Archive for the ‘Environmental Education’ Category

Warning of heavy rain in several states

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) today issued a yellow-level weather alert, warning that heavy rain can be expected in several states until tomorrow. – File photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 2): The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) today issued a yellow-level weather alert, warning that heavy rain can be expected in several states until tomorrow.

The rain has been forecast for Perlis; Kedah; Penang; Perak (Hulu Perak); Kelantan (Tumpat, Pasir Mas, Kota Bharu, Jeli, Tanah Merah, Bachok, Machang, Pasir Puteh and Kuala Krai) and Terengganu (Besut, Setiu, Kuala Nerus and Kuala Terengganu), it said in a statement.

It also said that heavy rain can be expected in Terengganu (Hulu Terengganu, Marang, Dungun and  Kemaman) and Pahang (Jerantut, Temerloh, Maran, Kuantan, Bera, Pekan and Rompin) from tomorrow to Saturday.

In a later statement, MetMalaysia said thunderstorms and strong winds can be expected in Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, the interior of Pahang, western Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan in the evening and early part of the night during the period.

It said the heavy rain can trigger flash floods in low-lying areas and cause structural damage.

“North-easterly winds at speeds of 50 km per hour to 60 km per hour and waves as high as 4.5 metres can occur in the waters off Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang during the period.

“These can cause an overflow of seawater along the coast and river mouths in the areas,” it said.

by Bernama.

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Elephant found dead, another relocated

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

The elephant calf that was relocated to the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary.

KOTA KINABALU: A Borneo pygmy elephant was found dead in a plantation in Kinabatangan.

Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director Augustine Tuuga said poisoning is suspected and investigations into the elephant’s death are ongoing.

He said a Ladang Leepang 3 plantation worker discovered the carcass of the 20-year-old female elephant  on Nov 22 around 5.20pm.

There were no visible bodily injuries due to sharp objects, but blood was spotted coming out from the mouth, he said.

“After retrieving the remains, a post-mortem was conducted on Nov 23 by a team led by a SWD veterinarian, with the presence of Kinabatangan police.

“Samples have been taken for investigation and toxicology analysis by the investigating officer.

“The official post-mortem report has yet to be released, ” he added in a statement yesterday.

The elephant is believed to have died less than 24 hours before it was found, as the carcass had not rotted and there was no stench yet.

Tuuga said the case is being investigated under Section 37 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 (for the killing of an animal).

Meanwhile, a 1.3m-tall male elephant calf was safely relocated to the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary within the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary on Saturday morning.

The calf was initially found roaming in Kampung Sukau in Kinabatangan on Nov 27, and a team from SWD tended to it before moving the animal in a transport crate via lorry on Saturday.

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Yellow weather alert for east coast, Sabah and Sarawak

Saturday, November 28th, 2020
For representational purposes only. -- Bernama File PixFor representational purposes only. — Bernama File Pix

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) today issued a yellow level weather alert for several states nationwide.

MetMalaysia director-general Jailan Simon in a statement today said heavy rain was expected until tomorrow in Kemaman, Terengganu; Pahang (Kuantan, Bera, Pekan and Rompin); and Sarawak (Kuching, Serian, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu, Mukah and Bintulu).

“It also involves Kudat, the west coast and interiors of Sabah and the whole of Labuan effective until Nov 30.

“The weather alert warning is also extended to several districts in Kelantan and Terengganu, with heavy rain expected from tomorrow until Monday,” he said.

The affected districts in Kelantan are Tumpat, Pasir Mas, Kota Bharu, Jeli, Tanah Merah, Bachok, Machang, Pasir Puteh and Kuala Krai; while the areas in Terengganu are Besut, Setiu, Kuala Nerus and Kuala Terengganu.

Meanwhile, Jailan said strong northeasterly winds of 40 to 50 km per hour, with waves up to 3.5 metres high, are expected in the waters of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sarawak and Sabah during the period.

This can result in overflowing in coastal areas and estuaries in the affected areas, he said.

by Bernama.

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Mounting medical waste sparks concerns

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Pictures taken by a concerned member of the public showing piles of medical waste at the company’s premises in Lok Kawi.

KOTA KINABALU: The State government will look into concerns raised by the public over the disposal of hazardous medical waste in Lok Kawi, which has apparently become a problem due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Sabah.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun announced this during the Sabah Covid-19 Current Development Press Conference yesterday in response to a question posed by a reporter on Thursday.

