Malaysia: Brace for even more warmer days

Hana Naz Harun New Straits Times 14 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIANS can expect “higher than normal” temperatures within the next two months caused by the El Nino phenomenon.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Centre for Earth Sciences and Environment chairman Professor Dr Fredolin Tangang said the “weak El Nino” had affected weather patterns in the region, causing a warmer climate.

“In Malaysia, this weak El Nino has no apparent effect although warmer weather can be expected. However, we’re in the southwest monsoon period, where rainfall is minimal and temperature is the highest,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Tangang added that this El Nino phenomenon was much weaker compared with the 2015/2016 extreme El Nino, where warming occurred in the central-eastern Pacific Ocean.

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Malaysia to develop $480 mln oil storage, ship refueling site in south (Johor)

Reuters 13 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Malaysia on Tuesday said the Johor Port Authority was working to develop a 2 billion ringgit ($477 million) oil storage and ship refueling site in the country’s south.

That marks the latest step in a push to turn Malaysia’s southern peninsular state of Johor into an oil and gas hub that could one day rival Singapore, currently Asia’s main oil centre.

The “Bunker Island Development” is set to have the capacity to store about 1.2 million cubic metres of various oil and gas products, the transport ministry said. It will be used for storage, blending and redistribution.

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Malaysia: Plans activated to fight haze

The Star 14 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Open Burning Action Plan and the National Haze Action Plan have been activated to coordinate measures by government agencies in addressing open burning and the haze in the country.

This was done as the air quality reached a hazardous level in Miri and a very unhealthy level in Kuala Baram, both places in Sarawak, over the past two days, said Department of Environment (DoE) director-general Norlin Jaafar.

“We have also issued directives under Section 31 and Section 37 of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to all landowners in the peat soil areas of Kuala Baram to prevent and control fires there.

“Also, we have been conducting daily patrols in areas at risk of open burning as well as providing the Air Pollution Index (API) readings to the Sarawak state disaster management committee for further action, ” she said here yesterday.

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Indonesia: Individuals who annexed Riau national park land identified

Antara 13 Aug 19;

We have the map of who has annexed three hectares (of the national park) and who has 3,000 hectares
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Environment and Forestry Ministry has identified individuals who allegedly annexed thousands of hectares of land within the Tesso Nilo National Park (TNTN) area. "We have the map of who has annexed three hectares (of the national park) and who has 3,000 hectares," Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya told journalists in Pelalawan District Tuesday.

The minister stated this after monitoring the land and forest fire in Riau, in the company of the Indonesian Military Chief Air Chief Marchall Hadi Tjahjanto, the Indonesian Police Chief, Gen. Tito Karnavian, and head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Lt. Gen Doni Monardo.

The group took off from Roesmin Nurjadin Air Base in Pekanbaru and monitored the land and forest fire in Pelalawan and around the Tesso Nilo National Park.

The forest fire in the national park was intentional as she could see some zones drawn by certain groups in the conservation area, Nurbaya said.

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Indonesia: Acute respiratory infection cases in South Sumatra reach 274,502

Antara 13 Aug 19;

Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA) - Fires raging through land and forest areas in South Sumatra Province during the January-June 2019 period resulted in 274,502 people suffering from acute respiratory tract infection, a health officer stated.

Residents run the risk of suffering from the infection during the dry spell that induces land and forest fires in several parts of the province, Head of the South Sumatra Provincial Health Office Lesty Nuraini stated on Tuesday

"We have called on the local administration to provide health service facilities to residents as a precautionary measure against haze before the peak of the dry season," she revealed.

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Indonesia: Tesso Nilo's elephants show signs of stress due to forest fire

Antara 13 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Mahouts of the elephant Flying Squad at the Tesso Nilo National Park had to evacuate the trained elephants to a safer place, as they showed signs of stress due to a forest fire that gutted the conservation area in Pelalawan District.

"The elephants have shown a change in behavior, because the fire has made them uncomfortable," chief of the Flying Squad Team, Erwin Daulay, told Antara here on Tuesday.

The Tesso Nilo National Park is a conservation forest, a home for the Sumatran endemic elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus).

The TNTN area was extended in 2009 to 83,068 hectares, from only 38,576 hectares in 2004, by including the limited production forest.

However, massive illegal encroachment of the conservation area has changed its landscape into palm oil plantations.

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Best of our wild blogs: 11-13 Aug 19

Fish Expedition Day 11 - Last surveys!
wild shores of singapore

Fish Expedition Day 12 - The End
wild shores of singapore

The Cross Island Line Chronicles (mid-2019 review)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

Red and White
Butterflies of Singapore

Secondsguru Zero Waste Bootcamp – August 31
Green Drinks Singapore

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Young activists planning 'green dot' gathering on Sept 21

Audrey Tan Straits Times 12 Aug 19;

A "green dot" rally is being planned for next month at Hong Lim Park.

About 15 young activists in Singapore are organising a climate action rally on Sept 21, in line with the global youth movement inspired by Swedish teen climate champion Greta Thunberg.

Next month's event, the Singapore Climate Rally, will be the first physical one in the Republic since the international movement began in August last year, although there have been other social-media climate campaigns here.

A permit for the event has been sought by the young organisers and approved by the National Parks Board, which manages Hong Lim Park - an area designated as Speakers' Corner where public protests are allowed. The organisers are also applying for a police permit.

The event will feature speeches, a picnic and a postcard-writing session in which participants will be encouraged to send notes urging stronger climate action to their representatives in Parliament and other government officials.

There will also be a "die-in", a photographic opportunity in which participants are encouraged to visually express their thoughts on the human lives and biodiversity that will be lost to unabated global warming. Attendees will be asked to form the shape of a spiral, and then gradually collapse inward domino-style to highlight the interconnectedness of the planet, organisers say.

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Singapore to ban domestic trade in elephant ivory from September 2021

Malavika Menon Straits Times 12 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE - Singapore will ban the domestic trade of elephant ivory from Sept 1, 2021, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Monday (Aug 12).

The sale of elephant ivory and ivory products as well as the public display of such products for the purpose of selling them will be prohibited in Singapore once the ban comes into effect.

The ban highlights Singapore's resolve in the fight against the illegal trade in species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), said NParks. Singapore is a signatory to Cites, under which international trade in elephant ivory has been banned since 1990.

