Best of our wild blogs: 21 Nov 17



17 Dec (Sun): FREE workshop just for youths on IYOR outreach!
Singapore Celebrates our Reefs 2018

28-29 Nov: Sustainable Foods Summit
Green Drinks Singapore


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Phase 2 of deep tunnel sewer system designed to last 100 years

Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 20 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE: The second phase of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) will incorporate innovative features in order for the infrastructure to last 100 years, national water agency PUB said on Monday (Nov 20).

The features include embedded fibre optic cables for remote monitoring; air jumpers to prevent odorous air from escaping into the surroundings; and additional linings to protect against corrosion from bacteria and other micro-organisms.

This was announced at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday to commemorate the beginning of construction for DTSS Phase 2, which aims to create a network of 40km of deep tunnels and 60km of link sewers.

When completed in 2025, the 100km of tunnels and sewers - equivalent to the length of about 1,100 football fields - will extend the deep tunnel system to cover the western part of Singapore, including the downtown area and major upcoming developments such as Tengah Town and Jurong Lake District.

“The construction of the conveyance system for DTSS Phase 2 will pose a new set of exciting challenges for us, as we look forward to dig deep to navigate through a variety of ground conditions in the Jurong Formation as well as tunnel beneath existing underground infrastructure and even under the sea”, said the director of DTSS Phase 2 Yong Wei Hin, at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said planning for DTSS started in the 1990s "with a recognition that this is a costly but critical investment that we needed to make to strengthen our long term water security to benefit Singaporeans for generations to come”. DTSS Phase 2 is a S$6.5 billion project, with deep tunnels and link sewers alone costing about S$2.3 billion.

The DTSS Phase 2 conveyance system comprises the South Tunnel, which will transport domestic used water, the Industrial Tunnel for non-domestic used water and associated link sewers, which will largely run under the Ayer Rajah Expressway, as well as underwater.

The tunnels in phase two will connect to the existing ones in the first phase, which is currently serving eastern Singapore. When the entire project is completed in 2025, the whole island will be served by the DTSS.

The DTSS is the nation’s way of collecting and transporting used water from the whole of Singapore to three water reclamation plants - Changi, Kranji and soon, Tuas – for treatment.

The water is then treated and purified to become NEWater, or discharged into the sea.

INNOVATIVE FEATURES FOR A LONGER LIFESPAN

According to the plans, the deep tunnels will be lined with two layers to protect against corrosion, particularly from bacteria and other micro-organisms, as well as gaseous fumes in the harsh sewage environment. For underwater tunnels, there is an additional waterproof membrane to ensure water-tightness.

Fibre optic cables will also be embedded in the concrete lining so as to enable remote monitoring of the tunnels’ structural integrity without the need for physical inspection. PUB said this is especially important when there are construction works in the vicinity.

In the event a physical inspection or repairs are needed, gates will be lowered down vertical shafts to temporarily isolate that part of the tunnel. This makes it dry and safe for workers to carry out inspections. During this time, the incoming used water will be diverted to the link sewer network, before it rejoins the tunnel downstream.

DTSS phase 2 will include innovative features to ensure a 100-year design life.

The second phase of the DTSS will be the first project in Singapore to use air jumpers, whose aim is to push odorous air rising from the deep tunnel back down. The gas will then flow to Odour Control Facilities - which are located away from residential areas - treated, and then released. The air jumpers will also help cut down the number of OFCs.

Once DTSS phase 2 is completed, the existing water reclamation plants at Ulu Pandan and Jurong, as well as pumping stations, will be shut down. This will enable about 214 football fields of land to be freed up for development, PUB said.

“The DTSS is a more cost-effective and sustainable way of meeting Singapore’s used water needs and securing NEWater supply for the future, than simply renewing and expanding the existing conventional used water infrastructure”, added Mr Yong.

It’s also one way to deal with the challenges posed by climate change, like prolonged dry seasons and unpredictable weather patterns, said Mr Masagos.

“It is therefore critical to augment our water sources by reclaiming water so that it can be used again and again, in an endless cycle”, he said, adding that Phase 2 of DTSS will further boost Singapore’s NEWater supply.
Source: CNA/mz


Construction begins for S$6.5 billion, 100km superhighway for used water
SIAU MING EN Today Online 20 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE — Construction work began on Monday (Nov 20) on a 100km underground “superhighway” to transport used water to water reclamation plants, which when completed in 2025, allows 83ha of land to be freed up.

This second phase of the deep tunnel sewerage system (DTSS), estimated to cost S$6.5 billion, will serve the western part of Singapore, including the downtown area and upcoming major developments such as Tengah Town and Jurong Lake District.

It will run largely under the Ayer Rajah Expressway, starting from Keppel Road, crossing undersea at Tuas Bay, and end at the upcoming Tuas Water Reclamation Plant, where a new NEWater factory will be built.

The sloping deep tunnels of the DTSS convey used water from homes and industries by gravity to various water reclamation plants. The used water is then treated and purified into NEWater or discharged into the sea.

When completed, the deep tunnels in the second phase will be connected to those built in the earlier phase — completed in 2008 — to serve the eastern part of Singapore, and the public sewer network.

Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, held at the first tunneling shaft for this phase of the project in Penjuru Road, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said Singapore’s NEWater supply will be boosted to up to 55 per cent of the water demand here, when the DTSS is fully up and running with the completion of the second phase.

Currently, NEWater meets 40 per cent of the Republic’s water demand.

