Best of our wild blogs: 7-9 Jun 19

Fiery seagrasses at Beting Bemban Besar!
wild shores of singapore

Terumbu Bemban: corals are well, seagrasses look good
wild shores of singapore

Celebrating World Oceans Day with my Ocean Heroes
Mei Lin NEO

‘200: a natural history’ Exhibition Launch
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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DPM Heng Swee Keat offers ideas to building a sustainable future

Tang See Kit Channel NewsAsia 7 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: A sustainable future for the world can be achieved by deepening international partnerships, enabling all segments of society and developing next-generation talent.

This is according to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was speaking at the FutureChina Global Forum on Friday (Jun 7) held as part of the Ecosperity Week 2019.

“The world is facing major challenges in sustainable development,” said Mr Heng, who is also Singapore’s Finance Minister.

“If not properly handled, these challenges could potentially unravel the progress that the world has made over the past few decades.”

In particular, taking action against climate change and pursuing economic development are the areas in which more needs to be done.

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Restaurants and malls among 1,600 premises to cut use of disposables in new NEA campaign

Channel NewsAsia 8 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: More than 1,600 premises, including restaurants, malls, hotels, supermarkets and schools, will take steps to encourage consumers to reduce the use of disposables such as plastic bags and takeaway containers.

They come under 59 companies and organisations that have joined the National Environment Agency's (NEA) latest campaign launched on Saturday (Jun 8), to get people to cut down on waste and choose more sustainable alternatives.

Companies will implement initiatives such as providing only reusable straws, offering discounts to customers who bring their own cup for drinks, removing plastic bottled water in meeting rooms and reducing the use of cling wrap in kitchens.

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Fast fashion, fast trash: Industry needs to arrest carbon impact, find sustainable solutions

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 6 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — The fashion industry is guilty of generating carbon emissions more than the aviation and shipping industries combined.

To create a more sustainable industry, it needs to work closer with researchers to implement solutions which can be scaled up more quickly than before.

This was the conclusion on Thursday (June 6) by panellists at the Ecosperity Conference here, held in conjunction with the inaugural Ecosperity Week at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The event is expected to be attended by 2,000 global business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and academia to discuss issues on the environment and sustainable development.

Ms Ariel Muller, the Asia-Pacific managing director at Forum for the Future, a non-profit organisation promoting sustainability, highlighted findings by the United Nations which showed that the fashion industry contributes to 10 per cent — or 1.2 billion tonnes — of carbon emissions.

This is more than the combined total for the shipping and aviation industries.

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Thirsty Singapore taps into innovation to secure its water future

Michael Taylor Thomson Reuters Foundation 7 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE, June 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every day after his morning run, Adam Reutens-Tan washes under a half-full camping shower hooked on the ceiling of his bathroom.

The modified shower, which uses just four litres of water, is one of several ways the Reutens-Tans family conserve water as part of a countrywide push to cut Singapore's daily consumption by 8% by 2030.

The nation currently uses 141 litres per person each day - about enough for two typical eight-minute U.S. showers, according to Harvard University statistics.

Singapore, a steamy, low-lying island city-state, is the fifth most likely country in the world to face extremely high water stress by 2040, according to the U.S.-based World Resources Institute.

And it is hardly alone.

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Phasing out plastic straws helps the environment, but more needs to be done, say observers

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 8 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: The move by more than 270 food and beverage (F&B) outlets to eliminate plastic straws represents an important move in the right direction, but more work is needed for Singapore to tackle its output of plastic waste, industry observers told CNA.

The local outlets in question will phase out plastic straws by Jul 1, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced on Monday (Jun 3).

They will be removing straws completely from their premises, providing them only on request or for specific medical reasons, WWF said in a media release. The move is part of the PACT (Plastic ACTion) initiative by WWF, which is supported by the National Environment Agency and Zero Waste SG.

Ms Melissa Lam, who started Bamboo Straw Girl, a business selling biodegradable straws, suggested that the move represents a "step" rather than an "achievement".

“It’s got a lot of publicity, a lot of countries have done this and we’re quite slow to the game," she said. "It’s not going to be the be all and end all of the problem.

"This is not an achievement, it’s just a step. It is small but it catches the attention."

