Threats to Singapore Coast – oil Spills

Oil spills cause not only enviromental damages to coastlines but also economic impacts and potentially threats to food security especially in coast countries like Singapore, where fish farms are found out at sea.

A day after two ships collided in Johor waters, oil patches were found along coastlines in the north-eastern part of Singapore, while an 800m stretch of Changi Beach was closed on Thursday (Jan 5) to clean up the oil spill.

A second fish farm in the affected area also reported fish deaths from the spill, although the authorities said most farms were spared and impact on supply was “minimal”. Nonetheless, some farms have been told to suspend sales, until food safety tests are completed.

When TODAY visited Mr Timothy Ng from 2 Jays Pte Ltd at his farm off the north-western coast of Pulau Ubin, cleaning personnel could be seen working to remove swathes of black oil.

This was “the largest such incident” to hit his 12-year-old farm, which is among those hit with a suspension. A visibly-disappointed Mr Ng said he could not do much with his fish stock now, except to put aerators into the fish cages to pump in fresh air.

“We cannot feed any fish now, since the food will be contaminated, so for now, we will just have to wait and see,” said Mr Ng, adding that “no more than 10kg” of fish had already died due to the oil spill.

His farm has around 10 tonnes of fish and seafood, and four employees.

Source: Todayonline

 

Singapore has ratified Paris Climate Agreement

The Republic on Wednesday (Sep 21) formalised its pledge to fight climate change, with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan depositing Singapore’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

The Paris accord, sealed late last year in the French capital, commits countries to make plans to keep global warming at no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels to try to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Dr Balakrishnan signed the Paris Agreement on Apr 22 together with representatives of 174 other countries. According to a joint media statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) on Wednesday, the ratification is a “further affirmation of our support and commitment for climate action”.

By ratifying the agreement, Singapore formalises its pledge to reduce its emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. MFA said this “pledge builds on our existing commitment to reduce, by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent from the business-as-usual level, which Singapore is on track to meet”.

In July, Singapore released its Climate Action Plan, outlining the various measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-ratifies-paris-climate-agreement-at-un/3145320.html

What are our main actions to meet the pledge?

The Climate Action Plan says this:

Screen Shot 2016-09-24 at 8.39.43 PM.png

Source: https://www.nccs.gov.sg/sites/nccs/files/NCCS_Mitigation_FA_webview%2027-06-16.pdf

What about Copenhagen Accord and the Kyoto Protocol?

Simply put, all these international agreements are similar. The Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Copenhagen Accord (2009) are older agreements for the same purpose of fighting climate change.

However, the most recent Paris Climate Agreement is one that is seen very positively especially in light of the progress in negotiations in Dec 2015.

This Paris agreement is also hailed as a success, with the world’s biggests carbon emitters, USA and China, (finally) ratifying the accord as well – something that was not done in previous agreements.

What does ratification mean? Wasn’t the agreement made in Paris in Dec 2015 already?

The meetings in Paris only had representatives from the various nations coming in to discuss and come to a consensus as to what needs to be done. At the end of the meetings, representatives, upon coming to an agreement, will sign the accord. However, at this point of time, countries do not yet pledge to take action to meet the demands of the accord.

The next few months will see the representatives work with their respective governments to consider steps the country can and will take to meet the needs. Once the government agrees, they then ratify the agreement.

For the Kyoto Protocol, though USA signed the agreement, they did not ratify it.

Corals in Singapore – Wild Singapore and Reef Ecology Lab

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Wild Singapore discusses the rich diversity of wildlife our sunny island has.

See the link above for one post explaining Singapore reefs and an account of the recent mass coral bleaching that has been observed:

Devastating world wide mass coral bleaching was declared in October 2015, eight months before it first happened in Singapore, by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The third global mass coral bleaching event in recorded history, scientists warned it could result in the biggest global coral die-off. The only two previous such global events were in 1998 and 2010, when every major ocean basin experienced bleaching. Singapore’s reefs also suffered mass coral bleaching then.

As bleaching events occur more frequently and closer together, corals have no time to recover. Some scientists believe that continued global temperature rise would lead a point when every year is a bleaching year by around 2030. This may lead to complete global loss of coral reefs by the middle of this century.

Reefs in Singapore.singaporemap

The Reef Ecology Lab also conducts research on the Reefs of SG and the region. Click on the link to see a short description of the SG reefs and their threats – one threat, land recalamation, is quoted below:

The most significant cause of reef degradation in Singapore is sedimentation. Land reclamation, dredging of shipping channels and dumping of earth spoils, have increased the sediment load. Loss of coral reefs to land reclamation have occurred along the southwest coast of the mainland and on several of the offshore southern islands. Increased sedimentation have affected the remaining reefs in two ways:

(1) by causing a slow but steady reduction in live coral cover, and
(2) by reducing the lower depth limit of coral growth on reef slopes.

Surveys since 1986 indicate that live coral cover have decreased by up to 20% on some reefs, although other reefs register no impact. The reduction in sunlight penetration have furthermore reduced the lower depth limit of coral growth. In the 1970s, coral growth extended to 10 m down the reef slope. Today, growth is restricted to 6 m although some coral species still occur at the 8-m depth.

Sources:
1) http://coralreef.nus.edu.sg/singapore.html
2) http://wildshores.blogspot.sg/2016/08/mass-coral-bleaching-in-singapore-why.html#.V-ZrsJN970E

Reactions to zika 


As fear mongering and ignorance sets in, the government steps in with messages and communications to the public to educate them on the disease and possible prevention methods.

Bear in mind how they remind all that “Zika is generally a mild disease…”

Which is something the Singapore vigilantehs highlight :


Zika is not some new mutated strain of virus. It’s been around all along.

Dengue is scarier, and if we can survive dengue being endemic in SG, we can survive this increased incidence of Zika in our tiny island.

We can use this chance though to get people to do the mozzie wipeout a whole lot more regularly. 

Travel advisories and Zika

In the past week, Singapore has seen the emergence and rise of Zika cases. The response from the region is telling… With several countries issuing travel advisories, dissuading potential travellers from visiting.

With the “ongoing transmission of Zika virus” in Singapore, travellers to the city-state should take additional measures advised by health authorities, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in an update on its website on Monday (Aug 29).

For women, this includes “deferring non-essential travel if pregnant, avoiding pregnancy for two months following your return”, the website said.

Source: channelnewsasia