Punggol, Yishun residents complain of 'strange smells'

Derek Wong Straits Times 16 Mar 19;

Residents in Punggol and Yishun have complained of strange smells amid reports that a chemical spill in Pasir Gudang, Johor, has left more than 3,000 people feeling sick after inhaling the noxious fumes.

According to the Chinese-language Shin Min Daily News, some residents in Punggol experienced giddiness and nausea as a result of the smell.

Punggol resident Lin Zhi Long, 35, told the newspaper that while the industrial activity nearby sometimes gives rise to certain smells, the stench in the past two days was different. However, he said it was hard to tell whether the smell resulted from the toxic spill in Johor.

On Wednesday, Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah said in a Facebook post that residents in Yishun had complained of a urine stench in the area.

"I checked with NEA (National Environment Agency). NEA said this is likely from Johor," she wrote.

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Expect more warm weather until late March: Met Service

Channel NewsAsia 15 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE: The scorching heat that has prevailed over Singapore is forecast to persist for another week, said the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) on Friday (Mar 15).

Some relief can be expected in the last week of the month, in the form of short-term thundery showers on most days in the afternoon, it added.

One or two mornings may see widespread thundery showers with occasional gusty winds and on several days, the rain could extend into the evening.

However, total rainfall for the month is "still likely to be well below normal", said MSS.

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Malaysia: Another 780 people affected, with 113 warded in Pasir Gudang chemical crisis

mohd farhaan shah The Star 15 Mar 19;

PASIR GUDANG: A total of 780 new cases have been registered at the medic base at the Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium as of 12am on Thursday (March 14), bringing the total number of people affected by the chemical pollution here to 3,555 cases.

However, Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said only 202 individuals received further treatment at hospitals, with 113 warded.

He said many who were hospitalised earlier had been discharged.

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Malaysia: Fire and Rescue Dept has stationed 133 Hazmat personnel in Pasir Gudang

The Star 15 Mar 19;

KOTA BARU (Bernama): The Hazardous Materials Unit (Hazmat) of the Fire and Rescue Department (JPBM) has stationed 133 personnel at the polluted area in Pasir Gudang, Johor, to monitor air quality and to advise the state disaster management committee accordingly, says Bomba director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid.

He said the personnel had been stationed at the location since March 7, the first day the dumping of chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang was reported.

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Malaysia: Portion of Sungai Klang polluted by unidentified chemical substance

Dawn Chan New Straits Times 14 Mar 19;

KLANG: A portion of Sungai Klang has been found to be polluted by a chemical substance that has yet to be identified and the authorities believe it was dumped by irresponsible parties earlier today.

Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) director Datuk Hashim Osman said the affected part of the river was confined to a stretch near Taman Eng Ann in Klang.

He said the pollutant was detected following complaints made by the public to Luas at about 6pm.

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Malaysia: Sungai Raja Hitam falls under Class Four, needs extensive treatment

Zahratulhayat Mat Arif New Straits Times 15 Mar 19;

IPOH: Sungai Raja Hitam in Manjung has been categorised under Class Four in river water quality and needs extensive treatment.

Perak Environmental Department director Norazizi Adinan said this happened due to the location of Sungai Raja Hitam which was located about six kilometres from a oil palm factory there.

“We are always taking river samples to the Chemistry Department for analysis, besides frequent monitoring at the factory.

“In February this year, the court imposed RM4,000 fine and the factory has learnt from its mistakes. Several initiatives have been taken to improve their services,” he said when met at his office in Bangunan Seri Kinta here today.

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Indonesia: Police name four suspects in Dumai forest fires

The Jakarta Post 15 Mar 19;

The Dumai Police in Riau have named four suspects in separate forest and land fires that have blanketed the city with haze.

“Three of the suspects were arrested in West Dumai district, while the other one was arrested in Medang Kampai district,” Dumai Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Restika Nainggolan said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.

He added the police had handed over one of the cases to prosecutors, although the police chief did not specify which suspect. Meanwhile, the investigators were still investigating the other three cases.

“All four are suspected of clearing land by burning it. The fire spread to other areas,” Restika said.

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Indonesia: Smuggler arrested in Papua with over 2,000 endangered turtles

Agence France-Presse Jakarta Post 15 Mar 19;

A man has been arrested for trying to smuggle 2,000 endangered pig-nosed turtles, police said, marking the latest wildlife-trafficking arrest as the Southeast Asian nation battles the vast trade.

Authorities in Papua province said they seized 2,227 of the palm-sized turtles which were stuffed into boxes on a boat docked in the remote town of Agats.

"Officers saw a port worker carrying three big boxes and got suspicious," Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said late Thursday.

"This is protected species and they are not for sale."

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Nations agree 'significant' plastic cuts

Patrick GALEY, AFP Yahoo News 15 Mar 19;

Nairobi (AFP) - Nations on Friday committed to "significantly reduce" single-use plastics over the next decade, in a series of voluntary pledges that green groups warned fell short of tackling Earth's pollution crisis.

After marathon talks in Nairobi, countries appeared to have reached a deal over throwaway plastic items such as bags, cups and cutlery to reduce the more than eight million tonnes of plastics entering oceans each year.

The final ministerial statement -- issued on a day of youth protests against climate change -- made only two references to man-made global warming and none to the fossil fuels that drive it.

It said countries would "address the damage to our ecosystems caused by the unsustainable use and disposal of plastic products, including by significantly reducing single-use plastic products by 2030."

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Sharp rise in Arctic temperatures now inevitable – UN

Temperatures likely to rise by 3-5C above pre-industrial levels even if Paris goals met
Fiona Harvey The Guardian 13 Mar 19;

Sharp and potentially devastating temperature rises of 3C to 5C in the Arctic are now inevitable even if the world succeeds in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement, research has found.

Winter temperatures at the north pole are likely to rise by at least 3C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century, and there could be further rises to between 5C and 9C above the recent average for the region, according to the UN.

Such changes would result in rapidly melting ice and permafrost, leading to sea level rises and potentially to even more destructive levels of warming. Scientists fear Arctic heating could trigger a climate “tipping point” as melting permafrost releases the powerful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, which in turn could create a runaway warming effect.

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'It's our time to rise up': youth climate strikes held in 100 countries

School and university students continue Friday protests to call for political action on crisis
Sandra Laville, Matthew Taylor and Daniel Hurst The Guardian 15 Mar 19;

From Australia to America, children put down their books on Friday to march for change in the first global climate strike.

The event was embraced in the developing nations of India and Uganda and in the Philippines and Nepal – countries acutely impacted by climate change - as tens of thousands of schoolchildren and students in more than 100 countries went on “strike”, demanding the political elite urgently address what they say is a climate emergency.

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