Archive for the ‘Environmental Education’ Category

Do not take elephant death slightly

Sunday, January 21st, 2018
Part of the seven pygmy elephants which died in an abandoned quarry pond in Tawau, Sabah, in 2016. FILE PIC

SAHABAT Alam Malaysia (SAM) is astounded by the death of another wild elephant in Gerik, Perak.

In the incident on Jan 3, a 40-year-old female elephant was electrocuted at a construction site.

Elephants enter populated areas to search for food. These pachyderms have lost their natural habitats due to land clearing.

According to an elephant expert, natural habitats are lost when roads are built across grasslands, causing automobile traffic.

SAM, other non-governmental organisations and the public have expressed concern over the increasing number of roadkill involving elephants and other species.

However, it appears that the Malaysian Highway Authority has not addressed the issue, as many letters from SAM have gone unanswered.

Elephants are exposed to dangers from poachers, automobile accidents, poisoning, and are shot or killed by plantation workers.

The electrocution of this lactating female elephant brings to mind a similar incident in Sabah, where seven pygmy elephants died in an abandoned quarry pond in 2016.

It is irresponsible to leave work sites that are hazardous to humans and animals.

Which government body, department or agency is responsible for putting up the cabin and later abandoning it upon completion of the project without disconnecting its electrical supply?

Who will be held responsible for this unsafe work site? What if a person had walked near the cabin and stepped on the live wire?

The loss of one elephant is a number less, but what about its baby? It may follow the herd, but what are its chances of survival without its mother?

This death should not be taken lightly by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.


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The big role of small insects

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Insects are generally disregarded as big animals get the lop-sided attention.

Singapore-hailed and world renowned colorectal surgeon Professor Francis Seow-Choen said the small stature of insects had unfortunately fooled people at large to conclude they are unimportant.

He said this is a central reason why he choose to study small insets like stick insects at Thursday’s launch of his book “A Taxonomic Guide To The Stick Insects of Borneo” Volume 2, at the Kinabalu Hyatt Regency.

“Small insects are actually very important to the ecosystems,” Prof Francis told the packed Kemabong Room.

Guest of Honour and Chief Conservator of Forests Sabah Datuk Sam Mannan who launched the book said he agreed:

“Small insects are vital to the ecosystems because everything starts here,” Mannan noted, citing how hilarious cow-dung beetles play ‘football’ with cow dung in its instinctive role among the legions of tiny recyclers to return nutrients to the food chain that eventually nourish all the big guys.

However, Mannan said the latest book on the ’small guys’ exposed “how much we do not know about our surroundings’ rather than how much people know about these “bizarre walking sticks and walking leaves (Leaf insects) inhabiting Sabah’s old world tropical rainforests, citing Seow’s repeated rafts of discoveries of new species – 52 new ones featured in Volume 1 and now 37 new species added to Volume 2 – totalling 373 known species from 92 genera in all.

As a tribute, Mannan said Prof Francis personifies the spirit of Singapore which documents everything in quest of knowledge as he scoured the 2,600m Mt Trusmadi at the unseemly hour of 2am in a mission to get to the bottom of Borneo’s wealth of stick insects. “Sunbears could have attacked him or get hit by falling branches,” noted Mannan who said inhabitants of small Singapore are not likely to feel the pain of the demise of dugongs.

Therefore the only distant reason to care for people like Prof Francis is “moral” which points the burden of responsibility on the authority in power on the imperative to do all it takes “to document, protect and manage” the rich biodiversity for the sake of future generations.

“At one time, we thought we could do it alone and in the process I myself was nearly killed.

So we have learnt that doing it alone doesn’t work, we must rally everybody together to accomplish that vision because we also know we don’t have a monopoly of good ideas.”

The Heart of Borneo Initiative is an example of a “three countries –one vision responsibility’ which straddles the borders of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesia Kalimantan covering an area of 220,000 sq km, while the State Government through the Forestry Department chips in 39.000sqkm of important inland and highland forest ecosystems such as Trusmadi and Crocker Range as art of that vision and mission, Mannan said.

by Kan Yaw Chong.

