Monday, July 30, 2012

25 Everyday Techniques to Save Environment

Steps to reduce pollution

We all pollute the environment we live in, I do, and your dog does too. It’s very much in our control to reduce this pollution.

1. Go paperless, save environment. Sure you can’t stop advertisement leaflets coming in to your mail box (shouldn’t there be an environmental law to ban this practice, or at least, be made it mandatory to use recycled paper?) but, you can control the statements, updates and notices which you get from your financial institutions.

Select paperless as the mode of communication. Mostly all of them support this. It’s high time that all govt. agencies implement this too.

2. Stop using bottled water. This may be very hard for many, I understand. If it’s not that hard for you, start using re-usable materials and fill it up every time.

3. Stop smoking. Smoking creates pollution inside of your body and for the people around you. Even after hours of smoking, your kids can be recipients of harmful effects of your nicotine consumption.

    “The pollution caused by cigarettes does not stop in our bodies or the air around us; it also affects the land we live on and the water that we drink. Millions of cigarette butts are discarded on to the ground every day“.

4. Use less electricity. There are various options to save on electricity, I can write an entire post about this. The easiest of the ways is to use fan instead of an AC, if you can. Air drying clothes, letting sunlight come in the winter and blocking it in the summer are other easy options to try out at your home.

5. Use less gas. Bike to work, car pooling are the easier options you can try. There are various other effective ways to save on gas.

6. Recycle. Don’t just throw your old electronics and batteries to trash. Make use of local free recycling facilities. Dispose your plastic containers as well by separating them out from normal trash.

7. Use reusable shopping bags. It was my wife’s idea to start using reusable bags. They are made of cloth and need cleaning once a week. We eliminated a lot of plastics from our life this way. You can do the same.

8. Buy fresh local produce. Whenever you have option to buy from farmer’s market or local grocers, give it a preference. Processed goods take a lot of energy, first for processing part and then, the fuel consumption in transportation.

9. Save water. Sweet water is a scarce resource and it’s being depleted at a greater pace than earth is replenishing it. There are various ways to save water in everyday use from fixing leaky outlets to adjusting the timers on sprinklers.

10. Use emails and eGreetings. Unless you are already using it, what’s preventing you from going ‘e’ route? Apart from being environment friendly, it also reduces effort required to pass your message across.

11. Use ceramic cups. Instead of plastic, paper or Styrofoam, the ceramic cups can be used over and over.  This reduces the impact on the environment and on your budget.

12. Print less. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to print, refrain from doing so.  When you do have to print, consider printing on both sides of the paper.

13. Refuse receipts. I understand this is just small savings of paper use here, but every little bit helps! Use credit/debit card to pay at the stores and decline the printing of the receipt. Your purchase is documented in your statements any way. If required for taxes, you can easily access the information.

14. Reuse and re purpose. whenever possible, re-use the containers, cartons and envelops. Oh, your tooth-brush as well! For cleaning my sports shoes, I use old tooth brushes, it goes in to the grooves perfectly.

15. Use energy-efficient bulbs. In the long run they save a lot of money and energy. Best are the LED bulbs, even fluorescent light bulbs consume 1/3rd (or lesser) of the energy of incandescent light bulbs.

16. Use clothes more than paper. Reduce paper usage by using cloths to wipe your hands or the things you normally wipe with paper towels. My home is paper towel free and I use old dresses to make wipe cloths. Do you know something called handkerchief?

17. Use microwave.  I am not sure if you can bake cakes in a microwave. Last time I checked, my wife also didn’t know. But, she could tell me 100′s of other dishes that can be cooked in microwave. Use microwave more often to reduce your carbon footprints.

18. Leak proof your home. Ensure you are not losing warmth or cool through leakages, by having your home properly insulated and window and door seals checked.  By doing so, you are saving energy and money.

19. Replace air filters. AC air filters for your home and car, if replaced regularly, can save a lot of energy which in turn can save you money.

20. Consume less. This is for your financial good as well. Live simply, use your furnitures and clothes until they can’t be used any more. If possible, check out used items on Craigslist or garage sales.
Steps to absorb pollution

21. Plant trees. Your garden/patio or balcony, do you have space anywhere? Grow plants, grow flowers, and attract honey bees wherever you find a place for a pot. If you have a garden, you can go on a green mission by planting as many trees as your yard or garden permits. A good-looking home and better place to live, for sure!

22. Donate to organizations that help planting more trees and work towards a better planet. I am a member of Fairchild Botanical Garden, here in Miami, FL. My membership dues go to green causes.