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Vegetation fire in Marina East "the size of two football fields" brought under control

Joanna Seow Straits Times 12 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE - A large fire broke out near East Coast Park on Monday night (Aug 12), affecting an area the size of two football fields.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it responded to a vegetation fire near Marina East Drive that was "approximately the size of two football fields" at about 8.50pm.

About 50 firefighters and 12 emergency vehicles were deployed, SCDF said in a Facebook post. It surrounded the fire with seven water jets and brought it under control at 10.30pm.

There are no reported injuries, said SCDF.

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815 birds seized from Malaysia-registered bus at Woodlands Checkpoint; largest haul in 5 years

Prisca Ang Straits Times 11 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE - Officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) found more than 800 ornamental birds in a Malaysia-registered bus at Woodlands Checkpoint on Saturday morning (Aug 10), the largest haul in recent years.

The bus was stopped for a security check when it arrived at the checkpoint at 7am.

ICA officers noticed that the rear tyres of the bus had been modified and heard chirping sounds coming from within the bus, ICA and the National Parks Board (NParks) said in a statement on Sunday.

When they checked the modified compartments above the rear tyres, they found 15 containers with a total of 815 birds hidden in the compartments.

This is the largest seizure of ornamental birds in Singapore in the past five years.

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Malaysia: Most number of hotspots in Indonesia

RAZAK AHMAD The Star 12 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: Nearly 80% of hotspots detected in the Asean region over the past 29 days

are located in Indonesia, figures from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) show.

The hotspots caused by forest fires and open burning are driving the current haze situation that is affecting parts of the region, including Malaysia.

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Malaysia: Haze reaching hazardous levels in various states


PETALING JAYA: The haze hovering over the country finally breached the hazardous level when the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading in Miri, Sarawak, reached almost 400 due to peat fires there.The town has seen API readings above 300 since early yesterday morning.

Another area with an “unhealthy” API reading was Johan Setia in Klang, Selangor.

A check with the Department of Environment’s (DoE) API website showed that the reading at the Institute Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) monitoring station in Miri was 390 as of 5pm yesterday.

Another monitoring station in SK Kuala Baram 2 recorded an “unhealthy” API reading of 137 as of 5pm, having seen a steady “unhealthy” reading since early morning.

Both the ILP and SK Kuala Baram 2 stations are located in the Kuala Baram district of Miri.

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Indonesia: Satellites confirm presence of 192 hotspots on Sumatra Island

Antara 12 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Terra and Aqua satellites detected 192 hotspots indicating forest fires across Sumatra Island on Monday morning, a significant spike, from 13 hotspots on Sunday afternoon.

Of the total 192 hotspots, 156 were found in Riau Province, nine in South Sumatra, eight in Jambi, seven in Lampung, four each in North Sumatra and Bangka Belitung, three in Riau Islands, and one in West Sumatra, Sanya Gautami, analyst at the Pekanbaru meteorology station, remarked here on Monday.

In Riau, the detected hotspots comprised 40 in Pelalawan, 29 in Siak, 21 in Rohan Hilir, 15 in Indragiri Hulu, seven each in Meranti Island and Bengkali, six in Kampar, and two each in Kuantan Singingi and Dumai.

Of the 192 hotspots, 116 were identified as fire spots, with 28 detected in Pelalawan, 22 in Siak, 19 in Indragiri Hilir, and 15 in Rohan Hilir.

Haze lowered visibility in Pekanbaru to 2.5 kilometers on Monday at 10 a.m. local time.

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Malaysia: MCMC to assist in combating illegal business that is harming endangered animals

MEI MEI CHU The Star 12 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has joined in the fight against illegal online wildlife trade.

It has voiced its commitment to help the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the police to investigate Amsyar Kejora, a wildlife trader who operated on numerous social media platforms.

“The MCMC will assist Perhilitan by providing technical assistance such as website blocking, and engaging with the platform providers as a way of controlling spread of misinformation, ” the commission said in an interview yesterday.

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Malaysia: Suitable area in Sabah sought to rehabilitate wild animals

The Star 12 Aug 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is identifying a suitable area in the state to rehabilitate wild animals in a bid for better wildlife conservation.

Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said he has instructed state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew to identify areas that would be suitable for such conservation purposes, including to breed near-extinct Sumatran rhinos and pygmy elephants.

Thanking the Indonesian government for their pledge to help save the Sumatran rhinos by agreeing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for this purpose, he said it was the only move available to save the species from extinction.

For the state government’s part, he said they want to emulate Africa, where some 1, 000 acres of land has been set aside for elephants to roam freely.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 8 -10 Aug 2019

Fish Expedition Day 8
wild shores of singapore

Fish Expedition Day 9 - National Day!
wild shores of singapore

Fish Expedition Day 10
wild shores of singapore

11 Aug (Sun): Registration opens for Sisters Islands Intertidal walks in September 2019
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

A Public Forum by SIBiol on "Environmental Education in a Changing World"
Psychedelic Nature

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Haze is less likely in Singapore for now, says NEA, as number of hotspots dropped

Clara Chong Straits Times 10 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE - The Republic experienced brief showers in the morning on Saturday (Aug 10) with prevailing winds blowing mainly from the south-southeast.

The number of hotspots detected in Sumatra dropped from 68 to 36 due to cloudiness. Localised smoke plumes from hotspots in Riau continued to be observed.

As of 5pm, the 24-hr PSI was in the moderate range, between 62-67.

Showers are to be expected over parts of Singapore on Sunday, where prevailing winds are expected to blow from the southeast or south. The 24-hr PSI range is expected to remain in the moderate range while the 1-hr PM 2.5 readings for the next 24 hours is expected to be in Band I (normal).

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Recycling bins are for recyclables, not junk

IKEA’s move to give 18,000 homes a free recycling bin might help raise awareness, but won’t do anything to improve Singapore’s recycling rate if we don’t learn how to recycle right, says CNA's Nazurah Razali.
Nazurah Razali Channel NewsAsia 9 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: In a move to help Singapore residents recycle regularly, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced last week that 18,000 households in Singapore will get free IKEA-sponsored recycling bins over the next few months.

While this move has been welcomed by many, the reality is that it is unlikely to do much to move the needle on our recycling rate unless we get to grips with what can or cannot go into recycling bins.

Unfortunately, many people in Singapore are terrible at recycling. While there are some who are better at sorting out trash and recyclables, most of us need a lesson in the basic skills.
In April, a survey by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and NEA found that many Singaporeans still do not know what cannot be recycled.