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Make environment our 2018 priority

Monday, January 15th, 2018

THE year has barely started, and already we have so many reports of weather and climate-related events.

Heavy wind, snow storms and below-freezing temperatures paralysed cities in the United States’ East Coast. New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was in chaos with hundreds of flights suspended.

Yet, just weeks previously, big fires linked to a heat wave were sweeping through parts of California on the West Coast, burning 112.000ha of forest and threatening lives and homes.

Colder weather in one place and hotter temperatures in another are signs of global climate change, which can also cause heavier rainfall and drought in different regions.

We can expect the weather, and more broadly the environment, to figure prominently this year.

The alarm bells sounded long ago on the environmental crisis. But it is not easy to achieve a continuous high level of concern among political leaders.

After a calamity and public outrage, there are pledges to correct the situation. However, the interest fades after a while, and not much action is taken, until the next disaster happens.

In Malaysia, people are now looking at the sky constantly to anticipate whether it is going to rain.

Heavy rainfall has been causing floods in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Selangor, Sabah and Sarawak.

In Penang, severe state-wide flash floods seem to be occurring every few months, with localised flooding in several areas in between. The mud brought down from eroded hill-slopes into overflowing rivers and then into houses, makes floods an even worse nightmare for those affected.

For some unlucky ones, hardly have their houses and furniture been cleaned than they are under one metre of water again through a new flood.

Heavier rain and more floods is the new normal in Malaysia. There has been an increase in rainfall for most parts of the country in 2000-2009 compared to 1970-1999, with the major increase in 2005-2009, according to a 2012 paper by Yap Kok Seng, then the head of the Malaysian Meteorological Depart­ment (MMD), and his colleagues.

The global temperature increase has led to changes in weather including major wind patterns, amount and intensity of precipitation, and increased frequency of severe storms and weather extremes, according to the paper, Malaysia Climate Change Scenarios.

In Malaysia since the 1980s, there had been increasing number of days of extreme rainfall events, extreme wind events and annual thunderstorm days, added the paper.

Unfortunately the situation will worsen. A study published on Jan 10, whose authors are affiliated with Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, predicted that millions more people will be affected by river flooding as global warming increases severe rainfall in the next 20 years.

In Asia, the most affected region, people at risk from floods will rise to 156 million from the present 70 million in the next 20 years.

Global warming increases the risk of flooding because rain during an extreme downpour “increases exponentially” as temperatures rise, the institute’s Anders Levermann told Reuters.

“We have to adapt to global warming. Doing nothing will be dangerous,” he said.

Countries will have to act urgently and make major investments in flood protection to boost their flood defences, according to the report.

This advice surely applies to Malaysia as one of the countries already being affected by heavier rainfall and extensive river flooding.

Flood mitigation measures must be increased, including de-silting, widening and deepening rivers, improving urban drainage, strengthening river banks, redirecting water flows, constructing tidal gates, and pumping excess water into ponds.

Even more important is flood prevention. A main cause of the floods is deforestation, leading to the loss of the forests’ valuable roles in soil and water retention and climate regulation.

It is really short-sighted and irrational to damage and destroy forests, especially forest reserves and water catchment areas.

Exposed soils are swept by rain into rivers, clogging up streams and drains with mud and causing floods downstream in the towns and villages, while also depriving us of much-needed water supply.

There is a great deal of public concern over recent developments that threaten forests and hill lands in the country.

These include the de-gazetting of the Ulu Muda water catchment area in Kedah; the de-gazetting of hill lands in Penang that previously were protected under the Land Conservation Act and which are now being “developed” with the aid of higher permitted density ratio; the conversion of 4,515ha forest reserve to cultivate oil palm plantations in Terengganu (being opposed by WWF-Malaysia); and protests over the imminent loss of a forested park in Taman Rimba Kiara in Kuala Lumpur to make way for housing.