23. Pickup and deposit pollutants. Whether at home, at work, at local super market or while running or jogging, if you find a pollutant like plastic or Styrofoam on your way, pick it up and put in a nearby trash bin.

24. Volunteer in anti-pollution drives. Many cities here in south Florida organize periodic beach cleaning events. Thousands of volunteers donate their time towards these large-scale environmental cleaning events. Check in your local area for opportunities like this.

25. Have indoor plants. Indoor plants and aquatic plants (in aquariums) are very efficient in cleaning the inside air pollution of our homes.  Think about it, by spending a little money to green up our homes we are improving our health as well. In the long run, these efforts should pay off in terms of better health.


Sustainable Seafood Awareness Event in Penang

To create awareness among local hoteliers and seafood suppliers for the need to sustain our seafood supplies for the long run, Golden Sands Resort, in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia), the Penang Aquaculture Association and GST Group, held a Sustainable Seafood Awareness Day at the resort recently.

The event was graced by the guest of honour, YB Tuan Law Choo Kiang, State Executive Councillor for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Flood Mitigation who delivered the keynote address. There were also speeches by Bruno Cristol, General Manager of Golden Sands Resort, Dato’ Goh Cheng Liang, Executive Chairman of GST Group of Companies, Chairman of Penang Aquaculture
Association and President of Marine Fish Farmers Association of Malaysia. WWF-Malaysia made two presentations covering the Status of Fisheries in Malaysia and Sustainable Seafood Consumption. There was also a short video presentation of the docu-movie, “End of the Line”.

Guests were invited for a fish tasting session comprising of fish from wild catch, fish sourced from a fish farm and fish from a hatchery to compare and taste the difference to test the guests’ palate.

“In conjunction with World Oceans Day and Coral Triangle Day which fall on 8 June and 9 June respectively, this event is an initiative in supporting a sustainable fishing industry amongst our stakeholders. Golden Sands Resort is the first resort in Penang to initiate such an event and we hope to set a good example to other hotels to do the same,” said Amelia Lim, the resort’s Corporate Social Responsibility Executive.

Golden Sands Resort, Penang was recently recognised by the Coral Triangle Initiative Regional Business Forum for its partnership with the Marine Fish Farmers Association of Malaysia in support of sustainable fish farming, and consumption. Whenever possible, the resort serves sustainably harvested fish. Sustainable fish farming and fishing practices allows for the consumption of fish that is not sourced through indiscriminate trawling and other destructive fishing or unsustainable fish farming methods responsible and sustainable fishing methods include well-managed hook and line, gill-nets and traps while sustainable fish farming refers to fish farms which embrace best management practices in their operations.

The support from Golden Sands Resort, Penang is a crucial boost for the local sustainable fishing and fish farming industry. This will encourage the long-term management of natural resources in a sustainable manner. Gradually, the resort hopes to obtain its entire seafood supply from sustainably harvested sources.

In line with the sustainable and environmentally friendly path that the resort is heading for, the resort is also offering a Sustainable Seafood Buffet which features two species of fish from the green list of WWF-Malaysia’s Save Our Seafood (SOS) guide.

Read more:

Miss Sabah Earth 2012 conserves environment

KOTA KINABALU: The organisers of Miss Sabah Earth 2012 hope to teach the finalists of the competition about the benefits and ways of conserving the natural environment in Sabah through fun yet educational activities.

The 12 finalists spent a day in Tamparuli on Tuesday, visiting various eco-tourism venues and trying out the activities, all whilst learning about the history and how the place sustains itself from, and gives back to nature.

Starting the day with an adrenaline rush, a visit to Zip Borneo had the girls climbing up 18 meters and then zip-lining across the river on Sabah’s longest zip-line, then climbing the same staircase for some abseiling or high rope challenges.

During the tour of the ‘Rumah Terbalik’, or Upside Down House, the finalists were told the story behind the concept of the house, and the eco-message of not turning the environment ‘upside down’.

The last destination was Kampung Poturidong in Kiulu, which welcomed the Miss Earth Sabah finalists with traditional delicacies and activities such as walking across the hanging bridge, feeding fish in the river and planting trees.

Traditional instruments were played as the finalists did an impromptu sumazau dance and mingled with the VIPs and guests.

On Monday, the finalists attended talks by Daniel Doughty from Borneo Conservancy entitled ‘Conservation and Environmental Issues in Sabah’ and ‘Confidence Through Public Speaking’ by Richard A Gontusan, DTM Toastmasters International.