Mr Masagos called the DTSS a “key strategic asset” in enhancing Singapore’s water security. Singapore has also experienced unpredictable weather patterns and can expect dry seasons to worsen with climate change.

“It is therefore critical to augment our water sources by reclaiming water so that we can use it again and again, in an endless cycle,” he added.

The existing water reclamation plants at Ulu Pandan and Jurong, and the intermediate pumping stations can also be progressively phased out, once the second phase is completed.

Combined with the land freed from phase one of the project, the DTSS will halve the amount of land taken up by used water infrastructure, from about 300ha in the 1990s to 150ha in the long term.

The total size of the land freed up for higher value development is equivalent to about 214 football fields.

In response to TODAY’s queries on redevelopments on land freed up by the first phase of the DTSS, a spokesperson of the Singapore Land Authority said the site formerly occupied by the Seletar Water Reclamation Plant has been turned into Seletar Aerospace Park.

Where Kim Chuan Water Reclamation Plant stood is being used for industrial development — Defu Industrial City — and for the development of Integrated Construction and Prefabrication Hubs, she said.

The parcel that Bedok Water Reclamation Plant sat on is zoned for industrial and utility uses, she added.

Director of DTSS Phase 2 Yong Wei Hin told reporters that tunneling over 100km of land in Jurong could be challenging, given the geology of the area. There are a lot of sedimentary rock and cavities, which are not ideal for tunneling, he noted.

Nineteen Tunnel Boring Machines will be used to dig at depths of between 35m and 55m below ground and under the sea, which is deeper than some of the underground MRT lines.

Advanced technologies will also be used in the operations and maintenance of the tunnels, said a spokesperson from national water agency PUB.

For instance, the deep tunnels will be lined to protect them against corrosion from bacteria and other micro-organisms. Sections undersea will also have an additional water-tight membrane. These features are expected to make the tunnels last 100 years.

Along the tunnel above ground, devices called air jumpers will be installed to push odorous air rising from the tunnel to odour control facilities downstream and away from residential areas.

Singapore’s water comes from four “national taps”. About half is imported from Johor, Malaysia under two bilateral agreements. The first one expired in 2011 and the second, signed in 1962, will lapse in 2061.

Singapore has had dry weather and Johor has also experienced water supply issues in recent years.

The rest come from NEWater, local catchment areas and desalination. By 2020, the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, the first large-scale desalination plant that can treat both seawater and freshwater, will begin operations. In that same year, a fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island will also open.


Work starts on $6.5b deep underground tunnels to transport used water, freeing up land above for redevelopment
Samantha Boh Straits Times 20 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE - Phase two of construction for a $10 billion underground sewage superhighway, one of the world’s largest, started on Monday (Nov 20).

The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System, which will be the conduit for all used water islandwide, will boost water recycling and free up space in land-scarce Singapore.

When completed in 2025, the sloping infrastructure of giant pipes will harness gravity to channel used water in the western parts of the island to a new water reclamation plant in Tuas.

Phase 2 of the project by water agency PUB, which costs $6.5 billion, will also free up an additional 83ha of land - about the size of 116 football fields - currently housing the Ulu Pandan and Jurong Water Reclamation Plants, about 70 pumping stations and many more sewage treatment plants.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli marked the start of construction at a ground-breaking ceremony held in Penjuru Road in Jurong East.

He said: "We have experienced how unpredictable weather patterns can be, and we expect dry seasons to worsen with climate change. It is therefore critical to augment our water sources by reclaiming water, so it can be used again and again, in an endless cycle."

DTSS Phase 2 will boost Singapore’s Newater supply, he added.

DTSS will eventually channel all of the island’s used water to water reclamation plants in Changi, Kranji and Tuas, where it will be treated and purified to either produce Newater, or be discharged into the sea.

The tunnels, which sit under the Republic's railway network and above its electricity grid, slope downwards towards the three plants as they are dug at a gradient.

Phase 1, which cost $3.4 billion, was completed in 2008. It serves the eastern parts of Singapore, channelling used water to the Kranji and Changi Water Reclamation Plants.

DTSS Phase 2 will stretch 30km across the western part of Singapore, starting under Keppel Road, at 35m below ground, following the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) all the way to Tuas Road, where it will be 55m below ground. It will also include a separate 10km tunnel in Tuas for industrial used water.

PUB has appointed five contractors to design and build the tunnels, including home-grown company Koh Brothers Eco Engineering.

The system will also comprise 60km of link sewers, which will convey used water from existing sewerage network to the DTSS.

The deep tunnels and link sewers alone will cost about $2.3 billion.

The 30cm thick tunnels in DTSS Phase 2 will be constructed with several safety features.

They will be lined with a special concrete and high density polyethylene (a type of plastic), which protect against corrosion, particularly from bacteria and other microorganisms, and the gaseous fumes from sewage. Sections under the sea will have an additional waterproof membrane layer.

Fibre optic cables will be embedded in the concrete lining, which will be used to monitor the structural integrity of the tunnels remotely, and detects things such as cracks.

Related Story
PUB awards first set of contracts to build Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (Phase 2)

There will be 18 shafts, which will allow human access. Each will come with gates that can be lowered to isolate certain sections of the tunnels for repair works.

Air jumpers, essentially giant fans, within the tunnels will be used to direct sewage fumes to four odour control facilities.

With these features, the tunnels are expected to last 100 years.