According to reports, a company operating locally had been handling the state’s hospital medical waste for years and due to the large number of cases in Sabah, huge piles of bags filled with Covid-19 medical waste have not only filled the company’s premises but also spilled over to the roadside.

This has sparked health concern in the area and complaints were channeled to the media in Sabah regarding the matter.

“It is a very serious sort of thing to do and at this point of time, since this is the first time that I am hearing this report, I am not able to give you a specific answer but if you do give us the details, we will be more than happy to refer this to the relevant department so that actions can be taken,” Masidi said.

“Thank you very much. I think that is a very good feedback. We appreciate this report,” Masidi, who is official Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson, told the press member during the live Zoom interview.

Earlier during the press conference, up to November 2020, he said 829 people have been screened in Kampung Nahaba and Kg Tegudon in Kota Belud.

“Of this total, 44 have been found positive and 785 negative, making the positive (Covid-19 cases) percentage 5.3%,” he said, adding the government is coordinating the distribution of food baskets to the affected area.

In addition, he said political leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have assisted in the supply of wet food like vegetables, chicken, fish and daily goods such as diapers and soap.

He said the government will also provide Covid-19 assistance for people like farmers and fishermen who are registered with the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry.

Masidi also revealed, up to November 26, 734 health personnel have been cumutively detected as Covid-19 positive.

“Of this total, 85% (11.6%) are of active status and 666 (89%) have been reported as recovered. A total of 490 are undergoing quarantine order,” he detailed.

The Minister also commented on the Covid-19 mutation of D614G or superspreader found among the Benteng LD Cluster in Sabah on September 2020, which was reported by Malaysia Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

“Up to November 25, 2020, a total of 1,157 positive cases have been related to the Benteng LD Cluster, while the D614G variant related to other clusters have not been proven,” he said.

“The Covid-19 infection clusters cases in Peninsular, Sarawak and Labuan that have been cause identified from Sabah have been given the prefix ‘Bah’. Starting from late September 2020 till today, a total of 25 clusters have been identified as caused from the infection in Sabah,” he added.

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Why it’s crucial to protect environmentally sensitive areas

Thursday, November 26th, 2020
This file pic dated Aug 6, 2020. shows the construction of the hotel and resort in Fraser Hill. - NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANGThis file pic dated Aug 6, 2020. shows the construction of the hotel and resort in Fraser Hill. – NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG

AS we were going through the period of limited movement and progress during the pandemic, we heard and observed how the environment surrounding us was healing due to better quality of air and waterways.

However, the nation was shocked by environmental exposés in the past few months. First, a controversial 15-storey hotel project on Fraser’s Hill caused a stir within the environmental circle.

Colloquially known as Malaysia’s Little England, this vintage town should receive better attention from the authorities in terms of maintenance of ecological and socio-cultural values and heritage.

During a recent visit to Fraser’s Hill, it was astonishing to visualise the environmental impact this proposed development would have not only on the site but also the surrounding vicinity. Physical damage, and associated risks and hazards are anticipated in a sensitive site like Fraser’s Hill.

The construction, which includes piling and transportation of materials by lorries and machinery, would affect not only the stability of the site and its immediate surroundings, but also the town, especially the small roads that link the population with the world.

Effluents and run-offs would not only affect the lake adjacent to the site, but would also spill over and affect the quality of rivers and channels, impacting other habitats, ecosystems and communities downstream.

The primary focus should be on improving the facilities and amenities of the township based on the critical needs of the community and the environmental carrying capacity of the area.

A second shocking revelation was made by media outlets on the uncontrolled conversion of mangroves in Manjong, Perak, for the development of aquaculture ponds.

Aerial images show that massive mangrove habitat loss and increased pollutants in the river has tremendous impact on water quality, including causing a major decline in the fish catch and income of people who rely on artisanal fishing.

Such loss exposes the whole coastal community to a higher risk from coastal and oceanic hazards and disasters, especially in the face of global climate change, which bring with it an increase in sea levels that lead to rapid coastal erosion, tidal flooding and saltwater inundation. This leaves the community vulnerable.

Both highlands and coastal forested wetlands like mangroves are classified by the authorities as Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs). ESAs are identified and recognised to ensure sustainable management of resources, as well as to maintain the sustainability of our natural surroundings.

Malaysia’s National Physical Plan (NPP) clearly define ESAs according to our environmental, physical, cultural and climate contexts. The NPP strictly advises that ESAs remain untouched and must be conserved or sustainably managed depending on the type, characteristic and level of sensitivity and importance.

ESAs are ranked in three categories.