Federal, state and local governments should give priority to environmental rehabilitation of damaged forests and hills, prevent damage to the coastal ecosystem including mangroves, and take comprehensive flood prevention and mitigation measures.

by Martin Khor
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Global Warming and Environment Protection exhibition

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The public is invited to a Global Warming and Environmental Protection exhibition organised by the Kota Kinabalu (KK) Tzu Chi Foundation in conjunction with their year-end Blessing Ceremony from Jan 13-14 at the Yayasan Sabah building, here, from 7am to 9pm (Saturday) and 10am to 5pm (Sunday).

Its person-in-charge CK Chong said the programme is aimed to raise awareness on global warming and environmental protection as people are still unaware of the impacts it may have on the planet.

Chong said some 1,500 students from 30 schools – comprising primary schools, secondary schools and higher learning institutes around KK and 1,600 members of the public as well as association members are expected to turn up for the programme.

“The exhibition will feature various booths, including demonstrations on the effect of earthquake, fire and flood, all created from recyclable materials,” he said.

On the issue of global warming and environmental protection, he said the planet’s ozone layer is getting thinner and there are various disasters and anomalies happening recently, such as the situation in Sydney and Melbourne where the residents could be facing regular 50 degree temperatures due to rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Chong attributed the climate change to various reasons, including from eating meat.

“According to the WorldWatch report in 2009, the global greenhouse gas emission is 13 per cent from transport but it is 51 per cent for livestock. In addition, the amount of food supply land needed to feed one meat eater for a year is 18 tennis courts while a vegan only needs one tennis court worth of land.

“Scientific experts said that if the Earth is to be restored to its normal state, we should stop eating meat.

This is because it causes pollution through cattle farming which includes cutting down a lot of trees as well as the amount of greenhouse gas that is emitted.

“We hope that through this programme, more people can become aware that Mother Earth is getting sicker with every moment and this situation will eventually transfer to the future generation,” he said.

Chong said one way to reduce the damage that is being to the planet is by instilling a habit of recycling, adding that according to a report from City Hall, only three per cent of the total waste in KK is recycled.

“People can go to any housing area and see for themselves the rubbish bins full of plastic bottles and other items that can be recycled.

“We urge the public to practice the 5R concept which stands for Reject, Reuse, Rebuild and Recycle so they can start a recycling habit at home and students will learn how to deal with whatever they throw away to be recycled instead,” he said.

On a related note, he said they have two recycling centres in Taman Suria and Kolombong, which is open daily to the public.

He said one of the recycle centre has a classroom to educate students about global warming and environmental issues from speakers as well as other matters for free.

Both centres also have second-hand shops for recycled items, where most of the income from the shops will go to the foundation fund to aid the people.

Chong said the association was founded in 1996 in Taiwan by Dharma Master Cheng Yen to help the poor and needy by providing assistance in various forms while the Malaysia Tzu Chi Foundation has been around for about 20 years.

He said there are around 330 volunteers and 13,000 donating members in KK who carry out various charitable activities such as monthly supporting 150 families in aspects of their daily life, financially and food by providing RM400 and RM500 for each family.

by Jegathisan Sivanesan.

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Carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

THE earth’s atmosphere contains important greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly in the form of water vapour containing small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). GHGs function as a thermal blanket for the planet, absorbing heat from the sun and keeping its surface warm (on average 15°C) to support life.

Thus, one of the natural causes of global warming also enables life. However, the current expansion of global warming is a serious environmental issue that may affect humans and other living organisms. It occurs when the earth’s atmosphere and surface are gradually heated up because of the presence of trapped thermal infrared radiation that fails to escape into outer space because of the increasing levels of GHGs forming a thick blanket over the earth. This keeps the planet’s surface warm, far above what it would be without its atmosphere. This process is also known as the greenhouse effect.

The existence of past global warming does not necessarily suggest that current global warming is natural. Climate scientists have unanimously agreed that the main cause is human activity; this, rather than any natural phenomena, has expanded the greenhouse effects. In the natural environment, methane is the most potent GHG. However, CO2 is the most significant since it exists in the largest concentration and has a longer lifetime than methane. Recently, human activities have continued to increased CO2 concentrations and have contributed to the emission of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have heat-trapping potential a thousand times greater than CO2.