Mr Yong Wei Hin, director of DTSS Phase 2 at PUB, said the construction "will pose a new set of exciting challenges for us".

"There are a lot of sedimentary rocks and cavities along the way, which is not ideal for tunneling," he added.


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Malaysia: Johor water pollution - Factory pays heavy price for folly

mohd farhaan shah The Star 20 Nov 17;

KLUANG: The Johor Department of Environment (DOE) has suspended the licence of a processing factory for three months after it caused ammonia pollution at the Sembrong Barat dam here.

State Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the notice was given after the factory failed to manage its waste well.

Besides suspending the factory licence, the Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) will be imposing a maximum compound of RM250,000 on the factory, he added.

Ayub said this after conducting a surprise spot check together with various enforcement agencies at Batu 3 along Jalan Batu Pahat here yesterday.

Ayub also said the state government would take stern action against any quarter found to cause pollution in Johor rivers.

Meanwhile, SAJ Ranhil production and distribution operation manager Elias Ismail said about 200,000 users have had their water supply restored in stages since yesterday morning.

This is the fourth time and the second within a span of a month that water in Johor has been affected by ammonia pollution.

Earlier this month, the state government also ordered a poultry farm and a chicken manure processing factory in Layang-Layang to stop operation after high ammonia content was found in Sungai Johor that caused a shutdown of water supply to some 1.8 million consumers.


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Malaysia: Man arrested for having wildlife meat at restaurant

The Star 21 Nov 17;

KOTA KINABALU: A restaurant owner has been arrested for unlawful possession of wildlife meat in her premises in Telupid yesterday Monday.

Chang Chew Ha, 57, was nabbed by wildlife officials at about 1.45pm during a raid.

Wildlife officials also seized several types of meat believed to be deer, wild cats, fox, wild boar and freshwater turtle (labi-labi) in the raid.

On another matter, firemen responded to a call from Tuaran Hospital about a mercury spill.

Meanwhile, a Frenchman broke his legs after falling about 3m from a waterfall in Kionsom, Inanam, near here.

The man was believed to have slipped and landed on some rocks in the 4.30pm incident.


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Malaysia: Kemaman NGO moving mountains to save endangered river terrapin

ADRIAN DAVID New Straits Times 19 Nov 17;

CHUKAI: Each year, the eggs of river terrapins, a critically-endangered freshwater turtle species, are saved from human consumption.

Credit should go to non-governmental organisations like the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS), without which the species would probably be extinct.

The river terrapin, known scientifically as batagur affinis, is listed as a Totally Protected species in the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

A total of 300 terrapin hatchlings were recently released into Sungai Kemaman through a collaboration between the Society and villagers of Kampung Pasir Gajah.

TCS co-founder Dr Chen Pelf Nyok said that members of the Pasir Gajah village welfare and security committee (J3K) assisted in the symbolic release, which was held for the sixth year running.

“This year, a total of 760 eggs were collected for incubation, compared to 348 eggs collected last year.

“The (rise) was due to increased cooperation from the villagers of Kampung Pasir Gajah, who have been working very hard to protect river terrapin eggs at two river banks along Sungai Kemaman,” she said.

Dr Pelf Nyok added that a total of 440 river terrapin hatchlings were produced, and all hatchlings were reared for three months by a local villager hired by the project.

“Eventually, we managed to release a total of 300 river terrapin hatchlings into Sungai Kemaman,” she said.

As part of the terrapin release programme, TCS and the Pasir Gajah villagers organised several activities that included aerobics, a public awareness exhibition, sukan rakyat, a blood donation drive and a health screening.

Dr Pelf Nyok said several non-governmental organisations and turtle conservation enthusiasts participated in the exhibition.

They included the the Malaysian Nature Society, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia and the Juara Turtle Project of Pulau Tioman, Pahang.

“In peninsular Malaysia, river terrapins have been found in Kedah, Perak and Terengganu. No such species has been found in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Dr Pelf Nyok.

She added that the river terrapin conservation project in Kemaman was initiated in 2011, with the collaboration of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, TCS and the Kampung Pasir Gajah’s J3K.

“To date, 4,523 eggs have been saved from human consumption, and 2,701 river terrapins have been released into Sungai Kemaman.” she said.


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Malaysia: 17 mln turtle hatchlings released to sea

Borneo Post 21 Nov 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The RM1 million allocation for turtle conservation under the State Budget 2018 reflects the State Government’s seriousness in conservation efforts, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

Masidi said an estimated 17 million turtle hatchlings have been released to the sea since the government became involved in turtle conservation.

He said this at a press conference after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and Sabah Parks Board of Trustees yesterday.

Masidi said the signing of the MoU will enable Sabah Parks to receive continuous guidance in its publications from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, besides enhancing the cooperation between the two bodies in terms of the quality and types of books produced.

He said the cooperation between DBP and Sabah Parks have been established since 2004. To date, eight books authored by Sabah Parks staff have been published under the guidance of DBP.

The two bodies are also in the process of producing an encyclopedia on Sabah Parks that will enlighten readers on the biodiversity, conservation efforts and uniqueness in all the parks.

Masidi hoped that the natural treasures under Sabah Parks could be shared with Malaysians and even the international community through the publication of such books.

He said Sabah Parks was among the most successful government agencies not only in book publications, but also in terms of efforts to expand its activities on land and sea.

Sabah Parks is actively expanding the scope of marine parks to be gazetted, the latest being the Tun Mustapha Park in Kudat which is the largest marine park in Malaysia with an area close to one million hectares.