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Singapore’s Sky Farms Are Transforming The Agriculture Sector

Marvie Chorawan-Basilan Business Times 6 Jun 19;

Singapore's cost-efficient sky farms are changing the way people in the city-state view farming and agriculture as a whole. Lab-grown and in-building products are being promoted to help achieve the ultimate goal of producing 30 percent of Singapore's total food by 2030.

According to Voice of America, the basic principle in sky farms is to grow fish, vegetables, and other crops and seafood on top of the city-state's skyscrapers. Singapore has an estimated 5.6 million citizens, but the local agriculture sector only produces 10 percent of food products for Singaporeans.

Among the challenges that the government is faced with are population growth and climate change. With more people moving to the city-state, the biggest dilemma is space for growing crops.

"Whenever I talk about food security in Singapore, I tell folks don't think land - think space. Because you can go upwards and sideways," agriculture professor at Nanyang Technological University, Paul Teng, noted.

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Research progress to lead to improvement in tropical forecasts

Erland Kallen Straits Times 8 Jun 19;

The science of meteorology has made tremendous progress over the last 20 years. Today, the quality of a five-day weather forecast (a weather prediction five days ahead) is about the same as a three-day forecast was 20 years ago. If we assign the value 100 to a perfect forecast, the five-day forecasts today would get about 93 marks. This is particularly true for the mid-latitudes, both in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Over the tropics, forecasts have also improved, but there are still some outstanding issues, such as the prediction of localised thundery showers. For large-scale features such as tropical cyclone tracks and monsoons, the forecasts have become much better - five-day forecasts today are as good as two-day forecasts were 20 years ago.

But regional areas of rain showers and thunderstorms are hard to predict, even a day or two ahead. Thunder showers have a much shorter lifespan than large-scale monsoon winds or tropical cyclones.

But we are now seeing research progress that will improve tropical forecasts. This stems from advances in weather prediction science. Weather scientists rely on observations of temperature, winds, pressure and moisture as well as physics. Using the laws of physics together with supercomputers, scientists are able to set up computer models that calculate the evolution of the weather well ahead of the actual weather events occurring.

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Singapore and other cities have to think outside the box in food production


By 2050, two in three persons in the world will be urbanites. Yet today, only 5 to 10 per cent of food is grown in cities. With climate change projected to decrease global food yields by 25 per cent, cities will need to step up to produce food.

As competition for space becomes even more acute, how can we think outside the box to integrate food production in our cities?

A good starting point is to examine how technology is creating new spaces to produce vegetables, meat and even milk in urban spaces.

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Malaysia: Rangers trying to reunite baby elephant with mother

muguntan vanar The Star 9 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) rangers are trying to reunite a baby Borneo pygmy elephant, which strayed into a plantation in Tawau, with its mother.

The elephant calf was found within the estate’s management compound at about 6.30am yesterday.

The rangers rushed to the plantation after being notified by the management.

The health of the calf, which is just weeks old, is being assessed by WRU veterinarians who are trying to determined if it needs care.

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Malaysia: ‘Illegal trade in bear parts posing threat to animal’

The Star 9 Jun 19;

PETALING JAYA: Widespread illegal trade in bear bile and gall bladder for traditional medicine across Malaysia is potentially a serious threat to wild bears, says TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network.

Traffic South-East Asia senior communications officer Elizabeth John said a 2015 survey of 365 traditional medicine shops across Malaysia, found 48% claimed to sell bear gall bladders and medicinal products containing bear bile.

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Malaysia: All out to protect the exotic animals

clarissa chung The Star 9 Jun 19;

PETALING JAYA: Legislation to ban online advertisements on the sale of endangered animals may soon be introduced under a proposal to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim says this is because currently there are no legal provisions which expressly forbid the advertising of exotic pets on social media channels.

Perhilitan, he said, would be proposing these amendments via the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry and it is likely to be tabled by year’s end.

A regulatory impact analysis prepared by Perhilitan in April 2019 stated that a special provision must be in place to clamp down on online advertisements on the sale of wildlife.

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Malaysia: Fading blips of Sibuti River fireflies

CHANG YI The Borneo Post 9 Jun 19;

The fireflies will come out to illuminate the display trees along the riverbank at night.

IT was definitely a night to remember for the seven of us who went on a two-hour river cruise up the Sibuti River to survey and study fireflies.

