Best of our wild blogs: 13 Mar 19

Pollution in Pasir Gudang river north of Pulau Ubin
wild shores of singapore

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'Almost certain extinction': 1,200 species under severe threat across world

Scientists map out threats faced by thousands of species of birds, mammals and amphibians
Lisa Cox The Guardian 12 Mar 19;

More than 1,200 species globally face threats to their survival in more than 90% of their habitat and “will almost certainly face extinction” without conservation intervention, according to new research.

Scientists working with Australia’s University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society have mapped threats faced by 5,457 species of birds, mammals and amphibians to determine which parts of a species’ habitat range are most affected by known drivers of biodiversity loss.

The project is from the same team of researchers that found just five countries are responsible for 70% of the world’s remaining wilderness.

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When Your Land Is Stolen From Beneath Your Feet

A Disappearing World: Singapore Is Harvesting Land from Cambodia
Kalyanee Mam The Atlantic 11 Mar 19;

From 1975 to 1999, millions of Cambodian families were murdered, starved, or displaced by the Khmer Rouge regime. The filmmaker Kalyanee Mam’s family was among those uprooted from their homeland. Recently, Mam traveled back to the country from which her family fled. “What I found there shocked me completely,” she told me.

Nearly two decades following the dissolution of the regime, thousands of Cambodian families are experiencing a new wave of displacement. By talking with locals on the island of Koh Sralau, Mam found out that since 2007, the government of Cambodia has granted several private companies concessions to mine the country’s coastal mangrove forests. Each year, millions of metric tons of Cambodian sand are shipped to Singapore to expand that island nation’s landmass; Singapore has imported more than 80 million tons of sand so far. According to Mam, “The people and all the living creatures that depend on these forests for their livelihood are forced to cope with this massive loss.” In addition to displacing those who live and work on that land, Cambodia is also destroying its only natural barrier against erosion, rising sea levels, tsunamis, and hurricanes.

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Malaysia: In Kota Tinggi, water rationing to affect 15,000 residents

Malay Mail 12 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU, March 12 — Some 15,000 residents in the Felda Gugusan Lok Heng, Felda Waha and Bukit Easter areas in Kota Tinggi, will be affected by a water rationing exercise which could be as early as this weekend, as the water level at the Lok Heng Dam is low.

State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee Chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said the reading at the dam was now at 1.43 metres, below the rationing level of 1.5 metres. The “normal” water level is 2.75 metres.

“We cannot avoid this, we have to ration and I hope the people understand because of the extraordinary weather factors.

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Malaysia: Sungai Kim Kim Illegal dumping turns into a big disaster

The Star 13 Mar 19;

PASIR GUDANG: What started as a convenient dumping of chemicals beneath a bridge in Kota Masai has turned into a disaster with almost 500 people, mainly children, treated for respiratory ailments.

The chemicals, believed to contain heavy metal used to dissolve metal at a scrapyard and a chemical factory in Kulai, were discharged into Sungai Kim Kim about a week ago.

Since then, there have been three waves of air pollution as the chemicals got washed downstream towards the Straits of Johor.

It is learnt that there are at least seven schools located along the river.

Three people were arrested on Sunday and Monday in connection with the case.

Fishermen in the area are claiming that the thick sludge in the water is causing their boat engines to fail and they have to row their boats out to sea.

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Indonesia: Rp1 trillion spent on fighting land fires in 2018

Antara 13 Mar 19;

Smoke haze shrouded Ampera Bridge, Palembang, South Sumatra

The government spent Rp1 trillion for fighting wildfires on peatlands in South Sumatra province last year, Chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Board (BNPB) Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo said on Tuesday.

In view of the high cost, he felt it was necessary to familiarize the public with the effort to preempt wildfires

It is better to prevent wildfires by familiarizing people nearby on how to tackle fires before they inflict losses worth hundreds of billions of rupiahs, he added.

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Raw materials behind half of global emissions: UN

Patrick GALEY, AFP Yahoo News 12 Mar 19;

Nairobi (AFP) - Extracting and processing materials, fuel and food contributes as much as half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, the UN said Tuesday, as experts gathered in Kenya to find ways to rein in exploding global consumption.

Using dozens of data sources, the authors of a major new report presented lawmakers and businesses with a stark choice: drastically reform the global economy to get more from less, or risk the collapse of global infrastructure.

With countries already committed under the Paris climate deal to curb emissions to fend off the worst impacts of global warming, experts said there was little hope of meeting that goal without an "urgent and systemic transformation" in how we use Earth's resources.

The Global Resources Outlook 2019 said that worldwide consumption of basic commodities such as water, minerals and fossil fuels had tripled since 1970.

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