Out of 2,003 households surveyed, 67 per cent thought that soiled paper food packaging can be recycled and almost half thought that tissue paper can be placed in blue recycling bins or chutes.

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Malaysia: API readings very unhealthy in Miri, unhealthy in Klang

The Star 10 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: Miri in Sarawak recorded a "very unhealthy" Air Pollutant Index (API) reading, while in Klang the air quality has been determined to be "unhealthy".

A check with the Department of Environment's API website showed that the Miri station recorded an API level of 391 as of 2pm on Saturday (Aug 10).

It had been logging a steady "very unhealthy" readings from 2am.

SK Kuala Baram 2 in Sarawak had a "unhealthy" API level of 135. It had a steady "unhealthy" API reading since 6am.

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Malaysia: Dengue cases at an all-time high

LOH FOON FONG The Star 10 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Dengue fever cases in Malaysia reached an all time high, hitting nearly 80, 000 cases and 113 deaths reported from January until Aug 3.

Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye expects the number to hit 150, 000 cases by year end if all out efforts are not taken to keep it under control.

The last highest number of cases recorded was in 2015 which recorded 120, 836 cases with 336 deaths.

The figures between January and Aug 3 is almost double that of last year’s figures for the same period – 42, 496 cases with 70 deaths.

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Malaysia: Elephants feeding on Orang Asli crops

SIRA HABIBU The Star 9 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: Rampaging elephants are destroying Orang Asli community farms in Pos Simpor near Gua Musang, Kelantan, sparking fears of famine during the coming rainy season.

Villagers in Kampung Jader, Kampung Penad and Kampung Ceranok claimed that logging and land-clearing activities in the Balah Forest Reserve had forced the elephants out of their normal habitat, leaving them to forage for food in villages.

Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Wilayah Tanah Adat Pos Simpor chairman Nur Mohd Syafiq Dendi Abdullah said the elephants had been destroying the community’s self-sustainable farms since July.“Our tapioca, pumpkin, corn and banana plants have been destroyed, affecting over 200 people from 48 households here.

“We fear the worst during the rainy season as it will be difficult for us to go to town in Gua Musang to get our grocery supplies.“We have always relied on our own food crops, especially during the rainy season when the towns are flooded and we are locked down in the jungle, ” he added.

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Malaysia: Damaged reefs in marine park off KK are recovering

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 9 Aug 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Damaged reefs within the protected marine park off the state capital are regenerating.

A large flat reef at the Midreef diving point near Pulau Manukan Island, in particular, has seen new coral growth aided by artificial reefs. This was after the area’s corals were wiped out by Tropical Storm Greg in 1996.

Manukan is one of the five islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP), a protected marine area. The other islands are Sapi, Mamutik, Sulug and Gaya.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) reef ecologist Dr Zarinah Waheed said Sabah Parks had initiated reef restoration work by placing artificial reef balls in some of the damaged areas.

She said this established solid substrate for new corals to migrate and attach themselves.

“The problem with damaged reef is that, when coral or any hard limestone structures are destroyed, it will become small loose pieces and these move with the water current.

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WWF-Malaysia tells Sabah to rethink mining proposal on Tun Mustapha Park

Roy Goh New Straits Times 8 Aug 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A silica sand mining proposal on an island off the northern district of Kudat concerns the World Wildlife Fund-Malaysia.

The mining was proposed on Pulau Balambangan which is located within the 900,000ha Tun Mustapha Park, the largest marine park in the country. There are also some 50 islands within the park.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal announced this during the State Legislative Assembly sitting, which ended on Wednesday.

In response to this, WWF-Malaysia Conservation director Dr Henry Chan urged the state government to turn down the silica sand mining proposasl.

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Indonesia: Riau Police name palm oil corporation as forest fire suspect

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 10 Aug 19;

The Riau Police on Friday named palm oil company PT Sumber Sawit Sejahtera as the suspect in a forest fire in Pelalawan regency, Riau.

The corporation is alleged to be responsible for causing a fire on a 150-hectare field in Meranti district, Pelalawan.

Riau Police chief Insp. Gen. Widodo Eko Prihastopo said the police decided to name the company the suspect after gathering enough evidence and statements from expert witnesses.

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Plant-based diet can fight climate change - UN

Roger Harrabin BBC 8 auG 19;

Switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change, UN experts have said.

A major report on land use and climate change says the West's high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming.

But scientists and officials stopped short of explicitly calling on everyone to become vegan or vegetarian.

They said that more people could be fed using less land if individuals cut down on eating meat.

The document, prepared by 107 scientists for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says that if land is used more effectively, it can store more of the carbon emitted by humans.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 8 Aug 19

Living reefs at East Coast Park
wild shores of singapore

Read more!

Want to do more to fight climate change? Cut down on driving, buying stuff and eating meat

Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 8 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: In the battle against climate change, environment experts have urged individuals to look beyond single-use plastic and make bigger changes in their daily lives: Drive and fly less, and change what they eat and buy.

"Most of the individual actions people can do are often less visible than not using straws, and requires an effort to change behaviour for the long term," Associate Professor Winston Chow of the Singapore Management University (SMU) told CNA on Wednesday (Aug 7).
"Some steps would be to reduce consumption of goods, materials and services that generate carbon emissions."

A Mediacorp survey released on Wednesday showed that more than nine in 10 Singaporeans and permanent residents agreed that they would do their part to "minimise the impact" of climate change.

But what exactly should they do?

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Singaporeans want to go green but need to learn how to recycle properly, survey finds

TESSA OH Today Online 8 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans are generally quite proactive in taking steps towards a more sustainable way of living but more education is needed to teach people how to recycle properly, a recent online straw poll has found.

The online survey, which polled 100 people aged 16 and above between July 5 and 22, was conducted by Black Dot Research, a Singapore-based market and social research agency.

It found that while Singaporeans try to recycle using the blue bins located in housing estates, close to a third of respondents believed that plastic drinking straws, used paper cups and used plastic cutlery can be placed in the bins when they are in fact not recyclable.

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The link between durian and climate change

Audrey Tan Straits Times 8 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE - Global hunger for staples like rice is fuelling the release of planet-warming emissions, a new scientific report released on Thursday (Aug 8) shows.

Closer to home, the growing appetite for other delicacies is also contributing to climate change, with forests in places like Malaysia being cleared to make way for Musang King durian plantations.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) special report on climate change and land shines the spotlight on how the way humans have been using land is affecting the planet.

