Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

Secret lives and secret worlds hidden in Singapore's most popular coral reef.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lack of MPA Management Leaves Reefs Vulnerable

By Camilo Mora

Source: EurekAlert!

06/22/06

First-ever analysis reveals that most coral reef protected areas are too small, far apart and are at risk from poaching and external human threats.
Although 18.7% of the world's coral reefs are within "Marine Protected Areas" (MPAs) less that 2% are within MPAs with sound management, scientists report in the June 23 edition of Science Magazine.

MPAs are designed to limit human activities in a particular location to protect the marine ecosystem within their boundaries. This new analysis provides an evaluation of the world's coral reef MPAs based on their regulations on extraction, prevention of poaching, incidence of external human threats such as pollution, coastal development and overfishing, MPAs size and MPA distance to neighbor protected areas.

"Although coral reefs are declining worldwide, actions to reverse such a crisis are woefully inadequate in most countries," says Dr. Camilo Mora, a scientist at Dalhousie University and lead author of the study. "Clearly, lines on the map are not enough to protect the world's coral reefs."

The authors recommend that protected areas need to be enforced to prevent poaching and should be expanded to include the management of external threats. Furthermore, the authors suggest that MPAs should be bigger and should be linked to other protected areas to be more effective. "The future of coral reefs worldwide relies on countries and conservation agencies seriously embracing these objectives" adds Dr. Mora.

"We were expecting a poor result, but not numbers of this magnitude," adds co-author Dr. Mark A. Costello of the University of Auckland. "This study of protected areas worldwide suggests we are not reaping their potential positive benefits and stemming the current decline of coral reefs worldwide."

The international team of researchers from seven countries conducted the first-ever global assessment of coral reef conservation. The team built a database of MPAs for 102 countries, including satellite imagery of reefs worldwide, and surveyed more than 1,000 MPA managers and scientists to assess the conservation performance of MPAs.

"What we found, in essence, is that we are creating paper parks," explains co-author and fellow researcher Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University. "The establishment of Marine Protected Areas is rarely followed by good management and enforcement. And while management of MPAs varies worldwide, it was particularly low in areas of high coral diversity such as the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean."

"This new study combines a simple approach with detailed large-scale databases to provide the first such global assessment of biodiversity protection," says co-author Dr. Serge Andréfouët, a scientist with the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in New Caledonia. "We lack similar global assessment for other marine habitats, including kelp forests, seagrass beds, and deep-sea corals; but we have no reason to believe these may be better protected than tropical coral reefs."

"This paper is a wake-up call," says Dr. Peter Sale at the University of Windsor, "It reminds us that despite recent successes in protecting coral reefs, our actions to date fall far short of what is required to save these most diverse of all marine habitats."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Shell confirms plan to build multi-billion cracker plant on Bukom

By Jeana Wong, Channel NewsAsia 27 Jul 06
full article

SINGAPORE : Energy giant Shell has confirmed that it is going ahead with plans to build a new world-scale ethylene cracker on Singapore's Bukom Island.

Shell is expanding its petrochemical operations in Singapore to capture a ready, growing demand in regional markets. Its new chemical cracker plant, when completed by 2010, will supply cracker products to its existing and potential joint venture plants, as well as its Jurong Island customers via undersea pipelines.

With a capacity of 800,000 tonnes a year, the cracker plant will nearly double Singapore's capacity to process ethylene.

A steam cracker is a petrochemical plant that turns naphtha and light hydrocarbons into ethylene, propylene, and other chemical raw materials.

Analysts say Shell has a surplus of naptha from its existing Singapore operations and it's betting on increasing global demand, especially from China. They say the oil giant will likely export its cracker products to China as the country continues to make everything for the world, including computer casings, car parts,
plastic toys and chairs.

However, they say companies worldwide are building cracker plants in China, India and countries in the Middle East, and it remains a question whether there would be an oversupply of ethylene plants.

More info:
Shell to reclaim land around Pulau Ular 3 Jun 2005
Crack this 12 June 2005

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Active citizenry - the way forward for Singapore

Letter from Jerry Siah Eng Kiat
Honorary Executive Director Spaces Community
Straits Times Forum 20 Jul 06

full article

Singapore has developed very rapidly from a Third World country to a First World economy within a short period of 41 years. Our population has become increasingly educated and mobile, and many of us have grown in affluence.

However, this endless pursuit of material possessions is notbringing happiness to many Singaporeans.

It is no surprise that Singaporeans are the least happy people in Asia.

As we face the next lap, it is not economic pursuit but active citizenry that will be critical for Singaporeans to develop a sense of belonging and rootedness to this country, and in the process, restore our passion, our sense of happiness and social graciousness in keeping with our First World economy.

One area of being an active citizen is to be involved in a social, political or interest group, advancing social or political issues.

Volunteerism is another area of active citizenry.

Active citizenry does not necessary mean laborious, time-consuming or highly intellectual activities. It involves doing what inspires us in many different fields of interest, and even in simply living as civic-minded citizens.

We should make active citizenry a part of our lifestyle, involving our entire family in voluntary works or in an interest group.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Kid's Programme for Sea Turtles

19 Aug (Sat): Kids' Fun with Sea Turtles

With the Nature Society (Singapore) Education Group and friends. Want to know
more about Sea Turtles? Where they live, what they eat and how you can help
protect them from the many dangers they face? Come join us at East Coast Park
where over 70 baby Hawksbill Turtles showed up a few months ago.

This fun session for kids aged 5 to 11 will focus on sea turtle ecology, sea
turtle stories and what each of us can do to help turtles live happy and free
for many generations to come! We'd also be making sea turtle nests and learning
sea turtle craft!

Meeting place for this morning session at the beach will be confirmed upon
registration.

To register, email Vilma and Zaki giving your child's name, age and your contact number.

Contact: More details about the Nature Society (Singapore). To join the NSS,
email contact@nss.org or call 6741 2036.

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