Doughty posed thought-provoking questions, gave the girls a group exercise asking them to discuss what development meant to each of them, as well as advised them that it is never too late to start going green, and to take their newly gained knowledge beyond the competition.

Gontusan gave examples on how to pull in your audience with a good speech with humour, while emphasising on the importance of good body language, eye contact and pronunciation.

Each finalist was also given the opportunity to get personal feedback from Gontusan.

In the evening, the 12 finalists took to the cashier counters at Giant Hypermarket in City Mall to participate in a ‘No Plastic Bag’ challenge.

They were all required to encourage shoppers to use less plastic bags and use eco-friendly bags in support of a healthier Mother Earth.

The purpose of the challenge is to create public awareness of the No Plastic Bag days already implemented by the Sabah government.

Other than that, Miss Earth Sabah wants the finalists to be educated on the benefits of using less plastic and carrying their eco-friendly bags instead.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded the subsidiary title Miss Eco Giant.

Miss Earth Sabah 2011 Olivia Vun made a pledge to WWF not to use plastic bags or bottles for a year, and she hopes this year’s winner will do the same.

The finalists also joined Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun for high tea at Silk Garden, Sutera Harbour on Monday, which was hosted by the Sabah Tourism Board.

Masidi emphasised the importance of good communication skills, especially public speaking when it comes to being an eco-ambassador.

Also present were Datuk Irene Benggon Charuruks, general manager of Sabah Tourism Board, Miss Mandy Nandu, the organising chairperson of Miss Earth Sabah, and Olivia Vun.

The grand coronation of Miss Earth Sabah 2012 will be held on June 16 at the Magellan Sutera Resort Grand Ballroom.

Tickets are available at RM200, RM300, and RM500.
For enquiries please call 017-8933822.


Photo source:

Warrior names for collared proboscis monkeys

KINABATANGAN: Two male proboscis monkeys were given warrior names after they were fitted with tags by the Sabah Wildlife Department’s (SWD) Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC).

Jibius Dausip from WRU and the expert darter of the team, explained the two animals collared in Menanggul tributary and on the Kinabatangan river, near Sukau, weighed 23 and 19 kgs, respectively, and were named Monso (short for Monsopiad who was a Kadazandusun warrior and a famous headhunter) and Gambu (short for Gambunan who was a Dusun group leader from Tambunan).

Danica Stark, PhD student at Cardiff University and DGFC, said the aim of the satellite tagging programme is to understand the ranging patterns of proboscis monkeys and the factors impacting their movements and density in order to determine the adequate amount of habitat available in order to sustain a continuous viable population in the Kinabatangan region.

“As the collars record locations automatically, it is collecting movement data that is completely natural and not influenced by human presence.

“Moreover, the collars are set with a drop-off and therefore the monkeys will not wear them forever.
The drop-off is set to release the unit after 52 weeks,” added Danica.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said the project was funded by Sime Darby Foundation (Malaysia) and Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation (USA).

“The support for the palm oil industry is extremely important.

Yes, mistakes have been made in the past, like in every country in the world during their economic development, but it is never too late to realise where we have been wrong and I believe that in Sabah the industry, the government, NGOs, wildlife conservationists and local communities can work together to make a better environment for our wildlife,” said Goossens.

SWD director Dr Laurentius Ambu said this project is extremely important for the conservation of the proboscis monkeys in Sabah.

One of the main outputs of the programme will be the first State Action Plan for the species and its launching at an international workshop on the conservation of proboscis monkeys in Borneo that will be organised in Kota Kinabalu in two or three years.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Help Green Sabah get 500 Likes!

Cheaper, cleaner gas for SMEs launched

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Energy Corporation Sdn Bhd (SEC) has embarked on a new technology to supply compressed natural gas via a virtual pipeline system.

SEC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Harun Ismail said the RM13.3 million virtual pipeline system is an economical approach to make natural gas, which is a cheaper and environmentally friendlier fuel, to a broader spectrum of customers whose premises are located at distances as far away as 70km from SEC’s existing premises at Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park.

The launch of the virtual pipeline system by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday made Sabah the first state in the country to offer compressed natural gas at a price that is up to 50 per cent lower than that of alternative fuels.

With the system, capital intensive underground pipelines that are traditionally used for gas distribution can be avoided and the reach of customers can be extended, Harun told reporters during the launching ceremony yesterday.

He said that so far, the response to the system has been very good and SEC expects to have another two to three companies coming on board soon.