Agriculture is a major focus of the report authored by 103 scientists from 52 countries.

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Singapore lauds Indonesia's forest fire control efforts

Antara 7 Aug 19;

Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government's efforts to combat land and forest fires have received appreciation at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in Brunei Darussalam to discuss transboundary haze pollution. "We concluded the meeting only last night. During the two-day session no participant (complained about) transboundary (haze pollution) from Indonesia. We explained our concrete efforts in the field but we must admit that it is very difficult to put out peatland fires," Director of Land and Forest Fire Control of the Environment and Forestry Ministry Raffles B Panjaitan said in a written statement released Wednesday.

"I met with Singapore Minister of Environment and Water Sources Masagos Zulkifli. He thanked the Indonesian government for its efforts to handle land and forest fires and sent best regards to Minister Siti Nurbaya," he said.

The integrated land and forest fire control task force comprising personnel from the military, police, national and regional disaster mitigation agencies, village heads, firefighters, fire brigades of national parks, natural resource and ecosystem conservation agency have continued their efforts to control fires arising from vulnerable areas, Raffles said.

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Malaysia: Hot and dry weather until October, says the weatherman

The Star 8 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Malaysia is expected to experience hot and dry weather with less rainfall until October, says Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis.

She said apart from Malaysia, neighbouring countries Singapore and Sumatra in Indonesia are expected to experience the same weather pattern.

"We expect to experience a shortage of rainfall with warmer and drier weather this year without the El Nino and La Nina phenomena until October, " she said when asked about the essence of the 21st Technical Working Group (TWG) Meeting and the Ministerial Steering Committee Sub-Region on Cross-border Haze Pollution in Brunei.

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Indonesia: Haze-induced respiratory ailments inflict 1,136 Pekanbaru residents

Antara 7 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - At least 1,136 residents of Pekanbaru, Riau Province, have suffered from upper respiratory tract infection following exposure to haze arising from forest fires raging in the province’s several districts.

All community health posts in Pekanbaru were notified to be prepared to deliver optimal services to respiratory patients, Mohammad Amin, acting head of the Pekanbaru health office, noted here on Wednesday.

Most outpatients were people belonging to the productive age group that often conducted outdoor activities, he explained.

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Indonesia: Forest fire allegedly drives tiger into Chevron facility

Antara 7 Aug 19;

"From the video we can see that it is a healthy tiger, and it is normal for him to escape from human presence," he noted.
Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - A wild Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) was captured on camera roaming around the facility of oil firm PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia, Siak District, Wednesday, allegedly fleeing from the forest fire that gutted the region.

"Yes, it has been confirmed that it is a Sumatran tiger. It appeared this morning at 7 a.m. local time," Head of the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) Suharyono told ANTARA on the sidelines of the commemoration of National Natural Conservation Day 2019 here on Wednesday.

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Indonesia: Sumatran tiger preservation to entail adoption of cultural approach

Antara 7 Aug 19;

Indonesia is in a state of emergency with regard to the use of animal traps currently
Batam, Riau Island (ANTARA) - The comprehensive adoption of a cultural approach is deemed necessary to preserve some 600 Sumatran tigers (Phanteratigris sumatrae) surviving in the wilderness.

In the olden days, the Sumatran people, such as those in Kerinci, Jambi Province, lived on stilt houses in harmony with faunal species, including tigers, Hizbullah Arief, communication and reporting staff of the Tiger Project of the UNDP Sumatra Tiger Management Unit, noted in Batam on the sidelines of a discussion on Sumatran tiger preservation efforts on Tuesday evening.

The people had applied local wisdom and led a life in harmony with the environment, he pointed out.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 7 Aug 19

Fish Expedition Day 7 - Why do we need to kill the fishes?
wild shores of singapore

How do Cuckoos choose their hosts?
Singapore Bird Group

Read more!

9 in 10 S'pore youths willing to do their part for the environment, but want Govt to do more: Survey

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 7 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — A survey by Mediacorp has found that the vast majority of Singapore youths are concerned about the impact of climate change and want to do their part to address the problem.

At the same time, they also want the Government to do more on this front — with nearly a third of those aged between 18 and 24, for example, believing that Singapore’s current infrastructure is inadequate to withstand the impact of climate change.

Conducted between July 20 and 24, the online survey polled 1,002 Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 18 and above on their views about climate change and the Government's actions on the issue. Days before the survey was carried out, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli described climate change as a “pressing priority and existential challenge”.

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About 30% of Singapore’s recyclable waste exported overseas in 2018: Masagos

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 6 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: About 30 per cent of Singapore’s recyclable waste was exported to other countries last year, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Tuesday (Aug 6).

The bulk of recyclables are processed locally, he said in a written parliamentary reply.

Mr Masagos was responding to Non-constituency Member of Parliament Daniel Goh, who asked how much of Singapore's recyclable waste is exported to overseas processors, and which countries were the largest receivers of such waste from Singapore.

“Singapore recycles, on average, around 60 per cent of our total waste generated,” said Mr Masagos.

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Every Singaporean household throws away an average S$258 worth of food a year: Study

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 6 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Even though Singapore prides itself on all things culinary, a new study has found that each household here throws away an estimated S$258 worth of unconsumed food annually.

Across all households, that amounts to about S$342 million of wasted food a year. Put another way, an average household tosses away the equivalent of 52 plates of nasi lemak over 12 months.

The study, published on Tuesday (Aug 6), was conducted by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC), and looked at both household food waste, and the large amount of food lost before it ever gets to the customer — during production, packaging and storage, for example.

Two million tonnes of food is imported into Singapore, of which 393,000 tonnes is lost.

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Malaysia: 35ha of Pahang forest, peat land razed

T.N.Alagesh New Straits Times 6 Aug 19;

KUANTAN: Some 35ha of forest and peat land at Bukit Palas near Cherating here has been burning since Monday.

Thick smoke enveloped the area as firemen worked around the clock to prevent the blaze from spreading to other nearby areas.

Pahang Fire and Rescue Department chief Nor Hisham Mohammed said fire had destroyed some 25ha while another 10ha was still burning.

Read more!

Malaysia: Sun bear spotted in Jeli villages

Nor Fazlina Abdul Rahim New Straits Times 7 Aug 19;

KOTA BHARU: A sun bear has been spotted roaming the orchards in Kampung Reka and Kampung Timur near Kuala Belah, Jeli since last week.

