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Plant Protection Society (Singapore)

S3, 14, Science Drive 4 #05-01, Science Building 3 Singapore 117543

Registered 15 Mar 2004

      Water

     We reproduce an article from the Singapore Environment News Issue Number 7 June 2000.

  Singapore and Malaysia Committed to Improving Water Quality in the Straits of Johor

  The Malaysian Minister for Science, Technology and the Environment, Datuk Law Hieng Ding, was in Singapore on 5 to 6 May 2000 at the invitation of Singapore Environment Minister, Mr Lee Yock Suan.  Datuk Law's visit to Singapore was part of the Annual Exchange of Visits between the environment ministers of the two countries ) a tradition started in 1979.

  In their brief bilateral meeting, the Ministers reviewed the work carried out by their senior officials under the ambit of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment.  The Ministers also had a frank exchange of views on other regional environmental issues of common concern.

  One key outcome is the agreement on a common set of water quality descriptors for the Straits of Johor.  The water quality in the Straits would be graded as good, moderate or poor based on the measurements of six parameters. These parameters are dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids, total organic carbon, oil and grease, ammoniacal-N and faecal coliform counts.  The descriptors would indicate if the water would be suitable for recreational activities.

  The Ministers also noted that both countries would reduce pollution loads into the Straits of Johor.  While Singapore is proceeding with its Deep Tunnel Sewerage System project to divert sewage from the three sewage treatment works located in the northern sector of Singapore, Malaysia plans to clean up its rivers in Johor, Sungei Skudai and Sungei Segget.

  Besides the water quality in the Straits of Johor, the Ministers also reviewed the work carried out in controlling vehicular emissions.  They noted that the proportion of smoky vehicles plying the Causeway had reduced gradually over the years since controls were initiated in 1991.  The Ministers also exchanged views on other environmental concerns including the regional forest fires and
haze issue.

  Datuk Law was accompanied by his Deputy Minister and senior officials from the Ministry.  While in Singapore, Datuk Law and his delegation also participated in the 14th Annual MOSTE-ENV Friendly Games, a tradition that has helped to build rapport between Ministers and staff from the two Ministries.

     NEWS SNIPPETS

     2006

 

     - Scenic Changi Point coastline opens to the public

 

     2005

     - Singapore's first desalination plant for water supply opens

 

Smoking ban to be extended to hawker centres, coffeeshops & entertainment outlets

"The ban at hawker centers and coffeeshops will take effect from 1 July 2006, while the ban at entertainment outlets will start on 1 July 2007...

"The smoking ban at coffee shops will come into effect on 1 Jul 06. Smoking will be banned within the indoor refreshment areas (IRA) of coffeeshops. However, coffeeshop operators may designate up to 20% of the seats in their outdoor refreshment area (ORA) as a smoking corner..."

More.....

      - Pulau Ubin conservation & management plans launched

 

      - 17,300 graves in Choa Chu Kang Cemetery to be exhumed

Monday with the Editor: Second-hand smoke in public places

"Just last month, in a small shopping centre in Hougang, I saw someone approaching a teenager who was puffing away in the air-conditioned lobby of the place, just outside a lan-gaming shop. When he told the young man not to smoke there, the boy retorted, 'I like it, leh!'..."

More.....

 

AIDS Epidemic - 311 new cases in 2004: Dr Balaji Sadasivan

"...We do not know the reasons for the sharp increase of HIV in the gay community. An epidemiologist has suggested that this may be linked to the annual predominantly gay party in Sentosa - the Nation Party -which allowed gays from high prevalence societies to fraternize with local gay men, seeding the infection in the local community. However, this is a hypothesis and more research needs to done.

"The reported new cases are only the tip of the ice-berg. In total, we have more than 2,000 HIV/AIDS patients. But for every AIDS patient we have diagnosed, there are possibly 2 to 4 undiagnosed patients with HIV in Singapore. That means there could be, anywhere between 4,000 to 8,000, undiagnosed HIV patients in Singapore..."