To date, Masidi said seven percent of the seas in Sabah, equivalent to two million hectares, have been gazetted as marine parks.

“Our goal is to increase (marine parks) to 10 percent as recommended by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),” Masidi said.

All these efforts were undertaken to achieve balance in progress and environmental conservation, he explained.

“This is clearly reflected in the (State) Budget 2018 by the Chief Minister, that we want conservation efforts and physical development to be carried out in parallel. Meaning to say that we can be a progressive state but also maintains the beauty and wonder of the environment in Sabah,” Masidi said.

The MoU was signed between Sabah Parks Board of Trustees chairman Datuk Seri Dr Tengku Zainal Adlin Bin Tengku Mahamood and DBP deputy director-general (policy) Datuk Haji Abang Sallehuddin bin Abg Shokeran.

Also present were Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministers Datuk Pang Yuk Ming and Datuk Kamarlin Ombi, and Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais.

Sabah Parks, Dewan Bahasa sign MoU on marine park publications
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 20 Nov 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will expand its means of showcasing its marine parks through special publications, state Culture, Tourism and Environment minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said on Monday.

He was speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sabah Parks and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP).

"Both have been working closely since 2004 and have published eight books (of high quality).

"(Currently), they are finishing an encyclopaedia on the biodiversity of the parks, and the agency's efforts in conserving the area," he added.

Previous publications by DBP and Sabah Parks include Rafflesia Bunga Terbesar Di Dunia by Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais in 2004; Lotong Merah by Dr Maklarin Lakim; and Biologi dan Ekology Rusa Sambar Sabah by Fred Tuh – the latter two of which received the Chief Minister's Awards.

Also present at the MoU signing was assistant state Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming; Sabah Parks chairman of Board of Trustees Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mohamood Jamili; and DBP deputy director-general (policy) Datuk Abang Sallehuddin Abang Shokran.

Masidi added that Sabah Parks has done a good job of overseeing the parks under its purview.

Sabah has so far gazetted about two million hectares of marine park, which is equivalent to seven per cent of the state’s sea area.

Sabah Parks has also released about 17 million baby turtles out to sea.


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Indonesia Should be Proud of Coral Reefs Health Index

NetralNews 20 Nov 17;

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM – The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) affirms the Indonesian Coral Reef Health Index is very useful for the management of coral reefs and other related ecosystems.

LIPI through the Center for Oceanographic Research (P2O) launched the Indonesian Coral Reef Health Index as an important standard for managing the world's largest archipelago reefs.

Head of Task Implementer of LIPI Bambang Subiyanto, said this index can determine whether Indonesia’s coral reef ecosystem is healthy or not. Only a few countries in the world already have a coral reef health index so Indonesia as one of the few countries in the world to have such indexe, should be proud of this.

Head of LIPI P2O Dirhamsyah said the index is based on data collected intensively by P2O since more than 20 years ago, at the start of the Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (COREMAP) in 1999.

In 2017, LIPI was entrusted to continue the Phase III COREMAP Program which will end in December 2020. The program is financed by the World Bank and the GEF and will be more characterized by institutional capacity building activities in the field of research and monitoring of coastal ecosystems (reefs coral, seagrass and mangrove), as well as data and information management capacity, both nationally and regionally.

"The results achieved from COREMAP activities from phase I to phase III are now being utilized by stakeholders, among others, to update data and information on the health condition of coral reefs and sea grasses throughout Indonesian waters that are conducted annually," said Dirhamsyah, Monday (20/11/2017).

Meanwhile, in addition to the launch of the Indonesian Coral Reef Index, LIPI P2O also released various products, such as the launch of three books entitled Mangrove in Indonesia, Absorbing Carbon, and 5 Decades of LIPI in Jakarta Bay. The books written by the researchers of LIPI P2O are the result of research conducted by LIPI in the last few decades.

For example, the book titled 5 Decades of LIPI in Jakarta Bay is the summation of all LIPI research activities for more than five decades conducted in Jakarta Bay.


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Best of our wild blogs: 20 Nov 17



Singapore got sea turtles! Learn more at Rushan's talk on 24 Nov (Fri)
wild shores of singapore

Butterfly of the Month - November 2017
Butterflies of Singapore

Giant African Snail (Lissachatina fulica) @ Upper Bukit Timah Road
Monday Morgue


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NParks razed vegetated plot in Bukit Batok for public safety but some experts are concerned

Audrey Tan Straits Times 19 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE - A once-vegetated plot of land opposite the Bukit Batok Nature Park was last month razed by the National Parks Board (NParks) over public safety concerns.

The plot of land had been covered with Albizia trees, which are considered vulnerable to storms and more prone to falling due to their brittle wood structure and shallow roots. NParks is now replanting the plot with native plants.

But the move has drawn concerns from conservationists, who worry that a blanket removal of vegetation could result in rarer species being cut down too, and also have an impact on wildlife.

Environmental consultant Tony O'Dempsey said: "I support the removal of potentially dangerous trees and I applaud the move to immediately replant the areas.

"However I would like to see a more analytical approach to tree removal where trees are assessed and removed only where necessary and with care so as not to damage the remaining vegetation...This is particularly important in areas such as this, where native animals such as the colugo, civet cat and flying squirrels are likely to be affected."

NParks' group director of streetscape Oh Cheow Sheng said decisions to remove trees are made in the interest of public safety after careful consideration.

