Best of our wild blogs: 19 May 19

Corallimorphs of Singapore identified!
wild shores of singapore

Awls of Singapore : Part 2
Butterflies of Singapore

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What will it take to kick Singapore's growing multimillion-dollar addiction to bottled water?

Singapore is known the world over for the quality of its tap water. Nonetheless, consumers here still fork out millions of dollars on bottled water every year.
Lianne Chia Channel NewsAsia 19 May 19;

SINGAPORE: The water flowing from Singapore's taps is perfectly safe to drink, but recent research shows that many people still prefer to quench their thirst with bottled water, with demand continuing to grow.

Data from research firm Euromonitor International show that sales of bottled water have been increasing steadily over the years - from S$161.3 million in 2013 to S$179.4 million in 2018. The figure includes sales of all types of bottled water, including still, carbonated, flavoured and what is known as "functional" water, which is enhanced with ingredients such as vitamins.

And this has an impact on the environment, given that most bottled water is sold in single-used plastic containers, very little of which is recycled, according to the Singapore Environment Council.

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Panel formed to articulate youth vision for Singapore in 2025 and create action plan to get there

Joanna Seow Straits Times 18 May 19;

SINGAPORE - Many young people today hope that in six years, Singapore society will be inclusive, compassionate and respectful. They also hope that people will live sustainable lifestyles and enjoy better work-life balance.

These hopes were raised at a three-hour dialogue session on Saturday (May 18) called Youth Conversations. More than 100 young people aged between 16 and 40 participated in the event at The Red Box in Somerset.

Members of a new panel that will lead efforts to articulate young people's vision for Singapore in 2025, and to come up with an action plan to get there, were there to take in their views.

The formation of the SG Youth Action Plan panel was announced on Saturday by Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann, who is co-chair of the panel together with Mr Edward Chia, music and lifestyle company Timbre Group's co-founder and chief executive.

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Hari Raya Bazaar at Our Tampines Hub goes green

Jolene Ang Straits Times 18 May 19;

SINGAPORE - Ramadan is a good opportunity for Singaporeans to build cohesiveness and forge deeper understandings, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Saturday (May 18) evening.

Speaking at the launch of Our Tampines Hub's annual Hari Raya Bazaar, which is into its third edition, Mr Heng said: "I think as we celebrate this event, we can build a deeper understanding and a closer sense of community.

"And this is important not just for our Muslims, but for all races and religions. I'm very happy to see so many people coming together, enjoying each other's company and getting to know one another better," said Mr Heng, who is also MP for Tampines GRC.

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Malaysia: Getting tough on polluters

sim leoi leoi The Star 19 May 19;

PETALING JAYA: Stiffer penalties of up to a RM5mil fine will be imposed for environmental offences under a new Act that is currently being drafted.

A trust fund is also being set up to reward whistleblowers and for effective enforcement. For now, public feedback on what would constitute the new law is being sought.

These come in the wake of the recent toxic waste dumping of Sungai Kim Kim, which at its peak sent over 4,000 people to hospitals in Pasir Gudang. Besides this, the recent controversy over illegal imported plastic waste has also prompted work on the new Act.

Among others, it will see hefty fines for offences across the board, much heavier than those imposed under the current Environmental Quality Act 1974.

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Malaysia: Save what’s left of Melaka’s forests, group tells state govt

The Star 19 May 19;

MELAKA: An environmental group has called on the Melaka government to conserve the remaining 3% of its forest reserve following news that fresh contracts have been awarded for sand dredging activities at a 200ha forest reserve in Jasin.

The Organisation for the Preservation of Natural Heritage Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said the state government should stop giving excuses to justify their move to award contracts for sand dredging activities.

“There has been no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report carried out before the contracts to the six companies were given.

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Malaysia: Ban on plastic straws in Selangor eateries from July 1

edward rajendra The Star 18 May 19;

A BAN on plastic straws will take effect beginning July 1 in all eateries in Selangor.

The state government is imposing the ban with the aim of eliminating single-use plastics, which pollute the seas and endanger marine life.

State Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said Selangor would prohibit eateries from habitually providing customers with single-use plastic drinking straws.

“We will instruct all eateries, be they restaurants or neighbourhood coffeeshops to stop providing plastic straws with every drink.

“But the eatery is allowed to give a plastic straw to a customer upon request,” he said after visiting the Taman Greenwood Ramadan bazaar in Batu Caves.

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Malaysia: Illegal entry of waste banned

Syed Umar Ariff New Straits Times 18 May 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Garbage illegally exported to Malaysia will be shipped back to their countries of origin following amended annexes under the Basel Convention, which
generally require for the entry of plastic scraps to obtain permission from importing countries.

The change under the Basel Convention is expected to significantly reduce plastic waste entry into Malaysia, which became one of the world’s dumping grounds after China’s ban on solid waste import on Jan 1 last year.

The ban covered 24 types of waste, including low-grade polyethene terephthalate and unsorted paper.

Prior to the ban, China reigned as the major processor of at least half of global waste exports.

The amended annexes would see greater control over transboundary plastic waste movement beginning 2021, when signatory countries completed aligning local laws with the annexes.

Malaysia has been a party to the Basel Convention since 1993 alongside 186 other countries.

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Thailand: Nearly half of coral off Nai Yang damaged, killed by bleaching

PHUKET: Specialists from the Department of Natural Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) have discovered that some 10% of coral off Nai Yang Beach are dead because of bleaching while 30% more damaged.
Waranya Prompinpiras The Phuket News 18 May 19;

The discovery was made during a joint inspection by the Phuket Marine National Park Operation Center 2 and Sirinath National Park on Thursday (May 16).

“Officers from the Phuket Marine National Park Operation Center 2 and Sirinath National Park checked the condition of coral at the depth of 1.5-5 meters off Nai Yang beach. We found that 10% of Staghorn Coral, Hump Coral, Cauliflower Coral and Mushroom Coral were killed by bleaching. Some 30% are damaged by bleaching, but still alive,” an officer from the Phuket Marine National Park Operation Center 2 told The Phuket News.

Still the forecast is optimistic due to changing weather conditions.

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