Kelantan Wildlife and National Parks Department director Ady Ermanty Haniff Mohamed Hanif said the department received information on the matter from the villagers on July 31. He said the villagers were worried for their safety.

“Following that, four personnel from Jeli wildlife office went to the location to conduct checks. They also set up a trap using cempedak fruit,” he said when contacted.

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Indonesia president threatens to sack fire fighters if forest blazes not tackled

Agustinus Beo Da Costa Reuters 6 Aug 19;

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo threatened on Tuesday to sack military and police officers fighting forest fires if they fail to extinguish the flames. He also promised government funds for high-tech equipment like drones to help tackle the blazes.

The Southeast Asian country has deployed thousands of military and police to douse forest fires after declaring an emergency in six provinces on the island of Sumatra and in the province of Kalimantan on Borneo.

“I phoned the military commander and the chief of police to tell them to replace those who can’t resolve forest and land fires,” Widodo told a co-ordinating meeting on tackling forest fires at the presidential palace.

“Never underestimate hot spots. Immediately put out a small fire, don’t wait until it gets bigger,” Widodo said.

Read more!

Indonesia: Riau task force deploys four helicopters to extinguish forest fires

Antara 6 Aug 19;

"Today, four helicopters were flown in to help the land-based task force tackle the land fire in Pelalawan and Siak," Deputy Commander of the task force Edwar Sanger stated here on Tuesday.
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The land and forest fire task force of Riau Province has deployed four helicopters on Tuesday to help douse the fire raging in the districts of Pelalawan and Siak.

"Today, four helicopters were flown in to help the land-based task force tackle the land fire in Pelalawan and Siak," Deputy Commander of the task force Edwar Sanger stated here on Tuesday.

The authority has detected dozens of hotspots in the two resource-rich districts since the past week, and peatland fire in the regions have produced haze that shrouded its neighboring Pekanbaru City.

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Indonesia: Parts of ASEAN to be fire-prone next week

Antara 7 Aug 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Australian monsoon can make parts of Southeast Asia prone to fires in the next week, according to the Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS) early warning system.

The land fire potential was detected in Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and some small parts of Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos on Aug 6-8, it stated.

"Currently, most parts of Indonesia and some other countries in the ASEAN have experienced the Australian monsoon, characterized by dry winds that blow from the southeast," Deputy for Meteorology of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Mulyono R. Prabowo stated here on Wednesday.

The weather is also affected by the anomaly of sea surface temperature in the Indonesian waters, especially on the south side of the equator; weak intensity of the El Nino phenomenon that hit the region since the end of 2018; and the Indian Ocean Dipole Mode.

This has triggered a drier season in 2019 than that in 2018, he stated.

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Indonesia: Drought affecting 20 districts, towns in West Java

Antara 6 Aug 19;

We have supplied more than 1.7 million liters of clean water to the families facing water scarcity
Bandung, W Java (ANTARA) - The West Java Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) reported Tuesday that this year's protracted drought has affected 20 districts and towns leaving 166,957 families facing water scarcity. Among the affected areas were located in the cities of Bogor and Cirebon as well as the districts of Bekasi, Bogor, Karawang, Bandung Barat, Sumedang, Tasikmalaya, Bandung, Sukabumi, Purwakarta, Subang, and Kuningan, head of the agency's rehabilitation and reconstruction unit, Budi Budiman Wahyu, said.

The total number of affected districts and towns increased from 13 on July 17 to 20 on August 5, he said, adding that the drought had threatened 20,621 hectares of agricultural land and left 166,957 families facing water scarcity.

"We have supplied more than 1.7 million liters of clean water to the families facing water scarcity," he said.

He still reviewed a plan to declare a drought as proposed by the BPBD because related authorities had offered concrete solutions to those affected, West Java Governor M. Ridwan Kamil said.

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Best of our wild blogs: 6 Aug 19

Fish Expedition Day 6 - St John's Island
wild shores of singapore

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Shell considers solar panels to power Singapore refinery site

Jessica Jaganathan Reuters 6 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) is considering to install solar panels to power its Bukom refining site in Singapore, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday.

A general view of Shell's Pulau Bukom petrochemical complex in Singapore July 15, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
“We are exploring the potential of installing solar panels at our Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site,” she said, without providing further details.

The Bukom manufacturing site includes a 500,000 barrels-per-day refinery, which is Shell’s largest wholly owned refinery.

The oil and gas company has been exploring solar installations for its other sites in Singapore as part of its plans to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint.

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MPs reiterate call for plastic bag surcharge; MEWR says focus is on reducing excessive use of all disposables

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 6 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: Members of Parliament (MPs) reiterated the call for plastic bag charges in Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 6), but Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor stressed the need for a wider approach beyond “singling out” single-use plastics.

Responding to a question from MP Lee Bee Wah, Dr Khor said that the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) does not exclusively target plastics.

She said: “Our approach has been to reduce the excessive use of all types of disposables, not just single-use plastics, and to promote the use of reusables.

“We do not target plastics alone ... substituting plastics with other types of single-use packaging materials is not necessarily better for the environment.”

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Malaysia: After 66 bush fires, Sarawakians told to stop open burning

Mohd Roji Kawi New Straits Times 6 Aug 19;

KUCHING: State Fire and Rescue Department has urged Sarawakians to stop open burning activities in the current hot and dry weather to avoid triggering haze.

Its assistant operations director Tiong Ling said 66 bush fires have been reported in the first week of August, all of which originated from open burning.

“Since Aug 1, we have received 66 reports, involving 50 hectares of land size in Kuching, Serian, Lundu, Simunjan, Sri Aman, Sibu, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang.

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Malaysia calls on Asean to fight haze

SIRA HABIBU The Star 6 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will call on Asean member countries to take proactive measures to avoid trans-boundary haze during a two-day meeting in Brunei beginning today.

In a statement,the Energy,Science,Technology,Environment and Climate Change Ministry said Malaysia wanted concerted efforts taken in accordance with the Asean Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze ratified by member countries.

Deputy Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis,who will lead the Malaysian delegation to the 21st Technical Working Group,and the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee Trans-boundary Haze Pollution meetings in Brunei,would submit reports on the measures taken to avoid open burning and haze.

“Malaysia will also activate a new National Action Plan for Open Burning and fine-tune the existing National Haze Action Plan,” it said yesterday.

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Malaysia: Sandakan traders still selling turtle eggs despite warnings - Sabah Wildlife Dept

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 6 Aug 19;

SANDAKAN: Traders here are still selling turtle eggs despite being constantly reminded by authorities that such an activity is against the law.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said turtle eggs could still be found at many shoplots near the market in the district.