More.....

     - Smoking ban to cover more public places from 1 Oct 2005

     2004

     - Suspension of poultry imports from Malaysia

     2003

     - PM GOH Chok Tong launches NEWater on 21 Feb 2003

     - Water Issue: Foreign Minister's replies in Parliament on 25 Jan 2003

     - Water issue is about sanctity of agreements, not about price alone

     2003

 

A 23-year-old woman jogger was sexually assaulted on one of MacRitchie Reservoir's forest trails yesterday morning. She was found naked, except for her jogging shoes, by three other runners. (Straits Times 1 Jul 2003 3)

  Property management company DTZ Debenham Tie Leung has been ordered to pay S$76,035 to the state as compensation for the loss of the Hopea sangal tree that it chopped down last year. The company was also fined S$8,000 for illegally felling the tree, which was more than a century old. The tree is believed to have been the last of its kind here. (Straits Times 25 Mar 2003)(H9)

  Newater started flowing into the reservoirs yesterday and could reach homes in three to six months' time. As of yesterday, two million gallons a day, or 1 per cent of consumption, will be blended with raw water in the Bedok, Kranji and Upper Seletar Reservoirs. By 2011, it will be 10 million gallons a day, or 2.5 per cent of consumption. By then, 55 million gallons will be made daily at Bedok, Kranji, Seletar and Ulu Pandan. At the launch of the Bedok Newater Plant yesterday, PM GOH Chok Tong said that by 2011, when the 1961 Water Agreement expires, Singapore will not need to renew it. By 2061, when the 1962 Agreement expires, we will be totally self-sufficient, if there's no new water agreement with Malaysia. (Straits Times Saturday 22 Feb 2003)(1)

     2002

 

  Singapore currently uses 1.4 billion litres of water a day and this amount is expected to increase by a third in 10 years. The Singapore Green Plan 2012 aims to meet at least a quarter of this demand through non-conventional sources, such as desalination, Newater and water-reclamation plants, by 2012. (Straits Times 9 Dec 2002) (3)

  Foreign Minister S. Jayakumar yesterday quoted extensively from recent correspondence between the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore to show Singapore had been willing to make concessions in water talks, but that Malaysia was not prepared to compromise. He added that if the two sides could not agree, Singapore was prepared to have the matter referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. (Straits Times 1 Nov 2002) (6)

  The concessions that Singapore was willing to make to secure a new water deal are now off the table, as Malaysia has discarded the package approach used in negotiations since 1998. A Foreign Ministry spokesman yesterday said: "Malaysia has made all manner of public statements. And Malaysia has repeatedly kept changing its position on the water issue and other issues in the package." Singapore will deal with water and other issues individually and separately, on their stand-alone merits, no longer as a package, the spokesman said. (Straits Times 16 Oct 2002) (6)

  Hazy skies are expected to continue over the next few days but the Pollutants and Standards Index (PSI) is not expected to rise to the unhealthy range of more than 100, as it did for 12 days in 1997. The National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday that the skies would continue to be hazy because of the prevailing south and south-easterly winds carrying smoke from forest fires in Indonesia towards Singapore. (Straits Times 15 Oct 2002) (H3)

  Malaysia served notice yesterday that it was giving Singapore "one last chance" to agree to a higher price for the supply for water from Johor, or it would seek third-party arbitration. Foreign Minister Syed hamid Albar accused the republic of not being serious about resolving the issue. (Straits Times 14 Oct 2002) (A1)

  The Government has given the go-ahead for two million gallons of Newater to be blended with raw water supplies in reservoirs here from February 2003. This means Newater will make up less than 1 per cent of the current total volume of 300 million gallons of water consumed daily. The amount will increase progressively to reach 2.5 per cent by 2011. (Straits Times 26 Sep 2002) (1) 

