Explainer: Why sand is so highly valued and the controversy surrounding cross border trade

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 24 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE — A short documentary by a Cambodian filmmaker that claimed Singapore has imported over “80 million tons of sand worth more than US$740 million (S$999 million) from Cambodia” went viral here recently.

The 16-minute film once again shone the spotlight on Singapore’s heavy reliance on imported sand for land reclamation.

The 2018 documentary by Ms Kalyanee Mam, who won an award for it at an environmental film festival held in Washington, United States, in March, claimed that Singapore’s need for sand has destroyed the livelihood of a community on an island off Cambodia’s coast.

When contacted about the claims in Ms Mam’s video, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said it does not condone the unlawful import of sand. It also reiterated that Singapore had stopped importing sand from Cambodia after a ban by the latter took effect in November 2016.

Ms Mam, who is based in the United States, could not be reached for comment.

Find out why there is so much controversy over this highly valued commodity:

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Malaysia: Singapore’s help sought to find Sungai Kim Kim pollution suspect

remar nordin The Star 25 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU: Johor police are working with their Singaporean counterparts to track down a man in his 30s in connection with the Sungai Kim Kim chemical waste pollution case.

The man is believed to be the owner of a used tyre-processing company allegedly involved in the pollution incident in Pasir Gudang.

State police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the man was on the wanted list and police were waiting for the Singa­porean autho­rities to arrest him.

He added that seven out of the 11 people detained in relation to the Sungai Kim Kim toxic waste dumping had been released on police bail after investigations revealed that they did not have any relation to the case.

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Malaysia: Rising dengue cases, drying taps and heatwave

rahimy rahim The Star 25 Mar 19;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are having to battle dengue cases on the rise even as they face drying taps from the current heatwave.

Dengue cases have shown a dramatic spike this year – up by about 150% from last year – and besides a change in the virus serotypes that is fuelling the increase, the weather pattern is of no help either.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said changes in weather patterns could have made it easier for the Aedes mosquitoes to breed in stagnant water.

He said that with the hot dry spells sandwiched by short bouts of rain, the mosquitoes’ larvae could hatch more easily.

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Indonesia: Authorities rescue injured orangutan in oil palm plantation in Aceh

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 24 Mar 19;

A team comprising members of the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency, the Human-Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU), the Orangutan Information Center (OIC) and the Wildlife Conservation Center Indonesia Program (WCS-IP) found a female orangutan in Namo Buaya village, Subulussalam, Aceh, on March 19. The orangutan, named Pertiwi by the team, was found near where a different orangutan was found with air rifle pellet wounds on its body.

The head of the Sumatra Lestari Orangutan Foundation (YOSL-OIC), Panut Hadisiswoyo, said Pertiwi was rescued without administering anesthesia since it might harm her vital organs due to her underweight condition.

“Our team managed to rescue the injured orangutan. Her condition is very worrying. Looking at her underweight body, we suspect that she was malnourished,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

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