Best of our wild blogs: 3 May 19

5 May: Registration opens for FREE St. John's Island tour on 9 Jun (Sun)
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Join us as volunteer educators at Festival of Biodiversity!
News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

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Singapore shoppers given tool to choose products using ethical palm oil

Michael Taylor Reuters 2 May 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new online shopping tool gives Singaporeans the option of buying products made using ethical palm oil, a non-profit behind the scheme said on Thursday, as it looks to tackle the region’s haze fires.

Launched by the Singapore-based People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM Haze) and advertising agency Havas Group, EcoCart is a Google Chrome ‘plugin’ that allows online shoppers to identify items that use sustainability produced palm oil.

As well as flagging items that do not contain sustainable palm oil, the tool suggests similar products that do.

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Malaysian minister criticises 'sensationalised' signs on palm oil at Singapore Zoo

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 2 May 19;

SINGAPORE — A Malaysian government minister has used a speech in Singapore to take a swipe at what she called “sensationalised” signs at Singapore Zoo that deal with palm oil production and deforestation.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok called for solidarity among the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) on the issue, in a keynote address at the 6th Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources, a forum organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, a think-tank.

She said that Malaysia is working hard to create a sustainable palm oil industry and “it is sad to hear that sentiments against palm oil have also taken root in Singapore”.

“For example, the Singapore Zoo has on several occasions created sensationalised displays on palm oil and deforestation at its orangutan’s enclosures,” she told the audience at the Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

“These damage the image of palm oil producing countries within this region despite progressive efforts towards sustainability and wildlife conservation. In this case, Singapore Zoo acted possibly in haste and (is) reflecting emotions expressed by many ill-informed visitors.”

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Joint effort needed to fight climate change: Masagos

Minister suggests three new focus areas to combat challenges
Cheryl Teh Straits Times 3 May 19;

Dealing with the impacts of climate change and fundamentally transforming the way we produce and consume is an urgent global issue that calls for collective and integrated action, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday.

This strong global and regional effort must come from all segments of society, he said.

"The world is at a critical turning point. We must adopt a more integrated approach to the way we develop our economy, cooperate with other countries in the region and globally, and work together in a society to build a sustainable and enduring home for all. Only then can we safeguard our planet for future generations," he added.

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Singapore at ‘moderate risk’ of severe haze in 2019: Report

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 2 May 19;

SINGAPORE — There is a "moderate risk" that Singapore will see a severe haze this year, similar to the one last seen in 2015.

The forecast is based on an inaugural haze outlook report by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA).

The think-tank launched the Haze Outlook for Southern Asean Summary Report on Thursday (May 2) at the 6th Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources Conference, held at the Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

The full report will be available on SIIA’s website later this month.

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Brunei, Singapore enter agreement to set up state-of-the-art sea bass hatchery

Azlan Othman Borneo Bulletin 3 May 19;

BRUNEI Darussalam and Singapore signed a multi-million dollar contract to set up a world class hatchery and nursery for the production of juvenile barramundi (Asian sea bass) in the country for supply to offshore fish cages yesterday.

Two agreements were signed by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism with Barramundi Asia (B) Sdn Bhd as part of the contract: the Sea Licence Agreement and Land Lease Agreement.

Member of the Board of Directors of Barramundi Asia Andrew Kwan pointed out that sea bass is a well-loved fish in Southeast Asia, and there is a natural demand for the fish.

“As the global population grows rapidly from seven to nine billion, between now and 2030, we found out that (the need for) good animal protein will also be there. Sea bass is primarily for the Southeast Asian market,” he said.

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Malaysia: Harsher punishment under new environmental law - Minister

New Straits Times New Straits Times 3 May 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The government aims to replace the Environmental Quality Act 1974 with a new act, which would see greater enforcement powers and stiffer punishments meted out to those who pollute the environment.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the new law would focus on boosting enforcement and legislative powers, given that current laws were insufficient to tackle environmental issues.

She said the bill was being drafted and once completed, could resolve environmental pollution issues, such as that in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang, Johor, by providing heftier punishments.

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Indonesia sees drop in hotspots due to peatland restoration efforts, says agency

Vanessa Lim Channel NewsAsia 2 May 19;

SINGAPORE: The number of hotspots in restored peatlands in Indonesia has dropped by nearly 93 per cent since 2015, on the back of restoration efforts.

The figure was revealed on Thursday (May 2) by the head of Indonesia's peatland restoration agency Nazir Foead, on the sidelines of the 6th Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources.

Indonesia in 2016 launched an initiative to restore peatlands as part of efforts to tackle forest fires that sparked one of the region's worst haze crisis the year before.

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Indonesia: South Sumatra forest fire task force identifies five fire-prone areas

Antara 2 May 19;

Palembang (ANTARA) - The South Sumatra Forest and Land Fire Task Force has identified five fire-prone areas, the districts of Ogan Ilir, Ogan Komering Ilir, Musi Banyuasin, Muara Enim, and Banyuasin.

In Palembang on Thursday, commander of the South Sumatra Forest and Land Fire Task Force Task Force, Col. Arh Sonny Septiono, said that the five regions were their priorities because they had extensive peatlands.

"Basically, we are looking at all regions, but of course we will prioritize certain areas, given the limitations of existing personnel and equipment," said Colonel Arh Sonny Septiono.

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