“This system is recommended to SMEs which has boilers and factories and uses high level of burning fuel,” Harun said.

Asked if the system could be extended farther than the 70km radius, Harun said they have to set a limit because of the logistical constraints, such as the road system.

“This is a virtual pipeline, we need to supply continuously as if there is a pipeline there, so if we go beyond 70km, we would not be able to meet the requirement unless the road system is improved,” he explained.

According to Harun, the technology provider of the virtual pipeline system is GNC Galileo of Argentina, where the system has been used for over 20 years, while similar systems are being used in other parts of South America.

GNC Galileo will be working with its Malaysian agent Frugas Synergy Sdn Bhd and SEC in providing continuous technical back-up for the system, he said.

SEC has a complete team of trained and competent engineers as well as technicians to not only operate the system but also assist customers in their studies to convert their existing equipment to use natural gas.

“It does not cost much to convert the equipment but in the long run, the savings will be higher,” he said.

Commenting on Musa’s hope that SEC will expand this system to the east and south of Sabah, Harun said the gas that will be landing in Lahad Datu is LNG, not natural gas.

“We might be using a different kind of technology, not CNG because in Lahad Datu, the gas landed will be in the form of LNG, so therefore we need to go in a different mode of system. But this is too early to discuss.

“We are working with our partner and once the LNG landed in Lahad Datu, we probably would be able to cover the district, Tawau and Sandakan,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said he would like to see sectors that use highly polluting fuels to seriously consider switching to natural gas.

“By doing so, we can all enjoy a cleaner environment,” Musa said.

He pointed out that natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel compared to other types of fossil fuel, so using natural gas would therefore translate into less pollution.

“This is very important when viewed from the context of the State Government’s focus towards ensuring that its growth sectors practise initiatives that stress on environmental protection and sustainability, he said.

“Such a move also fits in with our focus on promoting Sabah as an eco-tourism destination,” he said.

On the project, Musa said he was happy to note that SEC has taken the initiative to introduce the technology in Malaysia.

“Apart from the fact that our state will be the first in Malaysia to adopt this approach, I take note that natural gas, a resource that is so vital to us here in Sabah, can be brought to a wider spectrum of users,” he said.

Also present at the launch were Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Resource Development and Information Technology Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai and Sabah Energy Corporation Chairman Au Kam Wah.


Govt firm on shark hunting and fining ban – Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: The state government is standing firm on its decision that shark hunting and fining activities in Sabah must be banned.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the proposal for the total ban had been brought to the state cabinet which unanimously agreed to the prohibition of such activities.

“There are no two ways about that and we have made our stand before. The state government has made a decision and we hope the federal government will respect that decision,” he said during a courtesy call by representatives from NGOs who would be participating in the shark ban public forum today in Semporna.

The state government, he added, was ready to help push for the ban to be implemented.

According to Masidi, the law banning shark hunting and fining had to be incorporated into federal law, which was why the state government had asked its federal counterpart to look into the provision of its Fisheries Act.

He assured shark protectors that the state government, on its part, was also looking at whether Sabah’s Wildlife Enactment could be used in providing a blanket protection order on sharks in our waters.

However, he urged those pushing for a ban on shark hunting and fining to pay a courtesy call on the federal minister, deputy minister in charge of fisheries or the director-general of the Fisheries Department to bring their attention to the issue.

“You can tell them that you are representing the youths and this is what they want,” Masidi stressed.

On worries by retailers, restaurateurs and fishermen whose income depended on sharks, Masidi said the state government was a responsible one and would ensure that these people had ample time to adjust to the ban on their activities.

“I still hope that those who oppose the banning of shark hunting and fining will see the benefits of this. They must realize that if there are no more sharks in Sabah, many more people will lose their jobs and businesses.

“The scuba diving industry is a multi-million dollar one and its spin-off into other areas of the tourism sector like food and beverage is also huge. No more sharks means no divers will come to Sabah and then who will patronize their business premises?” he asked.

Masidi also lauded the initiative by the group to start a petition for the setting up of a Semporna Shark Sanctuary and was of the opinion that it was a good step towards the ban on shark hunting and fining activities.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Sabahan first runner-up in Miss Malaysia Earth

KOTA KINABALU: Nineteen-year-old Deidre Ann Walker made Sabah proud when she became the first runner-up in the national-level pageant of Miss Malaysia Earth 2012 on July 15 at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh, Perak.

The runner-up was Kylie Wong from Perak, who bagged the Miss Malaysia Earth-Water 2012 title while Teoh Lee Miang from Pahang was the new Miss Malaysia Earth – Fire 2012.