In the Bukit Batok case, the Albizia trees with a treefall zone overlapping the road were removed together with a smaller number of dead trees and those in poor health. Three big, sturdy and healthy trees growing in the area were retained.

A treefall zone refers to the area that will be affected by a tree when it falls, said botanist Shawn Lum, a senior lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University's Asian School of the Environment. He noted that a falling tree may also cause collateral damage.

If a tree is, say, 30m tall, its potential treefall zone will be a circle of at least 30m around the tree in all directions, said Dr Lum, who is also president of the Nature Society (Singapore). "Factor in the extra distance a tree may fall or slide to if it is on a slope, or the fact that a falling tree may knock over other trees in its path...then a conservative radius of a treefall zone may be considerably wider than the height of the tree."

The importance of tree maintenance in Singapore was highlighted after a 40m-tall tembusu heritage tree in the Singapore Botanic Gardens fell and killed a woman in February.

St George's Church at Minden Road recently felled a 30m-tall tembusu tree on its premises after an arborist deemed it unhealthy. The church decided to have the tree inspected following the February incident.

Asked if NParks had taken more steps to reduce the chance of trees falling since the February case, Mr Oh said that the board has had a comprehensive tree management programme in place since the early 2000s.

"With the continued strengthening of our tree management regime over the years, the annual number of cases of fallen trees and branches has been reduced from about 3,000 in the year 2000 to about 800 cases in 2016," he said.

The Albizia, one of the fastest-growing species of trees in the world, can reach a height of more than 40m - about 11 storeys.

However, its rapid growth means that lower branches are shed quickly as they get shaded out by the branches above, said Dr Lum. "Given how massive the branches can be, falling Albizia branches are a real danger in areas used by people, in parks, for example."

However, Dr Lum said Albizia trees could be important to wildlife such as eagles that roost or nest only in very tall trees.

"While there is a real need to manage Albizia where people and property are at excessive risk, allowing Albizia, perhaps even encouraging it, in certain circumstances could be part of a holistic, ecologically aligned strategy for vegetation and wildlife management in Singapore" he said.


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Malaysia: Another Johor water treatment plant shuts down over ammonia pollution

Rizalman Hammim New Straits Times 19 Nov 17;

KLUANG: SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd (SAJ) was forced to shut down another water treatment plant on Saturday due to ammonia pollution, less than a month after closing three other plants in the state for the same reason.

The Sembrong Barat water treatment plant in Kluang was shut down for about 18 hours after the raw water source at the Sembrong Dam was found to contain an excessive amount of ammonia.

"The closure affected about 45,000 account holders, or about 225,000 consumers in Kluang," said SAJ.

The source of the ammonia pollution has been detected to the effluent retention pond of a palm oil mill in Jalan Batu Pahat, here.

State Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the effluent from the pond flowed into Sungai Amran, which is a tributary of Sungai Sembrong.

"This caused the ammonia level at the Sembrong Dam to rise to 20 parts per million (PPM), which caused SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd to shut down the plant," Ayub told reporters after visiting the mill.

He said the Department of Environment (DoE), under the Environment Quality Act 1974 issued a notice for the suspension of the mill's operation licence for three months effective immediately.

"The mill is also facing a maximum compound of RM250,000 by the Johor Water Regulatory Authority (BAKAJ) under the Johor Water Enactment. BAKAJ has also frozen the mill's application to extract underground water," said Ayub.

He said the mill would have to make repairs and improvements to the retention pond before the suspension can be lifted.

"Hopefully, this will be a lesson to the mill as well as for other industry players," said Ayub.

Also present were BAKAJ director Mohd Riduan Mohd Ali and officers from the Johor DoE and SAJ Ranhill.

Meanwhile, SAJ Ranhill general manager of production and distribution Elias Ismail said the Sembrong Barat water treatment plant was closed at about noon on Saturday after excessive levels of ammonia was found in the raw water source from the Sembrong Dam.

The plant resumed operations at about 5.30am this morning.

"Water supply to the affected areas has been restored in stages. We expect the water supply to recover fully by tomorrow morning," said Elias.

Earlier this month, three water treatment plants along Sungai Johor, namely the Semangar, Johor and Tai Hong plants, were forced to suspend operations due to ammonia pollution, which was traced to an illegal fertiliser processing farm.

The closure affected two million consumers in Johor Baru, Kulai and Kota Tinggi.


Another Johor water treatment plant shuts down due to ammonia pollution
Channel NewsAsia 19 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE: Johor water supply provider SAJ Ranhill has been forced to shut down its fourth water treatment plant in under a month due to ammonia pollution.

In a statement on Saturday (Nov 18) night, the company said 45,000 account holders in Kluang would be affected by the closure of the plant in Sembrong Barat. This is equivalent to 225,000 consumers, the New Straits Times cited SAJ as saying.

Around 1.8 million residents in Johor Baru were affected after the company shut down operations in three plants in late October due to the high levels of ammonia found in their raw water from Johor River.

Following this, a chicken farm and fertiliser factory found to be polluting the river were closed by the state government.


Ammonia pollution hits Johor water plant, Singapore not affected
TRINNA LEONG The New Paper 20 Nov 17;

Water in Malaysia's Johor state has been hit by another round of ammonia pollution which shut down a treatment plant and cut water supply to 225,000 consumers.