RANK 1 ESAs: No development, agriculture or logging should be permitted except for low-impact nature tourism activities, and for research and education purposes. Areas ranked in this category include the existing and proposed protected areas, as well as important habitats such as turtle landing sites, salt licks, important plant areas, limestone outcrops and natural wetlands of high conservation value.

Rank 1 ESAs include water catchment areas where dams and proposed dams are located, and areas with an altitude of above 1,000m.

RANK 2 ESAs: These include other forests and wetlands outside protected area and areas with an altitude of between 300m and 1,000m. Sustainable logging and low-impact tourism are allowed in Rank 2 ESAs, but no physical development and agriculture activities are permitted.

RANK 3 ESAs: These include all marine parks, catchment zones for water intake and groundwater recharge, as well as areas with critical and significant risk of erosion, and areas with an altitude of between 150m and 300m. Minimal and strictly controlled development may be allowed in these areas depending on the type and intensity of the projected impact and constraints.

The guidelines in the NPP are very clear and justified. It then falls on the state governments as the landowners whether to implement these measures. Let us seriously reflect on the scale and magnitude of our actions today to not compromise the equitable needs of our future generations.


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Penang in list of ‘11 Best Islands for Retirement Abroad’

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
Penang’s largest city, George Town, is home to eclectic architecture, a vibrant art scene, and terrific street food. - NST/file pic.
Penang’s largest city, George Town, is home to eclectic architecture, a vibrant art scene, and terrific street food. – NST/file pic.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang has been named as one of the “11 Best Islands for Retirement Abroad” by International Living, a website that covers global retirement or relocation opportunities, earlier this month.

The other islands which made into the list were Mallorca in Spain, Ambergris Caye in Belize, Ireland, Roatan in Honduras, Isla Mujeres in Mexico, Malta, Isla Colon in Panama, Bali, Koh Samui in Thailand and Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic.

In an article published on today, a caption on Penang read: “Penang, off the coast of Malaysia, is former British Empire outpost with an English-speaking populace.

“Penang’s largest city, George Town, is home to eclectic architecture, a vibrant art scene, and terrific street food.

“As Penang is located in the middle of Southeast Asia, resident can easily reach other destinations in the region as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“A couple can live well on a monthly budget of between $1,500 and $2,500.”

International Living’s executive editor Jennifer Stevens had said that on each of the 11 islands they highlighted, it was possible to live comfortably on a modest income.

Stevens had also said that with a budget from $2,500 a month for a couple, it stretched quite nicely in places where life was simple and the pleasures of sunshine, sand and surf were included, all for free.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has taken to his official Facebook page to say that Penang was proud to be named alongside 10 other best islands for retirement abroad.

Aside from being known as a cultural melting pot, he said, George Town in Penang was also listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008.

“In addition to that, Penang has already been recognised as the street food haven by many visitors.

“Most importantly, our Penang Lang (the people of Penang) are warm and friendly,” he added.

Last month, Penang’s assam laksa made it into the list of “The World’s 50 Best Foods” by CNN Travel.

In June, George Town made it into the list of “The 10 Best Destinations for Digital Nomads”, with good cost of living, ample co-working spaces, good level of free Wi-Fi and friendliness.

The survey carried out by Storage Cafe, an online platform that lists self-storage units for rent, polled a number of digital nomads to whip up the list of the best destinations for remote workers.

It conducted research on the 100 most recommended locations based on 20 factors such as cost of living, quality of life, friendliness to foreigners, internet infrastructure, safety, healthcare, air pollution and entertainment.

By Audrey Dermawan.

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The world needs a treaty to regulate plastic pollution management

Monday, November 23rd, 2020
By some accounts, the oceans now contain 300 million tonnes of plastic, much of it pulverised to an invisible scale. - AFP file pic, for illustration purposes onlyBy some accounts, the oceans now contain 300 million tonnes of plastic, much of it pulverised to an invisible scale. – AFP file pic, for illustration purposes only

LAST week, the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur convened a webinar on plastic pollution’s contribution to climate change, part of a preliminary programme to next November’s world climate summit in Glasgow (COP26), co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Italy.

The webinar began with a video message from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who days before had announceda10-point national plan to reach net zero greenhouse emissions, including a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Ken O’ Flaherty, the British COP26 Regional Ambassador for Asia-Pacific and South Asia, then outlined the UK’s policy on marine litter and plastic waste. Derived from fossil fuels, plastics emit greenhouse gases throughout their life cycles.