CFCs have been banned in most parts of the world because they degrade the earth’s ozone layer. However, since their concentrations are much lower than CO2, they do not add as much warmth to the atmosphere.

It is clear that high concentrations of CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming leading to climate change. Where do CO2 emissions originate from? They are mainly caused by the energy-driven consumption of fossil fuels. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, CO2 emissions mainly originate from electricity production (25 per cent), industry (21 per cent), transportation (14 per cent), commercial and residential buildings (six per cent), sum of agricultural activities, land use and forestry (24 per cent), and other energy uses (10 per cent).

A large proportion of CO2 emissions come from electricity generation, followed by the sum of agricultural activities, land use and forestry. Both sectors — energy production and agriculture — contribute up to half of all global GHG emissions that could lead to global warming and climate change. Moreover, most CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels stem from electricity production, industry, transportation, and commercial and residential buildings, which together make up 66 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

The world, therefore, is in dire need of clean and efficient energy to curb the impact of climate change. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, for example, could be the best measure to reduce the greenhouse effect and, at the same time, reduce the impact of climate change. With proper energy and waste management, these clean energies are safe from hazardous elements, economical, and have a stable market price potential and social benefits.

One example of clean energy is solar photovoltaic power, a system that converts sunlight directly into electricity. Solar energy radiates infinitely from the sun; it is clean, free, natural and has zero carbon emissions. It is considered by many as a future energy resource and alternative to fossil fuels. In terms of social benefits, solar energy industries have offered jobs to people in European Union countries, China, Japan, the United States and Malaysia.

Since the climate issue is a shared responsibility of the whole of humanity, Muslim scholars from around the world have made their position clear in the 2015 Islamic Declaration on Climate Change during the Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul.

The declaration began by calling on policymakers responsible for crafting the comprehensive climate agreement adopted in Paris to come to “an equitable and binding conclusion”. It then asked people and leaders from all countries to commit to 100 per cent renewable energy and net zero emissions as soon as possible and to recognise that unlimited economic growth is not a viable option.

Furthermore, the transition from conventional power resources to renewable energy was highlighted as fundamental to Islamic-based sustainable development, as the protection of life (hifz al-nafs) and the protection of the environment (hifz al-bi‘ah) are predicated upon the assumption that they offer a balance between economic and social development and the environment.

By Dr Shahino Mah Abdullah.

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Kota Belud residents endure 83rd flood

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

KOTA BELUD: Barely recovered from the flash floods less than two months ago, the residents in low-lying areas once again have to face the flood dilemma.

If the last October floods were due to continuous rain over a week, this time it only took a night for flood water level to touch the danger level of 5.83m at Abai river and 3.07m in Tempasuk River.

According to a report by the Malaysian Defense Forces in Sabah, eight major roads and alternatives have also been cut off.

However, only 120 victims from 79 families were rescued and placed at the temporary relief centre at Tun Said Community Hall.

In the meantime, hundreds of the road users had to pull over by the road before the Lebak Moyoh’s roundabout as the road was impassable on Monday night.

According to one of the stranded motorists, Syarifah Norroziana Bataraja, 29, who was returning from work in Kota Kinabalu said that she could not reach her home at Kampung Taun Gusi here.

She rushed home from office as early as 4pm after being informed by family members on the rising water. Unfortunately, it took her almost three hours to arrive at Kota Belud due to traffic crawls along Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran roads which were also affected by flash floods.

“The water current was strong as usually my vehicle can pass through floodwaters. I saw a four-wheel drive vehicle almost slipping into the drain,” said Syarifah who commutes daily between Kota Belud and Kota Kinabalu.

This reporter also experienced sleepless night when she had to pull over and to stay awake while watching the water level rising.

Meanwhile a nearby villager, Adizan Sabdar, 29, said the heavy downpour had inundated the major roads by 8.30pm.

