources with direct knowledge of the decision told Reuters.

The government sources, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Mahathir was upset that Malaysia’s land was being used to increase the size of its wealthier neighbor. He was also concerned corrupt Malaysian officials were benefiting from the secretive business.

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Singapore must continue to take early action against impact of climate change: Teo Chee Hean

Lester Wong Straits Times 4 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE - As a small, low-lying island state, Singapore will continue to take preventive action against the impact of climate change, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Thursday (July 4).

Mr Teo drew attention in particular to the Republic's efforts in going low-carbon and managing rising sea levels in a speech at the sixth Asian edition of the Shell Powering Progress Together forum.

Singapore raised the minimum level for newly reclaimed land by 1m in 2011, a move that preceded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) most recent report in 2014 by three years.

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Donation bins for reusable bags placed at 8 supermarket outlets

Jeanell Kiew Straits Times 4 Jul 19;

Forgotten reusable bags collecting dust around the home can now be put to good use.

As of yesterday, the public can drop unused reusable bags into a donation bin at eight supermarket outlets - two each from FairPrice, Sheng Siong, Cold Storage and Prime Supermarket.

Local environmental group Zero Waste SG (ZWSG), which is behind the initiative, will then collect the bags and ensure that they are in good condition before redistributing them to shoppers at each of the selected outlets.

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Malaysia: Perhilitan and cops to fight tiger poachers

Nuradzimmah Daim, Hana Naz Harun New Straits Times 4 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: WITH an estimated population of only 200, the future looks bleak for the Malayan tiger.

If nothing is done, the apex predator, faced with a host of challenges, including poaching and loss of habitat, could be driven to extinction within three years, according to experts.

Efforts are underway to ramp up measures to protect the species.

Spearheaded by the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry, these initiatives include an unprecedented joint action force comprising the police and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to prevent poaching and sale of protected wildlife.

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Malaysia: 5 wild elephants wreak havoc in village near Tasik Kenyir

Rosli Zakaria New Straits Times 3 Jul 19;

HULU TERENGGANU: A herd of five wild elephants have been destroying banana trees and betel nut palms in Kampung Basung near Tasik Kenyir since last week.

Led by their matriarch, the pachyderms have been encroaching into agricultural plots near the houses at night.

One of villagers, Ismail Mamat, said they were living in fear.

“The elephants have destroyed my banana trees about 10m from my house,” he said.

“This is the first time the animals have encroached into the village.

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Indonesia: Bengkalis BPBD workers, firefighters put out bush and forest fires

Antara 3 Jul 19;

Bengkalis, Riau (ANTARA) - The Bengkalis Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) workers and firefighters successfully doused fires that spread across four hectares of land in Bathin Solapan Sub-district, Bengkalis District, Riau Province.

"Thank God, we have been able to extinguish the bush and forest fires that spread in the villages of Petani and Air Kulim of Bathin Solapan Sub-district," Head of the Bengkalis Mitigation Agency Tajul Mudaris stated here on Wednesday.

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Indonesia: Illegal animal trading suspects arrested in Central Java

The Jakarta Post 4 Jul 19;

The National Police have arrested and named suspect four people in Central Java for allegedly trading protected animals and violating the laws on wildlife conservation.

The arrests were made following reports filed by several wildlife organizations.

The four suspects, identified only as S, MUA, KG and AM, allegedly purchased wild animals, including different types of parrots, cockatoos and honey bears, to later be sold again.

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Indonesia: Baby orangutans traumatized after smuggling attempt

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 3 Jul 19;

Three Sumatran orangutans are undergoing treatment after being saved from smugglers who had taken them out of their habitat in an attempt to take them to Malaysia.

The three primates are in intensive care at a rehabilitation center in Batu Mbelin, Sibolangit district, Deli Serdang regency, North Sumatra.

Yenny Saraswati, a veterinarian with the Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) foundation, which is involved in the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP), said the three orangutans – named Digo, Duma, and Dupa – had been in a stressed condition, dehydrated and dirty when they were admitted to the center .

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Indonesia to impose duties on plastic bags

The Jakarta Post 3 Jul 19;

The Finance Ministry’s Customs and Excise Directorate General said it would slap a plastic bag duty of Rp 200 (US 1.4 cents) per sheet.

“The duty has considered many factors,” Heru Pambudi, the customs and excise director general, told reporters at the House of Representatives building on Tuesday.

“[The duty] could not be too high or too low as we need to balance many factors,” he added.

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Indonesia sends more toxic waste, trash back to US, Europe, Australia

Fadli The Jakarta Post 2 Jul 19;

The Batam Customs Office is sending 49 containers proven to contain toxic waste and trash back to their countries of origin, including the United States, Australia, and several European nations, upon receiving a recommendation letter from the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Monday.

The ministry said earlier that it had returned five containers of trash to the US after finding out that they held diapers, plastic scraps, wood, fabrics and shoes in “significant amounts” when they were supposed to only hold clean paper scraps. The ministry announced then that it would examine 65 more.