  Singaporeans will suffer two months of the haze this year, starting next month, because of forest fires in Indonesia. "This year, it is unlikely the PSI will reach unhealthy levels," said LOH Ah Tuan, director-general for environmental protection at the National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday. (Straits Times 28 Aug 2002) (6)

  The Public Utilities Board (PUB) confirmed yesterday it had written to the Real Estate Development Association of Singapore, to inform it that developers will be required to provide a dedicated pipe system in all new commercial and industrial projects to accept Newater. For those locations where the Newater pipeline network will only be available after 2011, companies need to set aside space for when the new pipelines are laid. By January 2003, more than 68 million litres of Newater will be produced daily. It will go up to more than 250 million litres a day by 2012. (Straits Times 27 Aug 2002) (1)

  Parts of several neighbourhoods in northern Singapore were shrouded in darkness for several hours yesterday when lamp-posts and utility lights failed to come on as usual at 7pm because of a signal failure. Carparks, void decks and corridors in some parts of Ang Mo Kio, Sembawang, Toa Payoh, Hougang and Bishan remained in pitch darkness as night fell.(Straits Times 24 Aug 2002) (H10)

  A computer glitch caused the blackout that paralysed parts of Singapore for 90 minutes last Monday, said power regulator Energy Market Authority yesterday. (STraits Times 15 Aug 2002) (3)

  Deputy Prime Minister LEE Hsien Loong revealed yesterday that the reclaimed water - Newater - that Singapore is producing "is enough to replace all the water we are taking from Malaysia under the 1961 agreement which expires in 2011". (Straits Times 13 Jul 2002) (1)

  A nine-member panel of experts assembled by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) has endorsed Newater as a safe and sustainable source of water for Singapore. Newater is water that is reclaimed from water in the kitchen and bathroom. The panel also supports the idea that Singapore could supplement its supply of drinking water by blending reclaimed water with reservoir water. The mixture would be treated again to produce drinking water. (Straits Times 12 Jul 2002) (1)

  From tomorrow, the new National Environment Agency (NEA) will take over almost all of the operations of the Environment Ministry (ENV), except setting national policies. The new agency will manage pollution, noise and recycling. It will also take charge of waste management, public cleaning and the upgrading of hawker centres and public toilets. (Straits Times 30 Jun 2002) (1)

  From Monday 1 Jul 2002, the Environment Ministry's (ENV) food control department will come under the purview of the Agri-Food and veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). This means AVA will regulate the safety of primary and processed food. It will also set and enforce food safety standards and oversee food labelling, while ENV will regulate food safety at the retail end. (Straits Times 29 Jun 2002) (H1)

  Power prices are going up by an average of 7 per cent next month, due to a rise in oil prices. The increase in tariffs will range from 6.6 to 10.6 per cent, Power Supply said in a statement. (Straits Times 23 Jun 2002) (4)

  Prime Minister GOH Chok Tong yesterday reiterated Singapore's position that the current water agreements with Malaysia stay as they are and that any formula proposed by Malaysia would apply only to future agreements. In the current two agreements, signed in 1961 and 1962, Singapore can buy raw water from Johor at three sen per 1,000 gallons. They will expire in 2011 and 2061. (Straits Times 17 Jun 20020 (1) 

  Malaysia will present a formula to fix the price of water it supplies to Singapore, when the foreign ministers of both countries meet in Kuala Lumpur early July 2002. Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said yesterday that if Singapore agreed to the proposed formula, it would resolve the question of fixing the price of water, whether raw or treated, supplied by Johor to the Republic in the future. (Straits Times 16 Jun 2002) (1)

  Singapore will get water from "four big national taps" by 2011. The two new "taps" will be desalination plants and NEWater or water-reclamation plants here, said Environment Minister LIM Swee Say in Parliament yesterday. He said that increasing water supply from domestic sources would provide Singapore with enough water for its needs even if the 1961 water agreement with Malaysia is not renewed when it expires in 2011. (Straits Times 23 May 2002) (1)

