Best of our wild blogs: 12 Feb 19

9 Mar (Sat): Easy nature guiding - a FREE workshop
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

16 Mar (Sat): R.U.M. joins Celebrating Singapore Shores at Berlayar Creek
Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

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Parliament: Environment studies to be made public unless there are security concerns

Rachel Au-Yong Straits Times 12 Feb 19;

The authorities intend to make public the findings of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) unless there are specific reasons - like security considerations - to keep them confidential, said Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee yesterday.

This is the first time security considerations have been cited as a factor for withholding the results of environmental studies.

Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) had asked if the authorities would consider making EIAs mandatory for all construction works near national parks or nature reserves, as well as publicly available.

Mr Lee's response comes in the wake of disputes over the Housing Board's conclusion in a report that forests in Tengah, which is near a military training ground, were of "low conservation significance".

But ecologists consider the forests there an important vegetation node that allows wildlife to move from the Western Catchment to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

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Parliament: Cross Island Line extension from Pasir Ris to Punggol being studied

Zhaki Abdullah Straits Times 11 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority is still studying whether the future Cross Island Line (CRL) can be extended from Pasir Ris to Punggol.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Monday (Feb 11) said in a written parliamentary reply that engineering studies are ongoing for this proposed stretch of the CRL MRT line.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC), had asked if the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) could be extended to connect to Pasir Ris and Punggol, to provide greater connectivity for residents in these areas.

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Toxic bacteria found on small pieces of plastic trash from Singapore beaches

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 11 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — The small pieces of plastic trash on Singapore's shores are a hotbed for bacteria, some of which are toxic to humans, a study has found.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) discovered more than 400 types of bacteria on 275 pieces of microplastics collected from the beaches of Changi, Sembawang and Lazarus Island between April and July last year.

The bacteria include those associated with coral bleaching (Photobacterium rosenbergii) and those that cause wound infection (Vibrio) or gastroenteritis in humans (Arcobacter).


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Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'

Exclusive: Insects could vanish within a century at current rate of decline, says global review
Damian Carrington The Guardian 10 Feb 19;

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

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Environment in multiple crises - report

Roger Harrabin BBC 12 Feb 19;

Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims.

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.

Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.

These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans.

The report from the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research says these factors are "driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation that has reached critical levels.

"This destabilisation is occurring at speeds unprecedented in human history and, in some cases, over billions of years."

So what is needed?

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