Malaysia and Singapore discuss environment issues at 30th Annual Exchange of Visits

A worker brings up oil absorbents, which look like large swathes of cotton wool, to clean up an oil spill in the Johor Strait at Changi Beach on Jan 5, 2017. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Reducing harmful vehicular emissions for better air quality in Malaysia and Singapore, and jointly monitoring the water quality in the Strait of Johor, were some of the issues discussed at the 30th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Exchange of Visits.

Malaysian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli encouraged both sides to share best practices to control such emissions and to implement measures to control sources of pollution.

Their discussion largely centred around the progress achieved by the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment.

For instance, both countries have agreed to continue exchanging information on the monitoring of ecology and morphology in and around the Johor Strait, for the purpose of conserving marine biodiversity.

The two ministers also reaffirmed the usefulness of conducting regular joint exercises to ensure that emergency response agencies would be able to effectively respond to incidents involving spillage of hazardous chemicals.

They further noted the increase in ship traffic in the Strait of Johor, and highlighted the importance of regular joint exercises. Such exercises help to facilitate and coordinate prompt response actions in the event of an accident.

The two ministers commended the good collaboration between both sides in information sharing and capacity building to prevent and control oil pollution in the strait.

There will be continued cooperation between the Environment Institute of Malaysia and the Singapore Environment Institute in the exchange of training opportunities and resources.

Both countries exchanged views on other matters, including the transboundary movement of wastes and e-wastes, as well as land reclamation works in and around the Strait of Johor.

The annual exchange, which started on Thursday (Sept 28), will conclude with friendly games on Saturday (Sept 30).

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