  Safra's new golf course in Kranji, Singapore's 23rd, will be pushed back some 60m from the edge of the Kranji Reservoir to protect the marshes that serve as feeding grounds for birds, which include several endangered species. (Straits Times 30 Apr 2002) (6)

  A team from the Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) School of Civil and Environmental Engineering which has been prospecting for water in Changi has discovered a 25-sq-km wide underground reservoir with potentially enough water to fill 35,000 swimming pools. The reservoir could potentially store more than 70 million cu m of water, making it a viable alternative source of water here. Presently, storm water ponds, reservoirs and catchment areas can collect about 680,000 cu m of rainwater daily, which is 57 per cent of the daily consumption needs of about 1.2 million cu m. (Straits Times 30 Apr 2002) (3)

  The Environment Ministry is considering breeding one of the two types of Aedes mosquito which transmit the virus here, to try to kill the other. This is one of the projects that will be carried out by the new 1,008-sq-m Environmental Health Institute at Science Park II in Pasir Panjang Road. The institute will start off with 24 researchers. Singapore was declared free of malaria in 1982 and has the lowest dengue rates in the region. The average number of cases here last year was 46 per week. (Straits Times 26 Apr 2002) (4) 

  Singapore's first fuel station offering compressed natural gas is up and ready for business. The S$2.6 million facility on Jurong Island is part of a joint pilot project by the Government and the private sector to run vehicles here using the fuel. The first bus here that will run on natural gas is SBS Transit Service 712. (Straits Times 23 Apr 2002) (4)

  All households and businesses here will have to pay more for waste disposal from next month. On average, flat-owners will have to pay 90 cents more, while landed households will pay about S$1.20 more. Hawker and market stallholders will see their monthly bills go up by between S$4.64 and S$5.05. Businesses pay about S$49.75 more at the top end of the scale. The fee hikes were announced by the Environment Ministry yesterday. (Straits Times 17 Apr 2002) (H1)

  A Singapore company, Ekopak International, is turning the spiky skin of the durian into bowls, flower pots and even casings for hi-fi speakers. Ekopak's recycling of the durian skin is reducing the load of waste during the fruit's peak seasons in June and December by several million kilos. (Straits Times 15 Apr 2002) (5)

  Singapore would "move a little away" from dependence on Malaysian water, said Prime Minister GOH Chok Tong in Parliament yesterday. He said it was high time to find a new approach to water. It was not healthy to have the threat that the water might stop flowing hanging over Singapore's head, he said. Tenders have been called for a desalination plant, and more plants for recycling water will be built besides the existing one. The cost of water from these sources was not prohibitive, he said. (Straits Times 6 Apr 2002) (1)

  More than 1 million shopping bags are given out here each day. Singapore's biggest supermarket chain, NTUC Fairprice, gives out a total of 160 million bags each year. Cold Storage spends about S$2 million each year on the 70 million plastic bags it gives out. One researcher estimates that people here use as many as 40 billion bags a year. (Straits Times 3 Apr 2002) (H3)

  Fires in Sumatra and West Malaysia have resulted in slightly hazy conditions in Singapore over the past two days. The 24-hour Pollutants Standards Index (PSI), which measures air quality on a scale of zero to 500, hit the top end of the "good" range yesterday when it reached 50. A reading of of 53 was recorded last Saturday. (Straits Times 15 Mar 2002) (1)

  A new recycling park - the second in Singapore - called EcoPark will be sited beside the Tuas incinerator. SembVisy Recycling is due to set up the first fully-automated waste-sorting plant there by year's end. The 19-ha park already hosts two plants - Eco Resource Recovery Centre, which recovers all kinds of solid waste, and Ceramic Technologies, which makes bricks from waste. The first recycling park opened in 1995 in Sarimbun, once a dumping ground in Lim Chu Kang. It is used mostly for storage of recyclable materials. (Straits Times 6 Mar 2002) (5)

