Thick haze covers Singapore as neighbors continue to burn forests

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019   •   289

Haze continued to blanket Singapore for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday (September 18) as forest fires continued to rage in neighboring countries.

Every dry season, smoke from fires to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concerns about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index, which Singapore’s National Environment Agency uses as a benchmark, was in a range of 111-126 in the afternoon, while PM2.5 ranged 83-115. A reading above PSI 100 is considered unhealthy. The World Health Organization sets a daily mean air quality guideline of 25 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air.

Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to “unhealthy” levels on Saturday (September 14) for the first time in three years. (REUTERS)

(Production: Travis Teo, Nur-Azna Sanusi, Yiming Woo, Pedja Stanisic, Afiq Satikin, Arshad Muhammad Satikin, Joseph Campbell)

Climate change protesters disrupt London rail services

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

British journalist, George Monbiot speaks to supporters before being arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain, 16 October 2019. Global climate movement Extinction Rebellion announced climate change protests and blockades worldwide for two weeks starting 07 October. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Climate change activists disrupted rail services in the east of London early on Thursday morning (September 17), sparking a physical confrontation between angry commuters and a protester who had climbed onto the roof of a London Underground train, video on social media showed.

“I’m doing this primarily for my grandchildren because I’ve learned that what we’re heading towards at the moment is an increase in temperature of over three degrees centigrade. Suffering and death on an enormous scale. Loss of food supplies,” said Phil Kingston, an 83-year old campaigner.

“I’m also here because the poorest people in the world who live in the tropics and they are experiencing the worst impacts of climate breakdown and environmental breakdown,” he added.

British Transport Police said they had responded to incidents at Shadwell, Stratford and Canning Town, near to London’s Canary Wharf financial district.

Footage showed protesters unfurling an Extinction Rebellion protest group banner on top of a stationary London Underground train at Canning Town before one was pelted with food and physically dragged off by commuters.

“Arrests have already been made and officers are working to quickly resume services,” the police said in a statement.

Extinction Rebellion launched a wave of civil disobedience on October 7 to highlight the risks posed by climate change and the accelerating loss of plant and animal species.

Police in London said on Wednesday they had arrested 1,642 people since the protests started. (Reuters)

(Production: Tara Oakes)

Climate change protester dressed as broccoli arrested in UK

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

A climate change protester dressed as a broccoli was arrested by police in London on Sunday (October 13), shouting “give peas (peace) a chance” and holding up a floret of broccoli.

The demonstrator who was wearing a large green broccoli headpiece and green face makeup was detained in London’s Oxford Street.

In April, the same protester who is a member of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, was involved in a protest at the House of Commons, in which protesters removed items of their clothing and pressed their buttocks against the security glass in the chamber.

The demonstrator was released later on Sunday.

Extinction Rebellion, which uses civil disobedience to highlight the risks posed by climate change and the accelerating loss of plant and animal species, is midway through a new two-week wave of actions in cities around the world. (Reuters)

(Production: Andrew Marshall, Natalia Oriol, Parniyan Zemaryalai)

Italian town makes plans for impending glacier collapse

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2019

Dozens of people living close to a glacier in Mont Blanc massif, which is threatening to collapse, attended a meeting on Wednesday (September 25) to discuss possible situations of the collapse.

The town meeting was organized by the mayor of nearby town Courmayeur and regional and scientific authorities.

During the meeting, authorities monitoring the Planpincieux glacier detailed the three potential scenarios: a collapse of the glacier and its 250,000 cubic meters of ice in one go, a collapse bit by bit over time, or it staying put; if temperatures get cold enough again.

However, this scenario is not expected to happen before November or December.

Experts believe a section of this Planpincieux glacier, estimated to contain up to 250,000 cubic meters of ice could fall down the mountain.

The mayor of Courmayeur has ordered the closure of two roads and the evacuation of huts on the mountain, which is 4,800 meters (5,250 yards) high, after scientists said the glacier was sliding at an increased speed, threatening part of the Ferret Valley.

Experts have been monitoring the glacier closely since 2013 to detect the speed at which the ice is melting, but they are unable to predict when the ice would break away.

Between the end of August and the beginning of September the lower part of the glacier was sliding at a speed of 50-60 cm (20 -24 inches) per day.

Some owners of bars, hotels and restaurant, whose buildings are located along the closed road, said it’s fortunate it’s the end of the season and understood the need for preventive measures.

Others expressed concerns over the fast changing environment of the mountain, with temperatures increasing.

“It is everyone’s problem, it is not only Courmayeur’s or Chamonix’s, this is everyone’s problem. We need to have other policies in place, greener policies, and we need to change, we need to change. For sure, something has to change. This is the role of politicians, and we hope they will do so, they need to change”, said Guido Riente, who owns a restaurant only accessible by Val Ferret road, which is now closed.

Laurent Cosson , a mountain guide and refugee keeper who has been working on the mountain for twenty years, said routes once travelled by hikers could not be taken anymore, due to the dangers from potential collapse.

Nicole Passino, whose family owns a bar located on the closed road, said she understood the risk of living near a mountain.

“This is part of the mountain, we have to live with this risk and to accept it. During winter, there may be avalanches, snow, we never know if we will be able to go back home in ten or 15 minutes, or half an hour. We live in the mountain, so, we know that”, she said.

The closed roads could be partially re-opened at the end of the week to allow hikers and bikers to pass through.

Across the Alps there is concern that warmer temperatures are increasing the danger of melting permafrost and disappearing glaciers. (Reuters)

(Production: Marina Depetris)


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