“It was not until two hours, the floodwaters had already reached my knees and this time, the water level was higher than the last floods.

“Some of my neighbors did not have time to salvage their possessions as the water was rising too fast and they were forced to get out of their house,” he said.

Floodwaters began to recede as early as 8am and stranded overnight motorists can finally continue their journey home.


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Shark population dwindles as demand for shark fin soup continues

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Sharma shows the Living Planet Report 2016. (File Photo)

SANDAKAN: The lucrative shark fin market continues to drive shark fishing including in Sabah’s waters, leading to a drastic decline in its population with some species becoming endangered from over-fishing.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia Marine Conservation head Dr Robecca Jumin pointed out it was still common to see sharks sold at markets in the state and to receive photographic evidence of shark fins being sold to meet both local and international demand for shark fin soup.

A new report released by Oceana, the largest international advocacy organisation focused solely on ocean conservation, stated an estimated 100 million sharks are killed worldwide each year with reports that 73 million of them are caught specifically for shark fin soup.

This is despite extensive scientific work that shows most shark species keep populations of other fish healthy by removing the sick and old ones, thus stabilising the marine ecosystem.

Species of some sharks sighted in Sabah, such as the scalloped hammerhead, which is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List as ‘endangered’, have been declining in population by up to 90 per cent in some areas.

Hammerhead shark fins are highly valued for their high fin ray count, hence it is the target in some areas worldwide.

Sabah’s civil society groups are carrying out advocacy campaigns, facilitating scientific research and engaging with the government in a bid to expedite processes that would bring about much needed protection for sharks in Sabah.

The groups are Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA), Scuba Junkie SEAS, Shark Stewards, Scubazoo, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) and WWF-Malaysia.

The groups are aware that the vast waters of the state may represent the final safe haven for many of the endangered species.

“The groups working collaboratively in Sabah appeal to the public to stop creating demand for shark fins.

The high demand for shark fins is leading to overfishing of sharks, which are also sought for their meat, skin, cartilage and liver oil,” Dr Robecca said.

The groups have previously stated their support for efforts by both the Federal and Sabah Fisheries Departments to list the great hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark, winghead shark, oceanic white tip shark, oceanic manta and reef manta under the Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) Regulations 1999, which falls under the purview of the Fisheries Act 1985.

The group also called for more species such as the scalloped-hammerhead, all species of thresher shark and devil rays to be considered part of the list.

The Regulations, which currently only protect the whale shark and sawfish, state that no person shall fish for, disturb, harass, catch, kill, take, possess, sell, buy, export or transport any of the specified endangered species except with written permission from the director-general of Fisheries.

Meanwhile, SSPA chairman Aderick Chong said shark fin itself does not have nutritional value and could potentially be harmful to consumers due to bioaccumulation of toxins such as mercury when consumed in large amounts over a certain period.


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Towards a carbon-neutral Malaysia by 2050

Monday, November 13th, 2017
National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia volunteers cleaning up Sungai Langat as part of the Malaysia Environment Week in Bangi, Selangor, last Sunday. The country’s commitment to preserve more than half its land area under primary rainforest coverage is a significant contribution to the world in terms of a carbon sink, biodiversity, environmental services and eco-heritage. (PIC BY ROSELA ISMAIL)

ASIA’s responses to global climate change underpin the very survival of humankind and other life forms on this planet.

Due to the continent’s socio-demographic and economic weight, what happens — or doesn’t happen — in Asia will determine whether the world achieves global sustainability and climate targets.

Malaysia is fully committed to being a key part of the global transition to a low-carbon, and eventually carbon-neutral society, with ambitions of achieving this by 2050.

The historic Paris Agreement, in force since Nov 4 last year, aims to cap global temperature rise at 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Importantly, the agreement also seeks to help developing and less developed nations deal with the impact of climate change with financing, new technology and capacity building.

United Nations member states have also agreed on the New Urban Agenda, laying out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable urbanisation. It is a roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social wellbeing while protecting the environment.