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Best of our wild blogs: 3 Jul 19

As opposition wanes, a Malaysian land reclamation project pushes ahead

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Malaysia, Johor: ‘Most Pasir Gudang factories have broken the law’

nelson benjamin The Star 3 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: Most chemical factories in Pasir Gudang have committed offences under the Environment Quality Act, according to State Health, Culture and Heritage Com­mittee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar.

He said out of the 90 factories inspected by the authorities, 81 were found to have committed at least one offence under the Act.

“The Department of Environment (DoE) has issued 71 compounds, four notices and six warnings to them to cease operations.

“The inspection is ongoing,” he told a press conference yesterday.

There are at least 252 chemical factories in Pasir Gudang.

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Malaysia: Attempt to smuggle pangolin scales, birds' nest from Sibu foiled

andy chua The Star 2 Jul 19;

SIBU: The Sibu branch of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department foiled an attempt to smuggle pangolin scales and raw bird's nest to Peninsular Malaysia using courier services.

State Customs director Datuk Sharifah Halimah Tuanku Taha, in a statement Tuesday (July 2), said officers at the Sibu airport cargo division had, on June 25, become suspicious of a box from a courier company.

Upon checking, it was discovered that the box contained 31.9kg of pangolin scales and 1.98kg of bird's nest with a market value of RM9,900.

She said the pangolin scales had an export value of between RM12,500 and RM20,000 per kg.

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Indonesia: BPPT uses artificial rain to overcome forest fires

Antara 2 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT) uses weather modification technology, better known as artificial rain, to overcome drought and forest and land fires (karhutla) in the Riau region. "We are using weather modification technology for karhutla in Riau," said Head of the BPPT Center for Weather Modification Technology Tri Handoko Seto when contacted by ANTARA here Monday.

The BPPT had also received requests from regions such as South Sumatra to use the same technology to stimulate acceleration of rain formation in an effort to prevent and overcome land and forest fires, Seto said.

In addition, the Jakarta administration submitted a request to utilize the technology to overcome air pollution, according to him.

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Indonesia: South Kalimantan piloted watershed rehabilitation

Antara 2 Jul 19;

The concern of the South Kalimantan Provincial Government for watershed rehabilitation is very good
Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA) - South Kalimantan could be an example of the implementation of a national watershed rehabilitation program, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) Director General of Basic Management and Forest Protection, Budoyo, said.

"The concern of the South Kalimantan Provincial Government for watershed rehabilitation is very good," he said after the opening of the Business-Based Watershed Recovery Movement National Workshop in Banjarmasin, Tuesday.

South Kalimantan has a very good concept of rehabilitation, and is followed by the government including the governor, his ranks, and the wider community, he added.

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Thailand: Hawksbill sea turtle killed by plastic waste in Gulf of Thailand

Pratch Rujivanarom The Thaiger & The Nation 2 Jul 19;

A hawksbill sea turtle which was found washed ashore Pattaya’s Na Jomtien Beach is just the latest victim of the Thailand severe marine debris problem .

The Royal Thai Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation Centre found the rotting carcass on Chon Buri’s Na Jomtien Beach on Sunday. An autopsy reveals that the turtle’s stomach was full of plastic trash and bits of fishing net.

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Revealed: rampant deforestation of Amazon driven by global greed for meat

Investigation exposes how Brazil’s huge beef sector continues to threaten health of world’s largest rainforest
Dom Phillips and Daniel Camargos in São Félix do Xingu, Andre Campos in São Paulo, and Andrew Wasley and Alexandra Heal in London
The Guardian 2 Jul 19;

The cows grazed under the midday Amazon sun, near a wooden bridge spanning a river. It was an idyllic scene of pastoral quiet, occasionally broken by a motorbike growling on the dirt road that cuts through part of the Lagoa do Triunfo cattle farm to a nearby community.

But this pasture is land that the farm has been forbidden to use for cattle since 2010, when it was embargoed by Brazil’s government environment agency Ibama for illegal deforestation. Nearby were more signs of fresh pasture: short grass, feeding troughs, and salt for cattle.

The vast 145,000-hectare (358,302-acre) farm is one of several owned by the company AgroSB Agropecuária SA – known in the region as Santa Bárbara. Located in an environmentally protected area, Lagoa do Triunfo is more than 600km (372 miles) from the capital of the Amazon state of Pará on the western fringes of Brazil’s “agricultural frontier” – where farming eats into the rainforest. To get there takes hours of driving along dirt roads and a ferry ride from nearby São Félix do Xingu, a cattle town accessible only by plane until a few decades ago.

AgroSB supplies cattle to JBS, the world’s biggest meat packing company and single biggest supplier of beef, chicken and leather globally, with 350,000 customers in more than 150 countries.

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Climate change made French heatwave 'more likely' in hottest June ever

Marlowe HOOD, Patrick GALEY, AFP Yahoo News 3 Jul 19;

Paris (AFP) - The record-breaking heatwave that gripped France last week was made at least five times more likely by climate change, scientists said Tuesday as other data showed that last month was the hottest June worldwide in history.

