Archive for the ‘Environmental Education’ Category

Simple ways to save the environment

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018
Make conscious choices to reduce your water consumption. FILE PIC

SAVING the environment is easier than we think. You can do your part by changing your habits.

We can cut down on our energy and water usage, and change our eating habits to conserve natural resources.

We can redesign our homes to be more environment-friendly. Once you’ve changed your lifestyle to be environment-friendly, you can educate others to do the same.

Start with switching off household appliances that are not in use, such as lights, televisions, computers and printers.

Leaving devices, such as laptop chargers and toasters, plugged in can take up “phantom” energy. Even when an appliance is turned off, it still uses power because the applications in the appliance use electricity.

It is best to unplug appliances that you do not anticipate using in the next 36 hours, or more.

Trade in your dryer for a good, old-fashioned clothesline. Air drying leaves your clothes smelling fresh and is environmental-friendly.

Tumble dryers are among the biggest energy users in households, after the refrigerator and air-conditioner.

If you use a dryer, keep the vent clear for safety, as well as energy efficiency.

When using a washing machine, make sure you have a full load of clothes. Do not put a couple of dirty clothes into the washing machine as it will not help to conserve water and electricity.

You can hand wash clothes in the sink or buy an energy-efficient washing machine that doesn’t use a lot of water.

Run your air-conditioner sparingly. Air-conditioners use a great deal of electricity. Use natural ventilation or a fan to keep cool as much as possible.

If you do use an air-conditioner, set it to a slightly lower temperature than the outdoor temperature.

Remember that setting the temperature lower means using more electricity.

Conserve water. The average family of four uses about 1,500 litres of water every day. Make conscious choices to reduce your water consumption.

Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Install low-flow faucets (taps) or aerators, low-flow shower heads and low-flush toilets.

If you hand wash your car, park it on your lawn and use buckets and sponges. Use the hose to rinse. Use a hose nozzle to stop the water flow or turn the nozzle off between rinses.

If possible, use eco-friendly detergent.

Most of us are aware of the benefits of recycling. In these times, it’s good to save some money.

Recycling used materials like aluminium cans or glass bottles is a great way to cultivate the recycling culture in the home as it brings long-term benefits.

To encourage people to recycle, the government and independent organisations have introduced various programmes. Besides organising your garbage and recycling glass, metal or paper, there are many ways to contribute to the cause.


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School syllabus to include environmental issues next year.

Friday, April 13th, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Syllabus on the environment will be introduced in schools nationwide next year, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said the Cabinet had on April 6, approved its working paper to introduce the syllabus in 2019.

“A lot of ministries will be involved so that it will be comprehensive, from forestry, land, sea and air,” he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the syllabus would be taught from Primary One to Form Six.

He pointed out Malaysia would become the third Asean country to introduce the syllabus, after the Philippines and Vietnam.

“I am hoping all Malaysians will become environmentalists,” he told reporters after giving a keynote address during the last day of Asiawater Conference and Technology Symposium 2018, organised by UBM Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.

In his keynote address, Dr Wan Junaidi said it was important for issues on water and its sustainable use to not be politicised.
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Mixing knowledge with fun, TRUMS-style

Monday, April 2nd, 2018
Book lovers and nature lovers unite! Join the TRUMS book club gathering every

KOTA KINABALU: Despite their tiny size, ants play a vital role in the ecosystem by keeping the environment clean through their large colonies.

What they lack in size, they make up for in sheer numbers; and ants are known for their big appetites due to their diligence in feeding on organic waste including dead animals, their presence are essential to the well-being of the habitats in which they live. They also help with nutrient cycle, soil enrichment, control pests and pollinate plants and aid them in seed dispersal.

Among the numerous ant species are Carpenter ants, which make nests in dead or diseased wood, considerably accelerate the decomposition process of timber, leaving a trail of fungi and bacteria in their wake which help break down lignin and cellulose on larger surfaces.

These are some of the enlightening discoveries shared between members at the ‘Coffee, Books and Wildlife’ Book Club Session organised by TRUMS (Tourism Club UMS) on Saturday night.

With over 100 book collections on nature and wildlife, the lively book club event was joined by 14 avid book and nature lovers at the programme which was headed by Project Leader, Isyarah Hussin.

“In our second event, it’s been both an enriching and fun-filled experience for many members who meet fellow book and nature lovers to share their favourite past time together,” she said.

Isyarah noted the main objective of the Coffee, Books and Wildlife initiative is to nurture reading culture among the members of the public and to spur further knowledge of Borneo’s priceless wildlife.

Among those who attended the event include Dr. Tini Mohtar, The head of the Tourism Department of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and Founder of 1StopBorneo Wildlife, Shavez Cheema.