From refining and manufacturing through post-use incineration, being sent to landfills and recycling, each stage produces significant greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Plastic is everywhere, from single-use cutlery, straws and water bottles to components in electronics, cars and spaceships.

It does not biodegrade, which is both a great quality and a cause for concern because about 12 million tonnes of it ends up in our oceans every year, the equivalent of a full rubbish truck every minute, according to Greenpeace. Plastics in the oceans originate from many sources — landfills, litterbugs, plastic microbeads in cosmetic products, and countless others.

By some accounts, the oceans now contain 300 million tonnes of plastic, much of it pulverised to an invisible scale. In a few decades, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish. We have been warned that plastic is now finding its way into our food. In recent years, marine plastic pollution has been put on the international agenda.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 14.1 states the need “by 2025, (to) prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution”. In 2017, the United Nations Environment Assembly urged the adoption of a new comprehensive treaty, noting that the issue wasn’t adequately covered in any of the 18 relevant international or 36 regional environmental agreements.

Last week, a UN working group met virtually to discuss the issue and more than two-thirds of UN member states, including the European Union, declared their openness to considering a new agreement akin to the Paris climate agreement or the Montreal protocol to prevent ozone depletion.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature members this month adopted a resolution calling for the world community to agree to a binding global agreement, supported by two million signatures on a public petition.

Hopefully the United States , a top world plastics producer that has stymied progress in recent years, will adopt a progressive stance under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

With about 1,300 manufacturers, Malaysia is an important global player in the plastic industry. In 2016, our exports totalled RM30 billion, with 2.26 million metric tonnes of resin used in plastics production.

Malaysia, however, is ranked eighth among countries on mismanagement of plastic waste.

One study estimated that almost one million tonnes of plastic waste were mismanaged, 370,000 tonnes of which may have been washed into the oceans.

When China banned most plastic waste imports in 201 8, Malaysia reportedly became an alternative destination for contaminated and mixed plastic waste that is difficult or even impossible to recycle.

To its credit, our government last January sent 150 shipping containers of plastic waste back to rich countries including the US, UK, France and Canada, insisting it won’t be the “garbage dump” of the world.

It is precisely because of this type of shenanigans that the world needs a global treaty to regulate plastic pollution management in a fair, transparent and equitable manner.

Besides returning illegal plastic waste imports, our Environment and Water Ministry launched a Roadmap to Zero Single-Use Plastic by 2030 and the Malaysia Sustainable Plastic Alliance is closing down illegal plastic recycling factories, and encouraging implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility Policy.

Make no mistake, many plastics today are a valuable mainstay of modern life. But their environmental consequences—for our oceans, lands and atmosphere — must be addressed.

It is gratifying to see the UK, where plastics had their humble origin in 1856, adopting a leading role. Malaysia should be ready to play its role as a leading country in the global south.

By Zakri Abdul Hamid.

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NST Leader: Innovate or face closure

Saturday, November 21st, 2020
Like the rest of the country, Zoo Negara is feeling the pinch brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and is left with only a few months before all its funds are gone. - NSTP/EFFENDY RASHID

Like the rest of the country, Zoo Negara is feeling the pinch brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and is left with only a few months before all its funds are gone. – NSTP/EFFENDY RASHID

ZOO Negara has been sitting proudly on nearly 45ha of prime land in Ulu Klang since November 1963.

It has, through many ups and downs over the years, received both bouquets and brickbats alike.

One thing, though, has remained constant: it is a popular destination for schoolchildren and families.

Now, however, Zoo Negara is facing its biggest challenge. Like the rest of the country, the zoo is feeling the pinch brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and is left with only a few months before all its funds are gone.

Zoo Negara is not a government entity. It is a private initiative managed by the Malaysian Zoological Society.

The government has provided funds over the years, but as the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry says, zoos are business entities and cannot forever rely on government funding. Zoo Negara, of course, is not alone.

Zoos the world over are facing the same problem. With no revenue from visitors,there are concerns about feeding the animals. Many governments have begun emergency funds for zoos.

The British government is one, although some reports say its emergency fund is restrictive in its requirements.

Even the world famous San Diego Zoo is facing problems and has applied for federal funding under the United States government’s Paycheck Protection Programme.

Some reports say some zoos may have to slaughter some of the animals to feed others.

Thankfully,nothing like that has happened yet. The pandemic will not go away for a while yet and even when it does, there is always the threat of a different one in the future.

What is needed are long-term solutions. Governments are bogged down by efforts to assist every level of society as all but some businesses are operating at losses. This is where the private sector must step in, to fund upkeep, research and set up gene banks. Financial institutions are one possibility.