Compared to weather stretching back more than a century, the three-day temperature peak from June 26-28 in France was four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than an equally rare June heatwave would have been in 1900, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) team told journalists in a briefing.

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Best of our wild blogs: 2 Jul 19

Singapore's corals unlikely to be impacted by rising seas
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

GeoSpace-Sea: Singapore's new National Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure
wild shores of singapore

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Resilience of Singapore corals

NUS News 1 Jul 19

NUS marine scientists found that coral species in Singapore's sedimented and turbid waters are unlikely to be impacted by accelerating sea-level rise

Global sea levels are expected to rise by at least half a metre by the year 2100 due to climate change. The projected rise can affect important environmental factors such as habitat suitability and availability of light, threatening the health and survival of marine ecosystems.

For the corals dwelling in the sedimented, turbid waters around Singapore, rising sea levels can imperil species, as those living among the deepest waters could starve due to insufficient light for them to make food.

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Do away with NDP funpacks to cut waste: Green group

Time for a rethink, it says, even amid efforts to reduce 1.7 million disposable items in bags
Cara Wong Straits Times 2 Jul 19;

Those lucky enough to land tickets for the National Day Parade (NDP) and its rehearsal shows are often just as excited to receive the funpacks, often a plastic tote bag filled with items like bottled water, ponchos and even the maracas, a musical instrument.

But many of the items end up in the bin after the event. And considering 250,000 funpacks were distributed last year, these one-time-use items generated a lot of waste.

In 2014, the organisers said the NDP generated at least 70 tonnes of waste per year. Of this amount, about 30 tonnes were recycled.

Time for a rethink, say local green group Zero Waste SG and Member of Parliament Louis Ng.

For the first time, organisers consulted the non-governmental organisation in planning the logistics for this year's parade.

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Malaysia, Johor: Pasir Gudang pollution - Only three pupils warded

Kalbana Perimbanayagam New Straits Times 1 Jul 19;

PASIR GUDANG: Three pupils, aged between 10 and 12, have been warded from 273 who had fallen sick following a second wave of pollution detected just hours after school started yesterday.

State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said to date, only 101 pupils were referred to the Masai and Pasir Gudang health clinics for treatment.

"The rest were given immediate medical aid and allowed to go home after their condition improved.

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Malaysia: Haze is back in certain areas

arnold loh The Star 1 Jul 19;

GEORGE TOWN: The haze is back in several areas in Malaysia.

Penang, Ipoh and the Klang Valley show moderate air pollutant index (API) readings of between 61 and 69, but the gauge in Taiping has slipped into the unhealthy level of 112 as of noon on Monday (July 1).

In Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, people can breathe more easily, with API readings as low as 38, up to the lower 50s.

Since last August, the Department of Environment's API readings have been upgraded to measure particle matters in the air of 2.5 microns or smaller.

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Malaysia: Wildlife rangers trained to protect northern Sarawak's coral reefs

The Star 1 Jul 19;

MIRI: Wildlife rangers are being trained from among local fishermen communities in the coastal villages to play key roles in protecting the fragile coastal and marine life along the Miri-Sibuti coral reefs in northern Sarawak.

Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and Petronas are jointly collaborating in the training of these honorary rangers.

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Indonesia: Drought paralyses 17 villages in Cilacap, Central Java

Antara 1 Jul 19;

Cilacap, Central Java (ANTARA) - As of June 30, a total of 17 villages in seven sub-districts in Cilacap, Central Java, were reeling under the impact of drought during this year's dry season.

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Best of our wild blogs: 1 Jul 19

Launch of Private Lives Exposé of Singapore's Coral Reefs!
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Singapore Bird Report – May 2019
Singapore Bird Group

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Oil patches cleaned up from East Coast Park beach, water quality remains normal

Goh Yan Han Straits Times 30 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE - Patches of oil were seen on the shoreline at a section of East Coast Park on Saturday (June 29).

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that it received a report at 8.04am that there was a smell of oil off East Coast Park.

It immediately dispatched its patrol craft to the seaward side of the reported area to investigate, as well as began cleaning up the small patch of oil sighted off the park's carpark C.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an MPA spokesman said that the source of the oil spill is unknown, as there was no report of an oil spill incident prior to Saturday's incident.

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Malaysia, Johor: Breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting return to Pasir Gudang

Kalbana Perimbanayagam New Straits Times 30 Jun 19;

PASIR GUDANG: As classes here resumed today, some 130 students from 15 schools experienced breathing difficulties, nausea and vomiting, similar to the incident 10 days ago which involved 18 schools in the district, caused by pollution.

Today’s incident also saw three teachers including SK Kopok's headmistress being affected.

A total of 23 pupils from SK Kopok were among the 130 who fell sick just hours after the morning school session began. However, only 30 were sent for further health screenings at the Masai and Pasir Gudang health clinics.

The other students who showed less severe reaction to the pollution /allergy were given first aid and allowed to go home.

Classes continued as usual for the other students, including some 46 special needs students at SK Kopok and other schools in the district.

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