TRUMS utilised the private wildlife library of book collection of local wildlife NGO 1StopBorneoWildlife for the programme which was held on Tuesday, with participants allowed to select the reading material of their choice.


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Lights out as KK joins Earth Hour

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: It was lights out on the streets in the city as people from various backgrounds, including tourists, rallied in support of Earth Hour 2018 held here on Saturday.

Lights in buildings owned by City Hall were also switched off for an hour from 8.30pm in support of the fight against climate change.

The Earth Hour, which was also celebrated by countries across the globe, was organised by City Hall in collaboration with the Environment Action Committee Kota Kinabalu, WWF Malaysia and Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, with support from various other agencies.

“A clean environment is important to ensure the welfare of our community is maintained,” said Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah, who is also Minister in charge of City Hall, when launching the event. Also present was Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai.

Yong said pollution, indiscriminate forest clearing and climate change would result in an imbalance in the environment and ecosystem. “This in turn will cause numerous natural disasters such as floods, landslides and dry spells, among others.”

Therefore, Yong said, it is important to ensure infrastructure development goes hand in hand with environment protection.

Meanwhile, a total of 200 people, including the Mayor himself, took part in the “Earth Hour Bike Ride 2018″, which was among various activities held in conjunction with the event.

by Sherell Jeffrey

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Need to understand the importance of wetlands

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Education and awareness campaigns are the key towards helping the public understand the importance of wetlands, says Sabah Environment Department Director Tunku Khalkausar Tunku Fatimah.

“I believe that through education and public awareness campaigns, the message of the impedance of conserving the environment will reach the public. This event is an ideal way to create awareness and enable our younger generation to be more environmentally conscientious and to become stewards of the environment.

“I note with great pleasure that the theme for this year’s event is ‘Wetlands for a sustainable urban future’, which highlights the need for effective conservation of urban wetlands to facilitate an urbanisation that is sustainable and that makes cities liveable.”

She said this when launching the World Wetlands Day 2018 celebration at SWCS Likas, here, Saturday.

Khalkausar said this year’s theme was indeed very apt because Kota Kinabalu Wetland, located within 10km from the city centre, is the first urban Ramsar site (mangrove type) in Malaysia.

She said the Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society (SWCS) also deserved to be warmly congratulated for their admirable efforts at raising the bar, in terms of creating awareness and appreciation of wetlands, adding that their determination has also encouraged the Ministry to continuously support SWCS in many ways.

“Unquestionably, wetlands are among the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Many wetlands have been significantly destroyed in order to make way for development. As the demand for land increases, there is a tendency to encroach wetlands and convert them into dumping grounds, filling them up in order to build infrastructure on them, draining or burning them to turn them into plantations and many more.

“The people have been asked to understand the importance of wetlands in the ecosystem as there are still many unable to understand how it contributes to the ecosystem circle. Urban wetlands make cities liveable in many important ways.”

She said wetlands also reduce flooding, replenish drinking water, filter waste, provide urban green spaces and as a source of livelihoods.

“However, these benefits are not widely known and we need to educate people of all ages to understand how wetlands play an important part in our lives,” she added.

Meanwhile, SWCS President Datuk Zainie Abdul Aucasa said as the first NGO that manages a Ramsar site in Malaysia, they have been working diligently on conservation initiatives for more than a decade.

“In the performance of these functions, I can truly say that these years have been very challenging for us.

Conservation of the natural ecosystem in the urban area can be significantly different from conservation activities in the remote area due to the different set of challenges and opportunities.

“We (SWCS) support the conservation of wetlands that goes hand in hand with the wise use of wetlands, without being subjected to issues of over-harvesting and over-stressing our wetlands resources.

“It is sad when the level of people’s awareness on the importance of wetlands is still low and it is something that needs to be made right. Wetlands are the heart of an ecosystem and if the heart no longer functions, then the ecosystem will be affected and many species will be affected, including humans.”

Zainie said he was very pleased with the attendance of students from more than eight secondary schools, SM Maktab Sabah, SM ST John Tuaran and SM All Saints, to name a few.

“I am delighted to note that we have received more than 10 submissions from schools to participate in the Model Wetland Exhibition Competition and I heard from the judges that we have a hard time choosing the winners.

“All of the model wetlands were truly great and the presentations of each group were indisputably remarkable.

We are hoping that the initiatives undertaken during World Wetlands Day can greatly benefit the students and enable our younger generation to fully understand the importance of wetlands in the ecosystems.

by Neil Chan.