“They are doing it secretly... through hand signals (Okay sign, to indicate availbility of turtle eggs).

“However, such activity is still under control because it is being handled by the relevant enforcement agencies,” he said.

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Malaysia: Man held for keeping sun bear cub and protected birds

The Star 6 Aug 19;

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) detained a man for keeping a sun bear cub and several species of protected birds without permits in his business premises here.

Johor Perhilitan director Salman Saaban said four Perhilitan officers raided the premises at Jalan Padi Makmur, Bandar Baru Uda, at 4.30pm on Sunday after a tip-off.

“A 52-year-old man was arrested for keeping the protected animals without permits under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

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Indonesia: Haze-induced visibility impairment in Pekanbaru reaches two kilometers

Antara 6 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Haze, arising from forest fires, has lowered visibility in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, to two kilometers, or two thousand meters, according to information from the Pekanbaru meteorology, climatology, and geophysics station.

"The visibility was only two kilometers this morning, at 7 a.m. local time, due to haze," Sanya Gautami, the station's analyst, remarked here on Tuesday.

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Indonesia: Environmental recovery from Pertamina oil spill may take half a year

Arya Dipa, Ardila Syakriah and Kharishar Kahfi The Jakarta Post 6 Aug 19;

Environmental recovery efforts following the recent oil leak from state energy giant Pertamina’s Offshore North West Java (ONWJ) Block may take more than six months, officials have said, as residents have reportedly begun to bear the brunt of the damages.

The oil spill follows a gas well kick incident, an unplanned and often violent release of gas caused by low pressure in a wellbore, on July 12 in an exploration well called YYA-1, beneath PHE’s ONWJ offshore platform located 2 kilometers north of Karawang, West Java.

Initial reports showed that the oil spill had only affected 11 villages in Karawang and Bekasi, West Java, and seven beaches in the province, but the Thousand Islands administration said on Friday that the spill had reached seven of its southern islands on July 22.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said that the government and Pertamina would need at least six months to conduct environmental recovery efforts in the affected areas.

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As fires burn, can Indonesia avoid repeat of 2015 haze crisis?

Michael Taylor Reuters 5 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As another outbreak of forest fires in Indonesia sends harmful smoke drifting across parts of Southeast Asia, researchers and environmental activists have urged Jakarta to step up efforts to prevent a repeat of the last major haze crisis in 2015.

Emergencies were declared in six Indonesian provinces on Sumatra island and in Kalimantan last week as fires raged, while neighboring Singapore and Malaysia issued health warnings about the air pollution that is heading their way.

Arie Rompas, a Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner who is from Kalimantan on Borneo island, said that with no rain since July, peatland fires were intensifying in areas burned in the 2015 disaster.

“Our courts have ordered the government to prevent this and commit more resources to extinguishing fires, and to name and prosecute the plantations where fires occurred in the past,” Rompas told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Without this, fires will worsen and the situation could be the same as in 2015.”

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Best of our wild blogs: 5 Aug 19

Fish Expedition Day 5 - Chek Jawa on super sampan
wild shores of singapore

Fish Expedition Day 4 - East Coast Park
wild shores of singapore

Demons of Singapore
Butterflies of Singapore

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16 hotspots detected in Sumatra, 'slightly hazy conditions' possible: Met Service

Channel NewsAsia 4 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: Sixteen hotspots were detected in Sumatra on Sunday (Aug 4), according to an update by the Meteorological Service Singapore.

"Persistent hotspots with smoke haze were detected in recent days over Sumatra as well as Kalimantan, which have been experiencing dry weather conditions.

"Due to cloud cover, a total of 16 hotspots were detected in Sumatra today and smoke haze from persistent hotspots continue to be observed in Riau and Jambi provinces of Sumatra," said the Met Service.

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Malaysia: Pasir Gudang factories directed to install emission data monitoring equipment

Bernama New Straits Times 4 Aug 19;

JOHOR BARU: All factories in Pasir Gudang have been ordered to install special equipment to enable direct data monitoring of emissions from its chimneys over a 24-hour period.

Johor Environment Department (DoE) director Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaafar said the equipment must have the latest technology capable of providing data directly to the department for online monitoring.

“At the same time, we will also be on the ground (factories) to verify the emission data, meaning that the factories must also have a good record-keeping system for verification,” he said.

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Malaysia: 39 haze hotspots identified

New Straits Times 5 Aug 19;

THIRTY-NINE hotspots were detected yesterday compared with 31 on Friday, which escalated the transboundary haze in the region.

Data from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) revealed 36 hotspots in Indonesia’s Kalimantan, namely 13 areas in its western region, central (10), southern (eight) and eastern (five).

Two hotspots were identified in Sulawesi and one in Keningau, Sabah.

The air quality readings nationwide up to 6pm yesterday were at moderate levels.

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Malaysia: Malayan tiger teetering on the brink of extinction; 23 left in Belum-Temenggor Forest Reserve

Zahratulhayat Mat Arif New Straits Times 3 Aug 19;

GERIK: The fate of the Malayan tiger in Belum-Temenggor Forest Reserve hangs in the balance as rampant poaching continues.

Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC) general-manager Mohamed Shah Redza Hussein said the species could become extinct in the next six to seven years if no immediate and drastic measures are taken.

"About seven to eight years ago, we had more than 60 tigers in Belum-Temenggor. But the latest study showed that there are only 23 left in this rainforest.

"This shows that the population has declined by about 60 per cent. If we do not take action now, I am sure within the next two or three years, we would have less than 10 tigers left, which is not enough for reproduction.

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Indonesia: BRG to develop more peat rewetting infrastructure in Riau

Antara 5 Aug 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) will develop infrastructure for peat rewetting in areas in Riau Province, with no record of land and forest fires.

"We have a mechanism to facilitate the development of infrastructure for peat rewetting in areas that earlier are not in our working plan," BRG Head Nazir Foead remarked here on Monday.

During a meeting with the Riau governor, regional disaster mitigation agency (BPBD), and Environment and Forestry Office that better understand the condition in Riau, Nazir was informed that in areas prone to land and forest fires in the eastern coast of the province, less reports of forest and land fires were received this year.

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Indonesia: 700 Pekanbaru inhabitants suffer from respiratory illness due to haze

Antara 5 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Some 700 people in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, currently suffer from respiratory illness as haze from forest fires has shrouded the city over the last several days.