Utility firm SAJ Ranhill said in a statement on Saturday night that raw water in the Sembrong dam in Kluang district was found to have high ammonia content and that it had stopped operations at its Sembrong West water treatment plant.

The plant resumed operations yesterday morning, the company told The Straits Times, and water supply would be restored to affected consumers in stages starting from yesterday evening.

A palm oil processing factory was identified as the source of the contamination, after the Department of Environment conducted a site visit with Johor State Health, Environment, Education and Information Executive Committee chairman Ayub Rahmat.

According to national news agency Bernama, Mr Ayub said the factory's operating licence was immediately suspended for three months to allow the factory operator to conduct cleaning works and ensure factory waste is not discharged into a nearby river.

Mr Ayub said he has also asked Johor's water regulator Badan Kawalselia Air Johor to impose the maximum compound fine of RM250,000 (S$81,435) on the factory operator.

Singapore was not affected by the plant's closure because the Sembrong dam is not part of the Johor River catchment from where Singapore draws some of its water.

This latest case of water pollution comes weeks after two million consumers in Johor Baru, Kulai and Kota Tinggi were affected by water cuts after three water treatment plants along the Johor River, also operated by Ranhill, were forced to suspend their operations over ammonia pollution. 
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AUDREY TAN IN SINGAPORE

Ammonia pollution shuts down another water treatment plant in Johor
Trinna Leong Straits Times 19 Nov 17;

KUALA LUMPUR - Water in Malaysia’s Johor state has been hit by another round of ammonia pollution which shut down a treatment plant and cut water supply to 225,000 consumers.

Utility firm SAJ Ranhill on Saturday (Nov 18) night said in a statement that raw water in the Sembrong dam in Kluang district was found to have high ammonia content and that it had stopped operations at its Sembrong West water treatment plant.

But the plant resumed operations on Sunday morning, the company told The Straits Times, and water supply will be restored to affected consumers in stages starting from this evening.

“Kluang consumers will get their water supply in stages starting late this evening,” said Elias Ismail, SAJ Ranhill’s general manager for production and distribution on Sunday.

A palm oil processing factory was identified as the source of the contamination, after the Department of Environment conducted a site visit with Johor State Health, Environment, Education and Information Executive Committee chairman Ayub Rahmat.

According to national news agency Bernama, Datuk Ayub said the factory’s operating licence was immediately suspended for three months to allow the factory operator to conduct cleaning works and ensure factory waste is not discharged into a nearby river.

Mr Ayub said he has also requested Johor’s water regulator Badan Kawalselia Air Johor to impose the maximum compound fine of RM250,000 (S$81,436) on the factory operator.

This latest case of water pollution comes weeks after two million consumers in Johor Baru, Kulai and Kota Tinggi were affected by water cuts after three water treatment plants along the Johor River, also operated by Ranhill, were forced to suspend their operations over ammonia pollution.

The pollution was later traced to an illegal fertiliser processing plant and poultry farm operating by the river in Kluang.

Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said water cuts have become a norm in the district, with various reasons given for rationing, including upgrading, pollution and scheduled maintenance.

“At the moment the level of water stored in the water reservoir is insufficient to cope with demand during down time,” said Mr Liew in a post on his Facebook page.

“With proper planning, even if problems exist at the supply source, it would not disrupt normal usage,” he added.

Singapore was not affected by the plant’s closure because the Sembrong dam is not part of the Johor River catchment from where Singapore draws its water.

Additional reporting from Audrey Tan in Singapore


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Climate change campaigns on the cards for Singapore in 2018

Audrey Tan Straits Times 18 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE - The Republic is ramping up efforts to tackle climate change on a new frontier: public perception. This will supplement its existing suite of strategies that affect mainly industries.

On Thursday (Nov 16), Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said at a climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, that Singapore will be designating next year as the Year of Climate Action, to instil awareness among citizens and inspire them to act.

On what this would entail, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (Mewr) told The Straits Times that there will be outreach efforts to "bring into the national consciousness the impacts of climate change and the urgency of reducing our carbon footprint to build a sustainable future for generations to come".

The ministry spokesman did not give details of these efforts, but said: "We will also be working closely with the community, businesses, schools and non-government organisations to rally them to this cause."

The Government's move to increase awareness about climate change among people was welcomed by green groups such as the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and the Singapore Youth for Climate Action.

"Climate change is arguably the most important issue of our time," said SEC executive director Jen Teo. "It is important that everyone, including businesses and individuals, understands what climate change is and supports the Government's strategy to combat it."

Climate change refers to the human-induced warming of the Earth, due to deforestation and the excessive consumption of resources that result in the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

SEC’s Ms Teo said the council will be working closely with the ministry on the issue of climate change. Campaigns could include "experiential education", and involve people taking action through reducing waste, or participating in urban farming, or learning more about consuming home-grown produce, for example. Eating local could reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fewer resources are needed to transport goods from farm to market.

The amount of waste in Singapore has grown from 5.02 million tonnes in 2005 to 7.67 million tonnes in 2015, which is why many campaigns in Singapore are looking to reduce this.

Ms Nor Lastrina Hamid, co-founder of the Singapore Youth for Climate Action and #LepakInSG, a website which lists environmental events in Singapore, said campaigns in Singapore's Year of Climate Action could be aligned with regional or international events.

For example, the International Coral Reef Initiative - a worldwide campaign which advocates the conservation of marine habitats - has declared that 2018 will be the third International Year of the Reef, she said.

