Best of our wild blogs: 26 May 19

Celebrating World Rainforest Day 2019 Singapore
Flying Fish Friends

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New MRT line for northeast S’pore will benefit underserved areas: Analysts

DARYL CHOO Today Online 26 May 19;

SINGAPORE — A new rail line to connect Singapore’s northeast to its south would not only be possible but a step in the right direction, as it would plug gaps in underserved areas and maybe even rekindle talks about a third link to Johor, transport analysts said.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in its Land Transport Master Plan 2040 on Saturday (May 25), that it is studying the feasibility of a new line that could serve residents in Woodlands, Sembawang, Sengkang, Serangoon North, Whampoa, Kallang and the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront development.

Speaking to reporters at the launch event, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said that the master plan represents the Government's commitment “to deliver the idea of 20-minute towns and 45-minute cities”.

“The key thing that is going to allow us to do that is the expansion in our rail infrastructure,” he added.

If and when the new rail line is completed, it could serve more than 400,000 households, and commuters in the northern region would have their travel time to the city centre cut by 40 minutes, LTA said.

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40 species potentially new to Singapore discovered in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve survey

Channel NewsAsia 25 May 19;

SINGAPORE: More than 40 species potentially new to Singapore have been discovered during a comprehensive survey of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, according to a National Parks Board (NParks) media release on Saturday (May 25).

In total, around 200 species new to the nature reserve were listed during the survey.

Of these, more than 30 species of spider and 10 species of beetle are potentially new to Singapore. Some may also be new to science, said NParks.

These include two new types of armour-plated spiders - the Paculla bukittimahensis, named after Bukit Timah and a type of jumping spider with white and gold scales - as well as a species of stick insect.

Researchers also found records of more than 160 plant species not previously listed in the nature reserve.

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Clean meat - the next big thing in Singapore’s push towards agriculture?

Singapore’s new agri-food innovation park should focus on seizing new opportunities, say RSIS’ Paul Teng, Asia BioBusiness’ Andrew Powell and Beanstalk Agtech’s Rob Hulme
Channel NewsAsia 26 May 19;

SINGAPORE: Would you eat a burger that doesn’t use meat?

Not only are plant-based alternatives sprouting in restaurant menus in Singapore, there seems to be more demand for them.

Local burger chain, Fatboy, for example recently launched an “Impossible” menu made with Impossible Food’s plant-based meat to long queues and rave reviews online.

California-based Impossible Foods is just one of the many companies growing plant-based meat in labs. These foods, also known as “clean” or “cellular”, are increasingly popular, driven by concerns around the sustainability of current meat production systems, both in terms of animal ethics and environmental impact.

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, these trends present huge opportunities for businesses keen to venture into the food industry.

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Small businesses bear the brunt in Malaysia’s war against single-use plastic

Fadza Ishak Channel NewsAsia 26 May 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Visit any Ramadan bazaar during the fasting month in Malaysia and one will notice a common feature: food and drinks are all packed in single-use plastic.

Be it thirst quenching beverages or mouthwatering rendang, traders deftly shove the packed items into thin, flimsy plastic bags and hand them over to shoppers. It is easy and convenient.

In general, Malaysia has achieved some success in cutting down single-use plastic, especially in terms of how fewer plastic bags are now being used in supermarkets.

Penang was the first state to introduce the no free plastic bag campaign for all days at supermarkets in 2011. In fact, the state government is mulling over a blanket ban on all single-use plastic.

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Thailand: Coral bleaching situation begins to improve

NNT 26 May 19;

Bangkok – Jatuphorn Burusphat, Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), says a recent inspection of the coral in Thailand’s national marine parks has shown an improvement on the bleaching situation in many areas.

It was found that most coral bleaching in 51 areas in the Andaman Sea and 72 areas in the Gulf of Thailand has started to improve due to the arrival of the rainy season, which decreases sea temperatures. Most of the affected corals have begun to recover but are still pale.

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