Malaysia, as an environmentally responsible developing economy, ratified these and the Sustainable Development Goals — three agendas which together create a coherent and holistic policy framework for national, regional and city-level development planning.

If such a policy framework sounds overwhelming and unnerving enough, the real, still bigger challenge lies in the “operationalisation” of the whole idea.

Our ability to tackle two questions is highly crucial:

How do we engage and empower the people — the current and future generations — in the development process? How do we ensure that we do not only enthusiastically create such a framework and formulate the ensuing policies, but also see to the actual implementation of the policies on the ground, yielding real impact in the city spaces and places where we live, learn, work and play?

As a rapidly developing Asian economy that aspires to be a high-income nation by 2020, Malaysia continues to be mindful of its responsibility for environmental stewardship and sustainability while creating a higher quality of life for all citizens.

A case in point is our commitment to preserve more than half the country’s land area under primary rainforest coverage indefinitely. This is a significant contribution to the world in terms of a carbon sink, biodiversity, environmental services and eco-heritage. Malaysia hosts the oldest tropical rainforests in the world, dating back 130 million years.

Malaysia’s leadership has proactively set out to take a long-term, strategic look at the future.  Last January, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak initiated a year-long exercise to chart the country’s transformation to a “Top 20 Nation” by 2050 in terms of prosperity, sustainability and happiness.

In the national dialogue to create Transformasi Nasional (TN50), a constantly emerging theme, in particular in comments from young adults, has been environmental sustainability and resilience, including the need to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. It is heartening to hear this from the generation who will helm the country’s development and progress between 2020 and 2050.

Malaysia has already pledged to cut national carbon emission intensity by 45 per cent by 2030 based on 2005 emission levels.  Clearly, more will be required of us, building on our successes to date.

Since 2009, Malaysia has put in place a progression of policies, legislative frameworks and implementation mechanisms to catapult the nation into a sustainable, green and low-carbon future.

Key examples include:

The 10th and 11th Malaysia Plans, our five-year national development plans, which specifically highlight the achievement of green living environments, sustainable green growth, low carbon transport and competitive cities;

The National Green Technology Policy (2009) and creation of Green-Tech Malaysia under the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry;

The Renewable Energy Act and the Low Carbon City Framework and Assessment System (both 2011);

Setting up SCP Malaysia to spearhead sustainable consumption and production nationwide; and,

The National Policy on Biological Diversity 2016-2025.

Beyond these and other national-level efforts, governments at the sub-national, city and regional levels have taken ambitious initiatives to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Among these, I would highlight and commend Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, specifically the UTM-Low Carbon Asia Research Centre (UTM-LCARC) led by Professor Ho Chin Siong.

Since 2008, it has been pioneering and operationalising the “Science to Action” or S2A approach to translating climate change research into city-level low carbon society policies and actions. This is already being implemented in seven major cities, including Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and the iconic Iskandar Malaysia Economic Corridor.

Clear reduction targets in terms of carbon emission intensity per gross domestic product have been set based on UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)-recognised modelling methodology, with strong support from Japanese universities and research institutions.


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Growing with environment

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

FOR too long, the relationship between prosperity and environment has been seen as a trade-off. Tackling pollution was considered an unwelcome cost on industry and a handicap to economic growth.

But global trends are demonstrating that this is no longer the case. It’s now clear that sustainable development is the only form of development that makes sense, including in financial and economic terms.

The drive towards a pollution-free planet provides an opportunity to innovate and become more competitive.

The rapidly falling cost of energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, means the countries leading the shift away from fossil fuels will reap the greatest benefits to their economies, as well as their environments.

These countries will have better, faster transport networks and more flexible power grids.

The energy revolution currently unfolding is a game changer, as is the increased mobilisation around climate.

With the transition to green and sustainable development under way, we now need to focus on how to intensify and accelerate these trends in order to protect the environment, combat climate change and curb pollution. As I see it, there are five critical pieces to this puzzle:

WE need political leadership and partnerships. A global compact on pollution would ensure sustained engagement at the highest level and make prevention a priority for all;

It would also encourage policymakers and other key partners, including the private sector, to integrate prevention into national and local planning, development processes, and business and finance strategies.