"The Singapore marine community has come together this year to organise outreach activities for the entire year, and I think that is amazing. To help raise awareness for the International Year of the Reef, #LepakInSG has a young team organising a workshop in December, and planning a series of workshops for 2018. Moving forward, the #LepakInSG team and the marine community might want to consider highlighting the climate change aspects more."

Warming sea surface temperatures resulted in Singapore's corals suffering from the longest bleaching incident on record last year.

Miss Pamela Low, also from the Singapore Youth for Climate Action, said campaigns should relate to the daily lives of Singaporeans, and allow them to take action.

"Content has to be bottom-up for people to feel confident and empowered that they can make a difference to climate change... It starts with bringing our own containers for takeaways. It starts with sorting your trash, turning your air-con (temperature) up a few degrees," she said.

"Campaigns have to show Singaporeans how their action adds up collectively. The (discussions over a possible) plastic bag charge forced people to think about plastics and trash. Similarly, we need more conversations and solutions that reflect on global and local case studies."

During the climate conference in Bonn, Mr Masagos said raising awareness about climate change among people will supplement Singapore's other climate change resilience strategies.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, Singapore has pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, come 2030. Emissions intensity is the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to achieve each dollar of gross domestic product. Singapore has also pledged to stop any increase to its greenhouse gas emissions by around 2030.

The nation has implemented a slew of strategies to achieve these targets. These include enhancements made this year to its Energy Conservation Act, which aims to get large polluters to be more energy efficient, and plans to implement a carbon tax from 2019.

The Republic has also pumped money into research for innovations that can help the island-state develop sustainably. It is banking on solar power to reduce its reliance on natural gas, and has invested in ways to better harness energy from the sun, by piloting floating solar systems, for example.

A Mewr spokesman said: "The Government alone cannot tackle climate change; it requires the collective action of all stakeholders - businesses, communities, non-government organisations and individuals. Every positive action counts, and can help to reduce our carbon footprint."


Analysis: Softer approach to climate change could bridge gap between awareness and action
Audrey Tan Straits Times 18 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE - The Republic is embarking on a new approach to tackling climate change. By designating the year 2018 as its Year of Climate Action, Singapore wants to raise awareness among people through campaigns, in hopes that it would spur them to act.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced this at an international climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, earlier this week.

This approach is considerably "softer" than Singapore's current suite of regulatory strategies, which affect mainly industries. Amendments to the Energy Conservation Act, for example, slap harsher punishments on large polluters for being energy inefficient.

But the soft touch is crucial, especially when it comes to changing mindsets.

Climate change is a topic that is heavy politicised and debated in countries such as the United States. But many Singaporeans appear apathetic about it, even against a backdrop of increasingly frequent and more extreme weather events, which scientists say is symptomatic of climate change.

For instance, this year's pre-Budget feedback conducted by government feedback unit Reach showed that issues such as family support, job security and employment prospects were topics that gripped the nation's attention instead.

That is not to say that Singaporeans are totally unaware about climate change, though.

In 2013, the National Climate Change Secretariat did a public perception survey of 1,000 respondents. It showed that about seven in 10 people were concerned about climate change.

The trick, then, is to narrow the gap between awareness and action.

The way to do this, says Miss Pamela Low from the Singapore Youth for Climate Action, is to get people to feel "confident and empowered that they can make a difference to climate change".

Climate change refers to the human-induced warming of the Earth, due to deforestation and the excessive consumption of resources that results in the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

It may appear daunting and inexorable to many people, but the fact is that every individual can play a part, by simply reducing the amount of resources they use.

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources would not be drawn to reveal details on the types of outreach activities that would be conducted next year, saying only that it would work with a range of stakeholders on the topic.

But non-governmental groups such as the Singapore Youth for Climate Action and the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) already have some ideas, ranging from campaigns to talks in schools.

However, Ms Nor Lastrina Hamid, co-founder of the Singapore Youth for Climate Action, believes there is room for something bolder.

"With regard to the tactics employed in Singapore so far, I think most have been keeping it mild by organising talks, workshops, or online campaigns. I think there are opportunities to expand this to other forms of tactics or... forum theatre, or mass street action. The citizen action on climate change can be a bit more engaging and entertaining to the larger crowd," she told The Straits Times.

Indeed, conventional campaigns, such as the Earth Hour campaign by the World Wide Fund for Nature, have been ongoing in Singapore for years. Their successes at spurring action, however, may be limited.

For instance, Singapore has done poorly in recycling, with a domestic recycling rate of 21 per cent in 2016, even though there are recycling bins under every one of the 10,000 or so Housing Board blocks here.

In comparison, Taiwan has a household recycling rate of 55 per cent. Germany's recycling rate for municipal waste is 64 per cent and that of South Korea is 59 per cent, according to statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

So, Singapore has some ways to go at spurring climate action, and more creative campaigns could be just the thing. With the new focus on outreach, however, 2018 could just be a year of change.


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Singapore receives first import of live pigs from Malaysia in 18 years

Channel NewsAsia 18 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE: The first shipment of live pigs from Malaysia in 18 years arrived in Singapore on Saturday (Nov 18), said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

Imports of live pigs and raw pork from Malaysia were suspended in 1999 due to a Nipah virus outbreak. Since then, Singapore's only source of live pigs has been from Pulau Bulan in Indonesia.

Even though there have been no reports of new Nipah virus outbreaks in Malaysia, the import suspension stayed because of Foot Mouth Disease (FMD).