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Turtle landing on Labuan marine parks dwindle 33 per cent last year

Sunday, February 4th, 2018
The number of turtle landings on the Labuan Marine Park has declined by 33 per cent compared to 21 nests recorded in 2016. NSTP file pic/ MOHD ADAM ARININ.

LABUAN: The number of turtle landings on the Labuan Marine Park has declined by 33 per cent compared to 21 nests recorded in 2016.

The decline was due to a number of threats including the increase in the number of oil rigs that anchored close to the parks and uncontrolled fishing activities.

Labuan Marine Park director Anuar Deraman told Bernama the worrying situation must be effectively addressed to avoid the continuous decline.

“Despite the increase of 18 per cent in the hawksbill sea turtle landing on our marine park beach, the overall landing of turtles has declined, we hope we will not see the landing sites perishing,” he said.

The islands of Kuraman and Rusukan Besar are the homes for hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata), olive-ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) and green turtle (Chelonia Mydas), with 12 nests found on the beaches throughout last year.

“The bright light from the oil rigs at night can disturb the movement of these turtles to lay eggs on our marine parks.

“In addition, there were death cases of turtles reported by members of the public as a consequence of getting stuck in drift nets and hit by the boat engine propellers,” Anuar said.

He also disclosed the drifting timber found on the shore of the marine parks that occurred in October to February every year had also prevented turtle landings.


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Locals play big part in success of turtle conservation project

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

SANDAKAN: The Executive Committee of FOSTER (Friends Of Sea Turtles Education & Research) successfully launched its 4th community beach cleaning on Libaran Island yesterday.

Since 2014, FOSTER has been raising funds from environmentally conscious organisations for the cleaning up of Libaran’s shore line. The 1km shoreline is divided into 10 lots (100 metres for each lot) for organisations to adopt.

Upon collecting these adoption funds, FOSTER disperses these funds to the villagers. The rate of adoption is at RM100 per lot per month or a mere RM1,200 per year for the cleaning.

“I am glad that we have been able to continue this worthwhile project despite the challenging times economically. This year, as we have received lesser sponsors, we have regrettably reduced the area to be cleaned from 2km to 1km but we are glad that the programme is going on nonetheless said Alexander Yee, president of FOSTER during his launching speech.

“We are into the 4th edition, this project is important as it involves the villagers of Libaran and it signifies that the local community plays an important role in the success of this turtle conservation project added,” Yee.

During the 4th community beach cleaning launch, the son of the Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) of Kampung Pulau Libaran, Budi Rahmat Anduto attended on his father’s behalf as his father was not physically well.

Also present were the executive members of FOSTER, staff of Walai Penyu Conservation Parks and the villagers of Libaran.

“I am happy that FOSTER is launching the community cleaning for another year. It not only brings extra income to some of us, it also ensure a clean beach for the village,” said Encik Budie Rahmat Bin Anduto. “I certainly hope that FOSTER will keep doing this and more organisations will join in to help.”

As part of a turtle conservation program made available through the subsequent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sabah Wildlife Department in July 2013, FOSTER was involved in the setting up of a turtle hatchery on Libaran island in 2012.

The program includes creating awareness for the locals and visitors on the conservation value of sea turtles, undertaking research projects with the goal of better understanding the life cycle of sea turtles surrounding the Libaran Island area and to make available research programs on sea turtle for international and local students.

Since 2013 till Dec 2017, the turtle hatchery on Libaran has collected 20,022 Green Turtle eggs and 7,464 Hawksbill Turtle (totaling 27,486) eggs.


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Supermoon attracts 1,000 people in Kota Kinabalu

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

The total lunar eclipse phenomenon illuminating Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia tonight. – Bernama photo

The view of the moon through the live TV streaming screen as it is about to form a full total lunar eclipse.

An astronomy enthusiast observing the total lunar eclipse through his telescope.

KOTA KINABALU: Some 1,000 people from all walks of life had gathered at the Tun Mustapha Tower tonight to witness the ‘once in a blue moon’ event dubbed as the celestial triplet phenomenon.

The celestial triplet phenomenon is where a blue moon, a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse becomes visible in the sky.

According to Sabah Stargazers, a local association comprising of astronomy enthusiasts, Sabahans are lucky to have been blessed with one of the best views of the rare phenomenon.

“Sabah’s beauty is actually not just about its diving activities or Gunung Kinabalu. Sabah is also beautiful because of its magnificent skies,” its Outreach Programme Manager Emma Zulaiha Zulkifli said.

In Sabah, people are able to get an even clearer view of the skies, compared to the other states in the country.

“Sabah is the heaven of stars as it has the least amount of light pollution in the country,” she said.