We need the right policies. Environmental governance needs to be strengthened — with targeted action on “hard-hitting” pollutants through risk assessments and enhanced implementation of environmental legislation, including multilateral environmental agreements, and other measures.

We need a new approach to managing our lives and economies. Sustainable consumption and production, through improved resource efficiency and lifestyle changes, should be promoted. Waste reduction and management must be prioritised.

We need to invest big. Mobilising finance and investment in low-carbon opportunities and cleaner production and consumption will drive innovation and help to counter pollution. Increased funding is also needed for research, pollution monitoring, infrastructure, management and control; and

We need advocacy for action. Citizens need to be informed and inspired to reduce their own pollution footprint and advocate for bold pollution-beating commitments from the public and private sectors.

With the UN Environment Assembly just over a month away, we now have the opportunity to dramatically step up our ambitions.

Science is delivering great advances in our understanding of pollution and its impacts on people, economies and the environment.

Citizens are more aware than ever before of how pollution affects their lives and they are demanding action on what has become a critical public health issue.

At the same time, experts and businesses are developing the technology to tackle these problems at all scales, from local to global. Financiers are increasingly ready to support them, while international bodies and forums, including the United Nations, stand ready to help to channel this momentum and turn it into firm action.


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Penang floods: Meteorological Dept explains what triggered heavy rainfall

Monday, November 6th, 2017
The extraordinary amount of continuous rainfall in Penang and parts of Kedah since Saturday was caused by a low pressure area in the two states. (Photo taken from Malaysian Meteorological Department facebook page)

JOHOR BARU: The extraordinary amount of continuous rainfall in Penang and parts of Kedah since Saturday was caused by a low pressure area in the two states.

Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) director-general Alui Bahari said that the low pressure area attracted strong winds and moisture which resulted in heavy rain that led the department to issue a Red Alert warning in the two states on Saturday night.

“The extraordinary rainfall, which was continuous in Penang and parts of Kedah on Nov 4 and 5, was due to low pressure area. This area became a focal point for winds and high level of moisture which resulted in continuous heavy rain and strong winds.

“This low pressure area had first taken shape in the South China Sea in the end of last month and it moved across southern Thailand before reaching Peninsular Malaysia on Nov 4,” said Alui in a statement to the New Straits Times.

Alui said that rainfall readings at MMD stations in the north showed particularly high amount of rainfall that peaked on Saturday night.

He said areas such as Prai recorded 225.6mm of rainfall on Saturday, which was higher than the 5.6mm of rain recorded in the same area the previous day.

The rain in Prai decreased to 73.4mm as of 11am today.

Heavy rain also occured on Saturday in Butterworth (233mm), Bayan Lepas (174.5mm), Alor Star (41.4mm) and Chuping (39.6) in Perlis.

Explaining the recent weather patterns, Alui said that the MMD issued warnings of heavy rain for the past five days, and the information had been channeled to the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), other related agencies and disseminated via its Facebook page and website.

The MMD issued a Yellow Alert for Heavy Rain Warning on Nov 1 involving Kelantan, Terengganu, Perak, Perlis, Kedah and Penang.

“Continuous rain occured on Nov 2 to 3 in Kelantan, Terengganu and it moved to Perlis, Kedah and Penang on Nov 4.

“As heavy rained continued, the warning was upgraded to Orange Alert in the evening of Nov 4 for Perlis, Perak, Kedah and Penang.

“In the early part of last night (Nov 4), increasing heavy rain led to the MMD issuing a Red Alert for Penang and part of Kedah.

‘”Until this morning, rain is expected to continue until tonight in the north. The category of heavy rain was reduced to Orange Alert because of a weakened low pressure area,” said Alui.

He said cloudy and intermitent rain was forecast for the northern peninsula states tomorrow, and the condition is only expected to improve on Tuesday.