They can sponsor or adopt some animals. Maybank and CIMB used to do just that, why not revisit the idea? Maybank’s mascot and logo, after all, is a tiger.

Take London Zoo for example. It receives no state funding, relying on membership and entrance fees as well as sponsorship. In August, Barclays offered a £20 million loan to the zoo for maintenance and upkeep.

The digital age has also given us another opportunity: crowdfunding. One zoologist says crowdfunding could encourage big companies to adopt animals. Such pledges could commit the companies to a monthly upkeep of several of the animals. Zoos should also engage the public.

Get their views so they can be involved in the process and have a chance to “own” some of the animals.

By allowing large numbers of people to individually invest in small amounts in ventures, such as giving schoolchildren maximum access to the zoo for field trips, especially children from rural areas, and discounts on entrance fees for people with special needs and the less fortunate, Zoo Negara will ensure even more support.

If people feel they are involved, they will take pride in doing what they can to save the zoo. In other countries, it has been reported that zoos have found creative ways to stay afloat, from live streaming to virtual fundraising.

What Zoo Negara should consider then, is innovate or face the possibility of closure.

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Avoid water activities during monsoon season

Thursday, November 19th, 2020
The Kelantan Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) has advised the public to avoid water activities following the monsoon season. - NSTP/File picThe Kelantan Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) has advised the public to avoid water activities following the monsoon season. – NSTP/File pic

KOTA BHARU: The Kelantan Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) has called on the public to avoid water activities throughout the northeast monsoon season.

Its director Md Salleh Sarbini said the unpredictable weather conditions since Tuesday evening may pose a hazard to those engaged in water activities at this time.

“The public should avoid beach outings such as going for picnics and swimming as well as using small boats to go out to sea.

“They are also urged to stay away from fast flowing rivers or waterfalls where strong undercurrents are likely to occur to prevent untoward incidents,” he said when contacted by Bernama, here.

Elaborating, Md Salleh said all officers and members have been put on alert in facing the monsoon season under the new norm following the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We have also carried out patrols at several main rivers, including at Rantau Panjang and Pasir Puteh. To date water level at the rivers is still at the normal range and the level at Sungai Golok is showing a downward trend,” he said.

He also advised the public to abide by instructions given by the authorities to evacuate to relief shelters (PPS), if their housing areas are flooded.

Earlier, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) issued an orange level bad weather warning with heavy rain expected to continue in several areas in the east coast states.

According to the Irrigation and Drainage Department, on its website (, as at 5pm yesterday Sungai Golok in Rantau Panjang recorded a reading of 4.74 meters (m) below the normal 5.00 m level.


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336 schools in Kelantan to serve as flood relief centres

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020
A total of 336 schools in Kelantan will be used as relief centres to accommodate flood victims, including those from Covid-19 red zones. - NSTP/ Sharifah Mahsinah AbdullahA total of 336 schools in Kelantan will be used as relief centres to accommodate flood victims, including those from Covid-19 red zones. – NSTP/ Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah

PASIR MAS: A total of 336 schools in Kelantan will be used as relief centres to accommodate flood victims, including those from Covid-19 red zones.

The schools, located in all districts in the state, have already been set up in anticipation of the coming monsoon season.

Kelantan Local Government, Health and Housing Committee chairman Dr Izani Husin said the schools would be among 539 flood relief centres set up this year for the purpose.

Apart from schools, community halls, vocational colleges and mosques have also been requisitioned as flood relief centres.

It is understood that the 539 relief centres can accommodate more than 200,000 flood victims.

Izani said he was briefed that preparations at all relief centres have been completed, including the setting up of tents and other equipment, in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

“The state government is satisfied with the preparations made by all agencies involved in flood management. I was briefed that it is 80 per cent complete, with the only issues left including tagging and partition works to separate the flood victims.

“It is extremely important that the SOPs are adhered to to prevent the coronavirus from spreading,” he told reporters after visiting SMK Lati here today.

Accompanying him were state Welfare, Family Development and Women committee chairman Datuk Mumtaz Md Nawi, state Health director Datuk Dr Zaini Hussin, and state deputy Welfare director Siti Nor Asma Mat Isa.

Izani said other rules that must be strictly followed include physical distancing, with each school classroom allowed to accommodate only four or five families.

“At the same time, 45 of the 336 schools will also serve as isolation centres to treat flood victims from red zones and also those displaying Covid-19 symptoms,” he said.

by Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah.

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