Deidre, who was crowned as Miss Malaysia Earth – Air 2012, also swept two major titles throughout the pageant week when she was announced as the winner of Miss Earth Media Gorgeous 2012 and Miss Yee Hup 2012.

During the question and answer session, Deidre was posed a question on what role would she take up to reduce the pollution level in Malaysia.

The beautiful lass gave a brilliant answer by asserting that she would reduce pollution by enhancing local and international laws. She used the current haze problems in Sumatra as example.

She added that this problem could be tackled with a stricter enforcement of the international laws as she believes that human beings have the ability and authority to sustain and conserve the vital nature resources.

Deidre wrapped up her answer by urging all the guests who were present during the night with a thought-provoking quote – “Do not wait until the last tree has been cut, the last fish has been caught and only the last river polluted, then only mankind realizes that money cannot be eaten.”

Joanna Marie Faurillo and Xandria who also represented Sabah in the pageant, did not secure a placing in the top four. However, they still made it to the top 10.

All the Sabah representatives did very well throughout the whole pageant week and the grand coronation night.

Xandria won the first place in Miss Malaysia Earth 2012 – Best in Talent with her peacock dance, an elegant traditional Chinese folk dance while Joanna grabbed the title of Miss Charming look SUB beauty 2012.

Mandy Nandu, the director of MNE Productions, also the state organizer of Miss Earth Sabah, was really happy and extremely proud with all the achievements of the Sabahan girls.

Their roles will not end after the pageant because as the state organizer, she will ensure and arrange environmental programs and activities for the winners where they can contribute to the community of Sabah, especially in spreading the awareness of environment protection.

Mandy added that she was really happy the girls shared their knowledge and experience gained during the pageant week of Miss Earth Sabah 2012 with the other contestants.

The other contestants were very impressed by the activities that they have done in Sabah and in another way, eventually the Sabah girls promoted the state really well to all the rest.

It is indeed what Mandy has always wanted, that is to send representatives of high quality, equipped with not just beauty but also talents and intelligence to compete in the national level.

The reigning titleholders dedicate their year as the Green Ambassadors to promote environmental projects and to address issues concerning the environment to the community of Sabah.



KOTA KINABALU, July 16 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional (BN) government will continue to provide a business-friendly and conducive investment climate, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said the state government would strive to achieve the desired result as well as to maintain positive economic growth.

"This is our commitment to the business community, and this will be done through the implementation of numerous policies and initiatives that are aimed at bringing more development," he said at the swearing-in ceremony of office-bearers for Gabungan Dewan Perniagaan Tionghoa Sabah here today. The text of his speech was read by his deputy, Dr Yee Moh Chai.

Musa said Sabah had in recent years seen a number of highly encouraging economic developments due to the hard work of the public and private sectors.

"I am sure most of you know by now that in the first quarter of 2012, we managed to attract private investments amounting RM10 billion. This is not something that happens by chance or by fluke. I believe the reasons why we managed to pull in a sizeable investment is because we have a stable and pro-business government that is careful in its spending," he said.

Musa said it could not be denied that the economic prosperity enjoyed by the people was the fruit of political stability and a government administration that "strives towards greater efficiency and transparency".

"These crucial factors are further strengthened with the spirit of unity, cooperation and harmony that exist among our people of diverse backgrounds. Staying united and respecting diversity are a way of life, and are positive traits that are further upheld through 1Malaysia introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Unity through 1Malaysia also helps create a conducive environment for businesses to flourish," he said.

He said the government was sensitive to the needs of the people, regardless of religious or ethnic backgrounds, and each year, the Sabah government allocated funds to the Chinese schools and places of worship.

Musa urged the people, particularly Chinese community, to close ranks, and give undivided support to government to ensure continued political, economic and social stability.

"The BN government works on consensus. We are open to constructive criticisms, feedback and ideas. Any problems and issues can be brought to the table for discussions," he said. -- BERNAMA


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

RM300,000 for Promotion of the Sabah Agriculture Park at Lagud Sebrang

Tenom: The Federal Tourism Ministry has approved a total RM300,000 for the promotion of the Sabah Agriculture Park at Lagud Sebrang here.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen approved RM100,000 for the Sabah Agriculture Park Orchid Festival beginning next year, aimed at promoting the park to both domestic and international visitors.

She also approved RM200,000 as applied for by the park management to provide information signage for all the new hybrid species in the park.

For the festival, she said the impact on boosting the number of visitors to the park would be assessed first to see if it could be continued.