However, Sarawak in East Malaysia was declared free of FMD in 2010 by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

AVA then approved frozen pork from Sarawak in 2015 and earlier this year, it gave the go-ahead for live pigs from a farm in the state.

"The import of raw pork from other parts of Malaysia is not permitted as they are not free of FMD," said AVA. "Only processed pork products from approved establishments in Malaysia that have been heat-treated to inactivate FMD are allowed to be imported from Malaysia."

Singapore's pork supply comes from 24 countries that have been accredited by the AVA to export frozen pork products. Six countries, including Australia, the US and Canada, are allowed to export chilled pork to Singapore.

With the approval of imports from Sarawak, Singapore now has two sources of live pigs. They are slaughtered locally and sold as chilled pork, said AVA.

"Source diversification is a key food security strategy. Purchasing from diverse sources provides a crucial buffer against potential short-term overseas food supply disruptions from any one source," it added.
Source: CNA/gs


First shipment of live pigs from Malaysia in 18 years arrive in Singapore
VICTOR LOH Today Online 18 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE — The first shipment of live pigs from Malaysia in 18 years arrived in Singapore on Saturday (Nov 18), providing the Republic with a second source of live pigs, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said in a statement.

Imports of live pigs and raw pork from Malaysia was suspended in 1999 due to a Nipah virus outbreak. Since then, Singapore had only received imports of live pigs from from Pulau Bulan in Indonesia.

Following an assessment of Sarawak’s animal and veterinary public health programme, the AVA approved local pork processor and distributor OJJ Foods Pte Ltd to import the live pigs from a Sarawak farm this year.

This comes two years after the ban of frozen pork from the Malaysian state was lifted in 2015.

The pigs from Malaysia are lifted out of the vessel for loading onto the truck on Saturday (Nov 18). Photo: AVA

In a news release on Saturday, the AVA said source diversification is a key food security strategy. “Purchasing from diverse sources provides a crucial buffer against potential short-term overseas food supply disruptions from any one source,” the authority added.

Managing director of OJJ Foods, Mr Ting Puong Huat, 61, said his company has been working with the farm in Kuching for several years. “We worked closely with the farm to make sure that they understand Singapore’s requirements. This took many years to get to that level,” he said.

“The pigs are of very good genetics and lean. The colour and the taste are suited for local consumers,” Mr Ting added.
 Meanwhile, the World Organisation for Animal Health has also recognised Sarawak as a Foot Mouth Disease (FMD) free region since 2010.

However, the ban of raw pork from other parts of Malaysia still stays due to the presence of FMD in these areas, which may jeopardise Singapore’s FMD-free status and adversely impacting export trade.

Only processed pork products from approved establishments in Malaysia that have been heat-treated to inactivate FMD are allowed to be imported from Malaysia.

Singapore’s pork supply comes from 24 countries that have been accredited by the AVA for frozen pork products, and 6 countries — including Australia, Canada and USA — can export chilled pork to Singapore. Indonesia (Pulau Bulan) and now Malaysia (Sarawak), are accredited to export live pigs to Singapore. These pigs are slaughtered locally and sold as chilled pork.

Over 90 per cent of food supply in Singapore over the past two years was imported from some 170 countries worldwide.

Singapore receives first import of live pigs from Malaysia in 18 years
Tiffany Fumiko Tay Straits Times 18 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE - Singapore received its first shipment of live pigs from Malaysia in 18 years on Saturday (Nov 18), after a farm in Sarawak became the only approved source in the country to export live pigs to the Republic.

Its addition makes it Singapore's second source of live pigs, after Pulau Bulan in Indonesia. Live pigs are slaughtered locally and sold as chilled pork.

The import of all live pigs and raw pork from Malaysia has been banned since 1999, when an outbreak of the Nipah virus, which is carried by pigs, killed 100 pig farmers in Malaysia and an abattoir worker here.

In a statement on Saturday, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said while there have been no reports of new Nipah virus outbreaks in Malaysia, the suspension remains otherwise in place.

This is because raw pork from other parts of the country are not free of foot and mouth disease, the AVA said. Processed pork products from approved establishments in Malaysia must be heat-treated to inactivate the disease in order to be permitted for import.

Foot and mouth disease is a contagious livestock disease that does not have any impact on food safety. However, the import of animals or meat from affected regions jeopardises Singapore's foot and mouth disease-free status, and may adversely impact export trade, the AVA said.

Sarawak was recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health as a foot and mouth disease-free region in 2010.

The AVA subsequently assessed the East Malaysian state's animal and veterinary public health programmes and approved it to export frozen pork in 2015. This year, it approved a farm there to export live pigs to Singapore.

"Source diversification is a key food security strategy. Purchasing from diverse sources provides a crucial buffer against potential short-term overseas food supply disruptions from any one source," the AVA said.

There are currently 24 countries accredited by the AVA to export frozen pork products to Singapore, including Australia, Austria and Brazil. Six other countries, including Canada and the United States, are accredited to export chilled pork to Singapore.

Singapore imported 116,700 tonnes of pork last year (2016), with Brazil, Indonesia and Australia making up the top three sources. Live imports from Indonesia meanwhile accounted for 20,300 tonnes the same year.

Sources of livestock, meat and eggs, and their products must be accredited as these products may carry animal and food-borne disease of public health and trade importance, the AVA said.

Food imported from accredited sources is also subjected to import requirements and routine surveillance, inspection, and sampling.


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