The authorities had warned local inhabitants to stay indoor to prevent their health from being impacted by haze, Yohanes, secretary of the Riau Health Office, said here on Sunday.

At least 10 thousand face masks were distributed to motorbikers, drivers and pedestrians.

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Stop abusing land, scientists warn

Roger Harrabin BBC 5 Aug 19;

Scientists are to deliver a stark condemnation of the damage being done to the land surface of the planet.

Human activities have led to the degrading of soils, expanded deserts, felled forests, driven out wildlife, and drained peatlands, they will say.

In the process, land has been turned from an asset that combats climate change into a major source of carbon.

The scientists will say this land abuse must be stopped to avoid catastrophic climate heating.

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Best of our wild blogs: 3 Aug 19

Fish Expedition Day 3 - Changi and more!
wild shores of singapore

Night Walk Along Island Country Club Road (02 Aug 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Commentary: Tigers belong in the wild, not in our homes, the streets or farms

Tigers are at risk of extinction. We need to start taking tiger conservation seriously, says Vilma D’Rozario.
Vilma D'Rozario Channel NewsAsia 3 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: Some things are not meant to go together, like peanut butter on pizza or papaya trees in Antarctica.

Last month, our screens brought us the sight of another strange combination: Two tigers walking down a road in Terengganu, Malaysia.

On Jul 18, Terengganu Wildlife and National Parks Department caught one of the roaming tigers, who unfortunately died just days later due to a canine distemper virus. The whereabouts of the other remain unknown.

Some have speculated that the tigers might have been pets, due to their seeming lack of instinctual predator behaviour in the village that they strolled through.

We don’t know for sure why the tigers were roaming the streets, but regardless, tigers are supposed to be treading forest trails, not walking along paved roads meant for tires and cars with racing stripes.

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Haze risk could last for months caused by very dry conditions, Met Service warns

Today Online 2 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — The threat of occasional haze in Singapore could last for months owing to very dry conditions in the region caused by a weather event called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said on Friday (Aug 2).

The MSS said Singapore recorded its driest July on record, with the weather station at Changi recording 92 per cent less rain than the long-term average — and beating the previous record for the driest July set in 1997. It was also Singapore’s second-warmest July on record.

“Since early July 2019, dry weather has been persisting over southern Sumatra and Kalimantan. Drier weather can be expected in the next three months (August to October), with monthly rainfall of up to 60 per cent below average,” said the MSS.

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Malaysia: Three states yet to gazette water catchment areas

The Star 3 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: Three states – Johor, Perak and Penang have yet to gazette their forest reserve water catchment areas, says the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry.The ministry pointed out that the catchment areas for the three states totalled 139, 290 acres (56, 370ha).

The National Land Council chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic) has asked for these state governments to take immediate action.

“The reason for gazetting is to preserve the source of water and the nation’s forest from being encroached upon and turned into development areas.

“It is a concern that these areas will be affected by development, which could undermine our forests and waters, ” it said in a statement.

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Malaysia: Breeder boosts horseshoe crab population

REMAR NORDIN The Star 3 Aug 19;

Brisk business: Khairul showing a fully mature horseshoe crab at Sedili Kechil Horseshoe Crab Farm and Hatchery in Kota Tinggi.

JOHOR BARU: Ahmad Mustafa used to sell horseshoe crabs for a living, a job he inherited from his father – until he noticed a decline in the population of the species.

But he did not give up. After eight years of tireless effort to save the population of the crustacean, he has successfully transformed himself from a wholesaler into a breeder.

The 52-year-old, who became a horseshoe crab wholesaler 30 years ago, is now entrusted by the government with running Sedili Kechil Horseshoe Crab Farm and Hatchery in Kota Tinggi here.

Built on his house, the hatchery was started after Ahmad noticed a decline in his haul.

“That prompted me to start my own makeshift hatchery by collecting eggs from female horseshoe crabs.

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Malaysia: 'Time ripe to restart haze talks with Indonesia'

Veena Babulal, Adib Povera New Straits Times 3 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The time is ripe to revive transboundary haze talks with Indonesia.

Sustainability expert Dr Mohd Yusoff Ishak said this was because the last agreement was ratified by Indonesia in 2014, more than 12 years after the republic signed the treaty on transboundary haze.

“Since the Asean Agreement on the Transboundary Haze Pollution was inked in 2002, and the 2015 tripartite talks (between Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia) fell through, there have been no catastrophic haze incidences like that of 1997 or 2015, and the need to address the issue has fallen by the wayside.

“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should start the ball rolling for Asean by talking to (Indonesian President) Joko Widodo in a bid to review and update the treaty,” said the senior lecturer from Universiti Putra Malaysia.

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Malaysia: 'Schools can close immediately if API reach very unhealthy level'

Adib Povera, Veena Babulal New Straits Times 3 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Schools in areas which register unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) of more than 100 have been reminded to restrict outdoor activities, said Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.

She said if the API reading reached a very unhealthy level of 200, school administrations were allowed to close schools immediately without the Education Ministry’s permission.

“The standard operating procedure has been established,” she told the New Straits Times.

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Indonesia: BMKG confirms 85 hotspots detected across Sumatra Island

Antara 2 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) detected 85 hotspots, indicating potential occurrences of bush and forest fires, in several parts of Sumatra Island on Friday morning.

On Friday morning, 54 hotspots were spotted in Riau Province, but this figure had decreased significantly, from 126 hotspots on Thursday, the agency's head, Sukisno, noted.

The hotspots were also detected in the provinces of Aceh, Jambi, Lampung, West Sumatra, South Sumatra, and Bangka Belitung, he informed attendants of a meeting held to discuss measures to mitigate land and forest fires in Riau. Related news: Pekanbaru shrouded in haze from forest fire

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Best of our wild blogs: 2 Aug 19

Fish Expedition Day 2 - Hantu
wild shores of singapore

Shore exploration for kids with Young Nautilus (Oct-Dec 2019)
Celebrating Singapore Shores

4 Aug (Sun): Registration opens for FREE walk at St John's Island on 1 Sep (Sun)
Celebrating Singapore Shores

More lively Changi shores!
wild shores of singapore

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Singapore at ‘moderate risk’ of severe haze in 2019: Report

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 2 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — There is a "moderate risk" that Singapore will see a severe haze this year, similar to the one last seen in 2015.

