Best of our wild blogs: 24 Apr 19

Punggol beach still alive
wild shores of singapore

Read more!

National Gallery Singapore's roof garden is a living, breathing art project with plants from reclamation sites

Toh Wen Li Straits Times 23 Apr 19;

SINGAPORE - More than 30 plant species that thrive on land reclamation sites are now growing on the rooftop of the National Gallery Singapore.

This is part of a living, breathing art project by Charles Lim, who has been replacing the garden's hedges and ornamental plants with lesser-known species found in Changi, Tuas and the Southern Islands. Most have been transplanted from actual reclamation areas.

Lim, an award-winning film-maker, artist and former Olympic sailor, has been adding plants to the garden since January (2019) in what he describes as an ongoing experiment.

"We didn't know what would work. I'm just going to put the plants here, and if they survive, they survive, and if they don't, they don't," says the 46-year-old artist, who has spent about two decades documenting and studying Singapore's relationship with the sea.

Sea State 9: Proclamation Garden, which launches on Saturday (April 27) and runs till October, refers to the proclamation Singapore's president makes when reclaimed sites are officially declared as state lands. The project is part of the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden commission series.

Read more!

Reclamation works for first phase of Tuas port three-quarters done

Zhaki Abdullah Straits Times 23 Apr 19;

SINGAPORE - Reclamation works for the first phase of the Tuas port are three-quarters complete, with the last of the caissons - 15,000-tonne structures that form wharves - being installed on Tuesday afternoon (April 23).

The installation of the 221st structure - the caissons make up some 8.6km of seawalls at Tuas - puts the construction of the first phase of the mega-port on track to be completed in 2021.

Read more!

Sand mining threatens ways of life, from Cambodia to Nigeria

A global building boom is driving a high demand for sand, and some of it is getting sourced from sensitive river systems that people rely on for traditional uses like fishing.
VINCE BEISER National Geographic 23 Apr 19;

If you were disturbed by the damage done to Cambodian coastal fisheries by the industrial-scale dredging of sand for sale to Singapore, as shown in the new documentary short “The Lost World,” there’s good news: the practice has largely been shut down in Koh Kong, the area featured in the film. The bad news is that environmentally destructive sand mining continues in other parts of Cambodia, throughout Southeast Asia, and in fact around the world.

Since the mid-’00s, fishers in villages in the mangrove-rich estuaries of Koh Kong province have complained that rampant sand mining was wiping out the crabs and fish that provide their living. Many families have had to send members to work in garment factories in the distant capital of Phnom Penh, or have simply moved away. The dredging also threatened endangered native dolphins, turtles, and otters. Much of the sand was sold to Singapore, which uses titanic quantities of the material for its ongoing effort to bulk up its tiny territory with artificial land. The city-state has “reclaimed” some 140 square kilometers of land from the sea since 1965.

Read more!

Malaysia: Civil servants urged to do away with single-use plastics

sarban singh The Star 24 Apr 19;

SEREMBAN: Forget about single-use plastic products. Bring your own food containers and cutlery to work – that’s what the government is strongly encouraging the 1.7 million civil servants to do as it heads towards a zero single-use plastic nation by 2030.

In a directive issued by the Chief Secretary to the Government, all ministries and government agencies have been instructed to hold campaigns to stop the use of such products at their premises and official events.

Among a host of practical ways to achieve the goal, Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar said that using plastic products such as drinking bottles for one time only and then discarding it, must be stopped and replaced with glass ones or jugs.

Read more!

Malaysia: Checks show dirty plastic still being smuggled into Malaysian ports

Khairul Azran Hussin New Straits Times 23 Apr 19;

PORT KLANG: The smuggling of contaminated plastic waste into the country is still ongoing, even though the government has banned the import of such materials last year.

The smuggling activities were unearthed following the discovery of 24 cargo containers at West Port, containing contaminated plastic waste which could no longer be recycled.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the discovery has exposed elements of abuse of power among certain quarters within the nation’s ports.

“All the 24 containers were declared as having ‘clean’ waste. However, further checks showed that they contained prohibited material. We also received reports of containers bearing contaminated plastic waste in North Port as well as in Penang.

Read more!

Indonesia: Police thwart sale of endangered slow lorises "kukang"

Antara 23 Apr 19;

Palembang (ANTARA) - The South Sumatra Provincial Police were successful in thwarting the sale of eight endangered slow lorises, locally termed "kukang", at a traditional market in the provincial capital of Palembang, on Tuesday.

The police also took into custody two suspects, identified by their initials as Sam and Idr, when they were on the verge of selling the endangered animal species, Chief of the South Sumatra Provincial Police's Public Relations Senior Commissioner Supriadi revealed.

Read more!

One million species risk extinction due to humans: Draft UN report

Channel NewsAsia 23 Apr 19;

PARIS: Up to one million species face extinction due to human influence, according to a draft UN report obtained by AFP that painstakingly catalogues how humanity has undermined the natural resources upon which its very survival depends.

The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, CO2-absorbing forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves - to name but a few of the dwindling services rendered by Nature - poses no less of a threat than climate change, says the report, set to be unveiled May 6.

Indeed, biodiversity loss and global warming are closely linked, according to the 44-page Summary for Policy Makers, which distills a 1,800-page UN assessment of scientific literature on the state of Nature.

Delegates from 130 nations meeting in Paris from Apr 29 will vet the executive summary line-by-line. Wording may change, but figures lifted from the underlying report cannot be altered.

"We need to recognise that climate change and loss of Nature are equally important, not just for the environment, but as development and economic issues as well," Robert Watson, chair of the UN-mandated body that compiled the report, told AFP, without divulging its findings.

"The way we produce our food and energy is undermining the regulating services that we get from Nature," he said, adding that only "transformative change" can stem the damage.

Read more!