The day started ominously with an overcast sky. Rain-laden clouds, building up on the horizon, soon released their ponderous load and blew up a storm from Miri to Bekenu-Sibuti.

Part of the team comprising Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) leader Musa Musbah and his vanguard group were already out of coverage range as they converged in Kuala Sibuti to conduct a briefing.

We, the support team from Miri, decided to proceed, braving the heavy rain and hoping for the best. The dark skies were anything but promising, dumping more rain onto the road, making it very slippery.

But the drencher did not throw a damper on the survey. It remained on target to document the fireflies of Sibuti River before they wax a distant memory.

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Malaysia: Bans alone won't reduce plastic usage

Bernama New Straits Times 9 Jun 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) should get their hands dirty and not depend on bans alone to get people to reduce their plastic use, said the presidents of two local environmental groups.

Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia (PEKA) president, Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil, told Bernama: “The government needs to take the crucial step and get to the root of the problem, which is taking action against factories that produce single-use and non-biodegradable plastic.”

In this way, throwaway plastic will not be easily attainable and the environment will benefit, said Shariffa, while recommending the use of steel, bamboo and paper products instead.

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Malaysia: 62 Malaysian companies hold permits to import plastic waste

Bernama New Straits Times 8 Jun 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 62 Malaysian companies currently hold approved permits (AP) to import and process plastic waste.

The permits are issued by the National Solid Waste Management Department (NSWMD) within the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

In July last year, the Ministry announced a three-month suspension for the issuance of permits following the incident of contamination in Kuala Langat, Selangor, believed to have been caused by a factory processing plastic waste illegally.

NSWMD deputy director (Facilities and Import Permit Unit) Wemi Kalsuna Katerun said all the 62 companies were being continuously monitored to ensure they abide by stipulated regulations.

Stern action, including the revocation of licence, would be taken if any of the companies were found to have violated the regulations pertaining to the permits.

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Malaysia: Alarm as drifting ocean rubbish begins converging on Sipadan

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 7 Jun 19;

SEMPORNA: Sipadan Island, among the few places on earth which provides an unforgettable experience for scuba divers, has not been spared from the blight of man-made floating trash currently polluting the world’s oceans.

Sipadan Island Park and Tun Sakaran Marine Park manager Boni Antiu said that a clean-up of waters off the isolated island in November yielded up to 60kg of rubbish on the beach and 2kg underwater.

“The trash found under the water line was not only (drifting) in the waters of dive sites, but also stuck on corals.

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Malaysia: Fondness for lemang one reason why pitcher plants are becoming extinct, claims Mardi researcher

The Star 7 Jun 19;

SERDANG (Bernama): The pitcher plant (periuk kera in Malay) has a hot topic lately because of the popularity of lemang periuk kera.

Nature lovers and conservationists have expressed their concern over the use of these unique carnivorous plants to prepare lemang – a glutinous rice delicacy served during Hari Raya Aidilfitri – and they claim that the practice is causing the plants to become extinct.

There is an estimated 170 species of the pitcher plant worldwide, which belongs to the Nepenthes genus and is known for its characteristic "pitfall trap" – consisting of a deep-cupped cavity or pitcher filled with a liquid that can digest small insects that fall into it.

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Indonesia: Jellyfish sting several dozen tourists on Gunung Kidul beaches

Antara 6 Jun 19;

Gunung Kidul (ANTARA) - Several dozen tourists spending their Eid holiday on the beaches of Gunung Kidul district, Yogyakarta, were on the receiving end of stings from jellyfish.

Surisdiyanto, one of the local SAR officers in Baron, reported that until 14.00 p.m. local time, 94 tourists were stung by jellyfish in some beaches in the area, specifically in Sepanjang Beach, Watu Kodok Beach, Krakal Beach, Drini Beach, and Kukup Beach.

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Indonesia: Security officers rescue endangered animal in West Sumatra

Antara 8 Jun 19;

Lubukbasung, W Sumatra (ANTARA) - Security officers, deployed for securing the 2019 post-fasting festivities at the Agam District Police Station, West Sumatra, rescued a slow loris, or nyticebus coucang, in Lubukbasung Sub-district on Friday (June 7) night.

Commander of the Simpang Gudang Security Post Police Inspector Nofriandi confirmed here on Saturday that a rare and protected animal was rescued while roaming around the security post.

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