Best of our wild blogs: 5-6 Jun 19

Some bleaching at Pulau Semakau (North)
wild shores of singapore

Checking up on the reefs at Cyrene
wild shores of singapore

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Let’s not underestimate threat of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases in Singapore

EUGENE K B TAN Today Online 6 Jun 19;

On May 29, a 63-year-old man who lived in Hougang Avenue 1 became the fourth person in Singapore to die from dengue this year. But Singaporeans do not seem to bat an eyelid at the disturbing trend of increasing dengue infections.

More than 4,000 dengue cases have been reported this year, exceeding the 3,285 for the whole of 2018. The number of cases reported each week has been on a steep upward trend, reaching 402 for the week ending June 1.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) anticipates more dengue cases in the warmer months ahead, prompting it to bring forward its annual dengue-prevention programme.

Have we become indifferent to mosquito-borne public health threats? Are there inadequacies with how we are combating the dengue threat?

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SembWaste signs MoU to attract workers and upgrade skills in recycling industry

Cindy Co Channel NewsAsia 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: The first thing one notices when entering the sorting area in SembWaste’s Materials Recovery Facility is the mountain of rubbish made of items such as plastic bags, boxes, tin cans and even a shoe or two.

This is the tipping hall where recyclables from commercial and municipal partners are collected.

The sorting process begins when the truck tips the collected recyclables into a conveyor belt, funnelling them into the next room where orange-jacketed workers wait, assembly line-style.

Accompanied by the rumble of heavy machinery, workers sort the items that come to them on conveyor belts.

Tossing aside rejects such as pillows and shoes, they separate the remaining items into material types and send them on their way.

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PUB to deploy Singapore's first large-scale floating solar panel system by 2021

Channel NewsAsia 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB said in a press release on Thursday (Jun 6) that it intends to deploy a 50 megawatt-peak (MWp) floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Tengeh Reservoir by 2021.

According to PUB, the floating Tengeh system will eliminate the need to emit 28,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year that it is in operation - the equivalent to removing 6,000 cars off Singapore's roads.

When installed, it will be Singapore’s first single large-scale floating solar PV system, and one of the largest of its kind in the world. PUB first tested the systems at Tengeh Reservoir in 2016.

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Singapore researchers find ways to turn trash into building blocks

Vanessa Liu Straits Times 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE - Come 2035, Singapore's one and only landfill, on Semakau Island, is expected to run out of space and the nation's trash might have nowhere to go.

In a race against time to solve this impending crisis, local scientists are trying to come up with alternative uses for the country's burnt rubbish in construction and automobiles.

The idea of using incinerated ash to replace sand and stone in construction is not new, but its application has been delayed because of the risk of toxic heavy metals in the ash leaching into the environment.

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SP Group and Gardens by the Bay launch pilot project to convert waste to energy, biomass

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: SP Group and Gardens by the Bay launched on Thursday (Jun 6) a two-year pilot project to convert waste to by-products that can used within the local attraction.

The smart waste management system involves the use of gasification technology, turning waste produced within Gardens by the Bay into syngas - primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen - as well as carbonised biomass.

The combustion of syngas then produces thermal energy, which is used to heat up water for potable use by F&B outlets within the local attraction.

The carbonised biomass, known as biochar, is a substance which some studies have shown can be used to help the soil retain nutrients better. Gardens by the Bay will be conducting experiments on the usefulness of biochar before making a decision on its usage.

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Malaysia, Johor: 3 elephants found dead, feared poisoned

Bernama New Straits Times 5 Jun 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Three elephants were found dead in Kampung Sri Timur 3, Kluang, Johor, on Tuesday, believed to have been poisoned.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said an initial post-mortem conducted on the animals to identify the cause of death indicated there maybe criminal elements involved.

“Nonetheless, the type of poison imbibed is still unknown as the samples of the liver and kidney of three elephants have to be sent to the Chemistry Department for analysis.

“The results of the toxicology analysis to identify the poison will be known in three months,” he said in a statementtoday.

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Malaysia: Single-use plastic banned in Selangor govt depts

wani muthiah The Star 4 Jun 19;

KLANG: All Selangor government departments and agencies are prohibited from using single-use plastic starting from July 1.

State Environment, Green Technology, Consumer and Non-Islamic Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the move was to promote a healthy and clean environment, as well as counter contamination issues arising from single-use plastic.

“It is also in line with the state government’s efforts to reduce the usage of single-use plastic, especially plastic bags and polystyrene,” Hee said in a statement.

He said the ruling was also in tandem with the Federal Govern­ment’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030 that was launched last year.

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Malaysia: Widespread floods in interior Sarawak

stephen then The Star 5 Jun 19;

MIRI: Widespread floods have inundated numerous settlements in northern and central Sarawak, following heavy rain over the past 24 hours.

Long Busang village in the vicinity of Bakun Dam in central Sarawak is totally submerged in about three metres of water.

At least 1,000 villagers have been evacuated to higher grounds.

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Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon surges to record high

Environmentalists fear 2019 will be one of worst years for deforestation in recent memory
Jonathan Watts The Guardian 4 Jun 19;

Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surged last month to the highest May level since the current monitoring method began, prompting concerns that president Jair Bolsonaro is giving a free pass to illegal logging, farming and mining.

The world’s greatest rainforest – which is a vital provider of oxygen and carbon sequestration – lost 739sq km during the 31 days, equivalent to two football pitches every minute, according to data from the government’s satellite monitoring agency.

Although a single month is too short to confirm long-term trends, May is considered an important guide because it marks the start of the dry season, which is when most burning and other forms of forest clearance are carried out.

Unless the government sends a clear signal it will not tolerate a further acceleration, environmentalists fear there will be an increase in the coming months that could make 2019 one of the worst years for deforestation in recent memory.

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