Best of our wild blogs: 7 Feb 19

Pasir Ris shores are alive!
wild shores of singapore

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If we leave it to our kids to fix the planet, it may be too late

KIM STENGERT Today Online 6 Feb 19;

The other day, sipping on my strawless kopi-o peng at Orchard Road I witnessed an army of National Environment Agency volunteers in white polo shirts walking down the street, checking for errant smokers outside of smoking areas marked by orange lines.

It is clear that when it comes to public health, the laws here are strict, and for good reason.

Globally, seven million deaths a year are linked to tobacco, and 1.6 million to diabetes.

Now let me share another set of numbers: 6.1 million deaths are linked to air pollution and nearly 30 million people were affected by extreme weather events last year.

Environment-related threats impact us in a way that is as real and tangible as drugs and chemicals. Natural disasters like extreme weather events have escalated at an unnatural pace. New Zealand just named climate change as its “greatest security threat”.

But despite the imminent threat that environmental problems pose to humans, accountability for these problems has been murky and actions, downright passive.

Environmental issues are still seen as necessary evils in the push for economic growth by governments and profits by businesses.

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Chinese hunger for 'world's smelliest fruit' threatens Malaysian forests

Sam Reeves, with Lillian Ding in Beijing, AFP Yahoo News 6 Feb 19;

Raub (Malaysia) (AFP) - Soaring demand for durians in China is being blamed for a new wave of deforestation in Malaysia with environmentalists warning vast amounts of jungle is being cleared to make way for massive plantations of the spiky, pungent fruit.

Grown across tropical Southeast Asia, the durian is hailed as the "king of fruits" by fans, who liken its creamy texture and intense aroma to blue cheese.

But detractors say durians stink of sewage and stale vomit. The strong smell means many hotels across the region have banned guests from bringing them to rooms, while Singapore does not allow the fruit on its subway system.

Nevertheless, they are a hit in China, and the increase in demand has prompted exporters to vye for a bigger share of the burgeoning market.

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Indonesia: Fish breeding firm under fire for polluting Lake Toba

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 6 Feb 19;

The North Sumatra provincial administration has reprimanded fish breeder PT Aquafarm Nusantara for polluting Lake Toba in Toba Samosir regency.

The company operates thousands of floating net cages in Lake Toba to cultivate tilapia but has committed multiple violations in its operations, according North Sumatra Environment Agency head Binsar Situmorang.

They include exceeding the limit of cultivating 26.4 million tons of fish a year and poor waste management, he said.

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Bangkok Is Running Out of Air Purifiers as Toxic Smog Grips Thailand

Anuchit Nguyen Bloomberg 6 Feb 19;

Every time Bangkok fruit seller Veerachai Roopsuwanakul tries to buy an air purifier, he gets the same response: "Out of stock."

"We never imagined the air could get so bad," said Veerachai, who now wears a face mask to filter out dust. "We can’t find a purifier in shops or online."

The Thai capital is grappling with a second year of spiking seasonal air pollution, prompting people to snap up so many filters and masks that supplies are dwindling. Residents fear a long battle lies ahead to keep the toxic smog at bay, signaling growing opportunities for purifier makers such as Sharp Corp. or mask manufacturer 3M Co. in the city of roughly 10 million people.

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Melting ice sheets may cause 'climate chaos': study

Marlowe HOOD, AFP Yahoo News 7 Feb 19;

Paris (AFP) - Billions of tonnes of meltwater flowing into the world's oceans from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could boost extreme weather and destabilise regional climate within a matter of decades, researchers said Wednesday.

These melting giants, especially the one atop Greenland, are poised to further weaken the ocean currents that move cold water south along the Atlantic Ocean floor while pushing tropical waters northward closer to the surface, they reported in the journal Nature.

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