The forecast is based on an inaugural haze outlook report by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA).

The think-tank launched the Haze Outlook for Southern Asean Summary Report on Thursday (May 2) at the 6th Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources Conference, held at the Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

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After record warm July, time to brace for occasional haze in August

Today Online 1 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Expect an occasional haze in the first fortnight of this month, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) warned, after hotspots with smoke plumes were observed in central Sumatra and southern Kalimantan in Indonesia in recent days.

In a weather update on Thursday (Aug 1), the MSS said that the haze may affect Singapore depending on the direction of the prevailing winds and locations of the fire.

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South-east Asia must phase out coal plants, reduce reliance on fossil fuels to combat climate change: UN

Audrey Tan Straits Times 2 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE - As one of the regions with the highest number of coal plants in the pipeline, South-east Asia must work to quickly end its reliance on fossil fuels, with the goal of phasing out all coal plants from 2020, the United Nations (UN) urged on Friday (Aug 2).

Speaking to journalists via a teleconference, Mr Luis Alfonso de Alba, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for an upcoming climate summit, also appealed to nations in the bloc to stop subsidising fossil fuels.

"This is particularly relevant for a region where emissions continue to grow," he said.

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Malaysia: Malaysians brace for hazy days

CLARISSA CHUNG The Star 2 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: With Indonesia battling forests fires in Riau, Malaysians are bracing for a spell of haze and smog.

Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Jailan Simon said a few regions in Malaysia were already experiencing haze due to the fires in Riau.

According to MetMalaysia, areas such as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan and Penang are affected by the haze.

“The haze is caused by a moderate amount of smog moving from hotspots in the central and southern parts of Sumatra due to the Southwest Monsoon winds, ” he said in a statement to The Star yesterday.

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Indonesia: Eight orangutans released in C Kalimantan forest

Antara 1 Aug 19;

Palangka Raya, C Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Palangka Raya, C Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) and Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) have released eight orangutans into their natural habitat in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Katingan District, Central Kalimantan Province.

The release of these eight orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) has increased the number of orangutans in the national park's forests, BOSF's CEO Jamartin Sihite revealed in his foundation's press statement that ANTARA received here Thursday.

The number of orangutans being treated at BOSF's rehabilitation center has also increased amid the fact that the availability of forests used as a natural habitat for these endangered animals would immediately reach their maximum capacity, he said.

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Indonesia: East Aceh district head orders probe into killing of elephants

Antara 31 Jul 19;

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - East Aceh District Head, H Hasballah HM Thaib, has ordered a probe into the killing of several elephants in the district.

"This is an environmental crime. We are concerned about the case where several elephants fell prey to the trap, leading to their death," he said on Wednesday.

He pointed out the recent case where a baby elephant and two adult elephants were trapped in the hinterland, which tarnished the image of East Aceh both at the national and international levels.

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Best of our wild blogs: 1 Aug 19

18 Aug (Sun) - Free Guided Walk at Chek Jawa
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

8 September (Sun) - Spend your school holidays with us at Chek Jawa!
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Changi is alive!
wild shores of singapore

Codefish-SG: How to build a Singapore fish library
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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PUB to carry out fogging, checks as midges multiply near Pandan Reservoir

Channel NewsAsia 1 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB will carry out inspections and fogging near Pandan Reservoir to control the rising midge population, it said on Thursday (Aug 1).

"There has been an increase in midges around the HDB blocks near Pandan Reservoir recently due to the hot and wet weather," said PUB in a Facebook post.

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

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

"PUB has been closely monitoring the situation and has stepped up measures at the reservoir to control the midge population."

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18,000 HDB households to receive free Ikea recycling bins

Today Online 1 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE — Free Ikea recycling bins are being offered to residents in new HDB precincts as part of a new initiative to encourage households to recycle regularly. 

Some 18,000 households living in Build-to-Order (BTO) flats in areas such as MacPherson, Bidadari, Sembawang and Sengkang will be eligible for this scheme, announced by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Ikea Singapore in a joint statement on Thursday (Aug 1).

Residents will receive a voucher by mail over the next few months, which they can use to redeem their free bin from Ikea’s Tampines or Alexandra branches from Aug 24 onwards.

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Malaysia, Johor: 71 factories operating illegally in Pasir Gudang

REMAR NORDIN The Star 30 Jul 19;

PASIR GUDANG: The Johor government has identified 71 factories that are operating illegally within the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council’s jurisdiction, says a state exco member.

State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environmental Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said from the figure, eight had been recommended for legal action, 46 had been issued with notices, while two had been shut down.

“The rest of the factories are waiting for action from the Department of Environment.

“Eighteen of the illegal factories are also found to be operating on government-owned land, while four factories, which have the necessary licences, are also found to be operating on government land, ” he said.

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Malaysia working to tighten laws on forest protection, says minister

Michael Taylor Reuters 31 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Malaysia is working on reforms to its decades-old forestry laws, and will consider suggestions from green activists on how to better protect its rainforests, a minister said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, hundreds of environmentalists marched on Malaysia’s parliament demanding changes to the constitution and laws to step up punishments for forest-clearing, corruption and pollution.

Organized by environmental group PEKA Malaysia, the demonstrators also called for forest management to be moved to central government control from state level.

Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, Malaysia’s deputy minister of water, land and natural resources, told local media this week that discussions on changing the laws had begun, and he hoped new bills would be presented to parliament by early next year.

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Malaysia: Unhealthy API readings recorded in Selangor and Pahang

Mohd Iskandar Ibrahim New Straits Times 1 Aug 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings have been recorded in two states in Peninsular as of 3pm today.

Johan Setia in Klang, Selangor recorded API of 110, while Rompin, Pahang at 103, according to the Department of Environment’s website.

Moderate readings were recorded at 62 locations nationwide, while four locations with “good” readings were Sandakan and Tawau, Sabah with API of 37 and 35 respectively; as well as Alor Setar, Kedah (50) and Seberang Perai, Pulau Pinang (49).

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Indonesia: Haze enveloping Pekanbaru compels students to wear face masks

Antara 31 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Students and teachers in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, were left with no choice but to wear face masks as haze, arising from forest and bush fires, hung over the city since early this week.

"Since Monday, schools have appealed to students to wear face marks, as children are susceptible to smoke emitted from forest fires," Afni Sarianti, a teacher of the Islam Akramunnas Kindergarten, noted here on Wednesday.

The students were explained about the health hazard posed by exposure to haze.

Read more!