  The Environment Ministry has hired four Singapore Gun Club members to shoot down crows. ENV will not resort to poisoning the birds yet. The island now has about 120,000 crows. Many of them can be found in Kitchener Road, parts of Hougang and Ang Mo Kio Ave 3. Their population is growing at a high rate of 48 per cent. (Straits Times 1 Mar 2002)(H4)

  The Environment Ministry is spending S$62.7 million on extension works to the existing Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex. A new crematorium building will be built, in addition to six columbaria blocks that will be able to house 79,000 niches for remains. Work on the project will start this month and be completed by early 2004. (Straits Times 5 Feb 2002)(H5)

  Asked about Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's comparison of the water price Singapore pays to that paid by Hongkong to mainland China, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman yesterday said it was misleading. The price of RM8 per thousand gallons that Hongkong paid to mainland China for raw water took into account China's infrastructural, operational and maintenance costs, he said. "Malaysia does not bear any such costs for supplying water to Singapore. All these years, Singapore absorbed all costs of building the infrastructure, such as dams, pipelines, plants and equipment, in Johor for water supply. We also bear the operational costs," declared the spokesman. (Straits Times 3 Feb 2002)(3)

  A billion-dollar project, approved in 1992, earmarking Pulau Ubin for reclamation, will be put off for at least 10 years. This is to preserve Check Jawa, a beach at the island's eastern tip, in its natural state, the Ministry of National Development said in a statement yesterday. At an interview in his office yesterday, National Development Minister MAH Boh Tan also said that his ministry was not ready to discuss the gazetting of Chek Jawa as a nature area. "I don't think we are in a position yet to make that decision. We'll leave that decision to the next ten years, when we do our next concept plan," he said. (Starits Times 15 Jan 2002)(1)

     2001

  To stem the hordes of curious people who have been flocking to Check Jawa to see the site which won conservation status recently, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced measures to control visitor numbers yesterday. Besides having to make bookings for their visit, visitors to the beach will also have to follow guides on designated routes. NParks also advised visitors to wear proper footwear, such as sandals and rubber boots. They should not litter, touch or collect plant or animal specimens. From this weekend, visitors must report to the NParks' information desk, opposite the Pulau Ubin Community Centre. (Straits Times 27 Dec 2001) (H5)

  The Ministry of National Development yesterday announced the deferment of reclamation works at Tanjung Chek Jawa, thought to be Singapore's last mud flat and home to several rare marine creatures. Reclamation work, approved in 1992 to create land to be used eventually for military training, was originally slated to start in a few day's time. (Straits Times 21 Dec 2001) (5)

  As of yesterday, 306 litterbugs had done Corrective Work Order (CWO) this year, with 13 of them doing a repeat. Last year, the total number had come to 451, with 23 of them doing a repeat. More than 3,600 people have done CWOs since the first 10 made history in 1993 by cleaning up East Coast Park. (Straits Times 20 Dec 2001) (H6)

  A two-year study found that there were 172,000 crows in Singapore in February last year. Since then, the Singapore Gun Club has reduced their numbers to the current 98,000 or so by shooting them. According to the survey, a sustained campaign against the birds can bring their population down to almost a tenth of what it is today, or 10,000, within 10 years. There will be no attempt to eradicate them altogether because it could mean a rise in other refuse-eating animals, like rats. (Straits Times 11 Dec 2001)(1)

  Desalinated water will be flowing from taps here in 2005, after the Public Utilities Board (PUB) gave the go-ahead to build the island's first desalination plant. PUB will buy the water under a 20-year agreement starting when the new plant comes on stream in 2005. (Straits Times 1 Dec 2001)(1)