“Tonight’s event is about the observation of the full moon eclipse. In conjunction with the said event, Sabah Stargazers had prepared live TV streaming and telescopes for guests who wish to observe the moon here at Tun Mustapha Tower,” Emma said, adding that the association had also provided a live recording of the event on its Facebook page.

Some of the guests had even brought their own telescopes for it to be shared with the public.

Apart from that, the event featured quizzes on astronomy for the guests, which were comprised of locals, students and even foreigners.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Haziq Fikhrullah Awang Majin, 16, who is one of the invited students at the event, said he was happy to have witnessed the rare phenomenon with his own eyes.

“I feel blessed to have been given this opportunity. The view of the moon tonight was certainly a blessing from God,” he said.

Since he goes to SMK Agama Tun Ahmadsyah, which is a boarding school, Haziq rarely gets the chance to go out and experience such programmes.

As a member of his school’s aerospace enthusiasts club, Haziq added that he was grateful to have learned more about his favorite subject, through last night’s event.

The total eclipse had begun at 8.51pm where the moon became completely red with the maximum eclipse phase at 9.29pm. This is when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow.

The overall eclipse is expected to end at around 12.08am on Thursday.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow).

This would only when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle.

A supermoon occurs when the moon is less than 360,000km away from Earth, and no special equipment is needed for people to view this phenomenon.

by Neil Brian Joseph.

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New species documented at Tawau Hills Park

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018


PROMOTING WILDLIFE … Pang (back row, 7th left) and Shavez (back row, 6th left) together with the wildlife survey team which includes members from 1StopWildlife Borneo among others.

TAWAU: A team of citizen scientists and avid wildlife enthusiasts carrying out a wildlife survey at Tawau Hills Park has documented new findings of lesser-known species of bats, frogs, birds inhabiting the biodiverse-rich rainforest sanctuary.

“The expedition has contributed significant findings noteworthy for the park. Up to date, there are more than 300 species of birds, 70 species of frogs and 90 species of mammals documented at the park,” said founder of 1StopWildlife Borneo, Shavez Cheema. Speaking at the recent dinner reception hosted by Assistant State Tourism Minister, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming in support for the expedition, Shavez said the wildlife survey was carried out by 1StopBorneoWildlife who are working closely with Sabah Parks on publishing a book on the Tawau Hills Park.

“It’s heartening to see strong interest, support and recognition from locals as well as foreigners on the importance to conserve and protect the natural environment and its inhabitants,” he added.

The team currently carrying out activities in documenting wildlife at the park during the 10-day expedition from Jan 23-31 also received assistance provided by experienced guides from local tourism company, Adventure Alternative Borneo on conservation work and developing new strategies for ecotourism in the park.

Among the main objectives of the expedition is aimed at promoting Tawau Hills Park as one of the main eco-tourism destination and conservation sanctuaries in Sabah.

“We deeply appreciate the contribution of the Tourism Ministry and Pang, who is also one of the main players keen to ensure the success of this wildlife expedition, and also a vocal supporter for conservation and education,” said Shavez.

He underlined the commitment of the team to further conduct biodiversity inventory at the park regularly, as per part of the vision of 1StopWildlife Borneo in promoting wildlife conservation, education, and tourism

by Mohd Izham Hashim.

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Lunar triple treat back after 152 years.

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

PETALING JAYA: Stargazers and astrophotographers will gather at the National Planetarium and several spots around the country tonight between 7pm and 10pm to catch sight of the very rare triple display of a “blue moon”, a super moon and a total lunar eclipse.

The three-in-one celestial phenomenon, which can be seen across Malaysian skies, last occurred 152 years ago in 1866.

National Planetarium scientific officer Mohd Zamri Shah Mastor said that several events are being organised for the public.

“It will be a good opportunity for Malaysians, especially the younger generation, to witness this extremely rare astronomical event.

“Barring cloudy skies, the people will see a slightly larger and brighter moon, about 14% larger and 30% brighter, on that night,” he said.

On the term “blue moon”, Mohd Zamri said the moon will not look blue, but it refers to the second full moon in a month.

“The moon will look yellowish white, but will gradually appear reddish during the full lunar eclipse, giving it the term blood moon,” he said.

National Space Agency director-general Dr Nordin Ahmad said there is viewing event at the National Observatory in Langkawi as well.

In Penang, the public can watch the total lunar eclipse at the promenade of Karpal Singh Drive (next to the four pillars) in Sungai Pinang from 7pm until midnight.

In Sabah, a viewing event will be held at the city’s 30-storey Yayasan Sabah tower today where stargazers can witness the eclipse that is expected to last five hours and 17 minutes.

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