  A new draft environmental blueprint for Singapore was unveiled yesterday. Called the Singapore Green Plan 2012, it features such ambitious goals as making two-thirds of Singapore water catchment areas, up from the present 50 per cent, and obtaining power from renewable sources, such as wind or water. By 2012, 5 per cent of Singapore's water supply will come from desalination. (Straits Times 11 Nov 2001)(1)

  Singapore and Malaysia yesterday reached a skeletal agreement to resolve outstanding issues which have plagued bilateral relations since the early 1990s. It came after tough negotiations between Senior Minister LEE Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the new administrative capital Putrajaya in Malaysia yesterday. Mr LEE stressed that the agreement was based on reciprocity. Singapore has agreed to various requests from Malaysia: from relocating its railway station from Tanjong Pagar to Kranji, not Woodlands, to building an underground railway tunnel from Johor to Kranji, and demolishing the Causeway for a new bridge. In return, Singapore's long-term water supply and the use of Malaysian airspace by the Singapore Air Force are secured. (Straits Times 5 Sep 2001)(1)

  All seven wafer-fabrication plants here have signed a deal with the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to switch from potable water to "Newater" - sewage water that has been treated and ultra-purified. These plants operate in Tampines, Pasir Ris and Woodlands. The use of recycled water means that by 2010, more fresh water will be available for drinking here - 55 mgd, or about 15 per cent of total consumption. Desalination, which generates drinking water from the sea, will produce another 30 mgd by 2005. Singapore now consumes about 300 mgd. (Straits Times 31 Aug 2001) (3)

  Laws are being drawn up to preserve Singapore's green ambience. Once the laws are in place, agencies and developers will have to think twice before cutting fown trees designated as Heritage Trees, and those roads deemed Heritage Roads. The two schemes to conserve old, scenic, tree-lined roads and beautiful, mature trees were announced yesterday by Minister for National Development MAH Bow Tan. Under these two schemes, 55 roads in Singapore have been designated as Heritage Roads, and at least 30 old trees have been identified so far as being worthy of being preserved. (Straits Times 18 Aug 2001)(H7)

  The Environment Ministry (ENV) has worked with town councils and the Taoist Mission here to create 150 new burner covers, which fit onto the joss burners that town councils put out for residents to use in the seventh month of the lunar calendar. The covers, costing S$28 each, will be distributed to seven town councils here and the Taoist Mission. (Straits Times 17 Aug 2001)(H1)

  The chemical spill on Wednesday near Pulau Ubin prompted officials to suspend the harvest and sale of fish from the 37 floating fish farms there and in the Serangoon coastal area. The order took effect yesterday. (Straits Times 15 Jun 2001)

  The Ministry of the Environment (ENV) yesterday warned swimmers to stay out of the water in the sea at Changi, Pasir Ris, Punggol and Pulau Ubin. The sea there is not safe for swimming or fishing because of a chemical leak from an Indonesian-registered tanker that ran aground yesterday in Malaysian waters off Pulau Ubin. Some of the 630 tonnes of phenol, an industrial disinfectant that was the tanker's cargo, leaked into the sea. Phenol is a pink chemical which is corrosive but will dissolve and break down in the water over time. (Straits Times 14 Jun 2001)

  Environment Health Officers don new uniforms from 1 Mar 2001

     2000

  In five years' time, waste incineration will be handled by private companies. All incineration is now handled by the Ministry of the Environment, which runs plants at Senoko, Ulu Panda, Tuas and Tuas South. In five years' time, the Tuas and Tuas South plants, handling 70% of the current incineration capacity, will be privatised. The Ulu Pandan plant will be closed when a new plant, said to be the world's largest is completed in 2006. The Senoko plant will be corporatised and run by the Environment Ministry. (Straits Times 26 Nov 2000)

  New plants and shrubs added several shades of welcome green on 5 Nov 2000 as ministers and MPs did some spadework to launch this year's Clean and Green Week. More than 1,100 trees, shrubs and plants will be planted this week. This is the 11th such annual campaign which is an expansion of the tree-planting drive which started in 1971.