Speaking during her maiden visit to the park here Wednesday, Ng said the park that was built in 1981 has about 350 orchid species in its collection and ranked as among the best in the region.

In fact, she said Malaysia ranked 12th biggest in the world in terms of its flora and fauna.

“We are a bit disappointed that the Sabah Agriculture Park is not recording the number of visitors so that we can monitor its performance.

This park is so mesmerising, furthermore there are so many flowers and herbs such as the clerodendrum,” she said.

On the information signage, Ng urged the park management to make it with quality with tourism features as an added attraction for the visitors.

Meanwhile, she said last year the tourism sector contributed RM58.4 billion to the country with 24.7 million arrivals and from among them three million came to Sabah producing a tourism receipt of RM5 billion.

“We hope the Sabah Agriculture Park will be able to cooperate with tourism agents to include the park as among the destinations in their tourism calendar.

“All the activities must be included in a package,” she said.

Hoteliers and homestay operators must also offer reasonable rates but most importantly the surroundings must be kept clean and equipped with facilities such public transportation, she said.

“Tourists prefer to stay in budget hotels rather than the luxury type,” she said.

Accompanying Ng were Sabah Tourism Promotion Board Chairman, Datuk Tengku Adlin, his deputy, Datuk Sari Suhut and State Agriculture Director, Datuk M C Ismail.

She was greeted by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Radin Malleh and District Officer, Siriman M F Basir as well as other senior government officers and local community leaders.

Pedestrian Walkway Projects to begin this year said CM

KOTA KINABALU: The first phase of the 25.3km pedestrian walkway project from Tanjung Aru to Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Likas would start this year, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said the project costing RM38 million and divided into four phases was one of three tourism projects identified in the implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) programme.

Speaking on Sunday night at the official opening of Sembulan River Park in Sadong Jaya which is under the purview of the Kota Kinabalu City Council (DBKK), Musa said another of the tourism projects was the Atkinson Clock Tower beautification project.

Located near Padang Merdeka here, Atkinson Clock Tower which was completed in 1905 is an important heritage site of the state. The beautification project estimated to cost RM12 million, is expected to commence next year.

On the Sembulan River Park project, Musa said it was a three-phase tourism project costing a total of RM45 million under the SDC.

He said with the completion of the riverfront project, the Sembulan area had changed face in tandem with rapid development in the surrounding areas and in keeping with Kota Kinabalu’s status as a natural resort city.

Musa said the state government, conscious of the financial burden and major responsibilities of DBKK, had allocated RM19 million for DBKK to carry out development projects and maintenance works compared to RM17 million last year.

He said these included garbage collection, maintenance of landscapes along the main roads and of drains and monsoon drains.

The Chief Minister also assured City Hall that the state government will always support its efforts to beautify the city and surrounding areas.

“I will assist and seek financing if not for all the beautification projects but for most of them,” he said.
Musa added that the state government would strive to increase its financial resources to ensure that all the beautification plans as well as programs are realized.

“We will implement projects that we feel are important and I believe that there are many areas with potential in the city that can be developed into tourist attractions,” he said, adding that the government always has the interest of the people at heart.

Musa said the Sembulan River Park also indirectly improves public facilities in the city and can be a tourist attraction for the state.

He also pointed out that Sabah’s political stability is among the reasons for the increase in tourist arrivals to the state.

“It is therefore very important that we preserve the existing unity and harmony so that more tourists will visit Sabah,” he said and stressed that no tourists would want to visit a place that is in turmoil.

Musa also said he was impressed with the changes in Sembulan which is now cleaner and more beautiful.
He praised City Hall for its continued effort as well as commitment towards the cleanliness, safety and comfort of the city.

Earlier, Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said DBKK planned to create a network of better pedestrian walkways in nearby areas, connecting such spots as the State Museum, Islamic Museum, State Mosque, Sacred Heart Church and the railway station which are within 10 minutes’ walk from the Sembulan River Park.

Biodiversity Conference Gives Cause for Rejoicing

By Hiroshi Nagai*

TOKYO (IDN) - "If Kyoto entered history as the city where the climate accord was born, Nagoya will be remembered as the city where the biodiversity accord was born," said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 

He was commenting the tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-10) that concluded October 29 in Nagoya, Japan. 

"History will recall that it was here in Nagoya that a new era of living in harmony was born and new global alliance to protect life on earth was established. History will also recall that this would not have been possible without the outstanding leadership and commitment of the government and people of Japan," he added.

"The outcome of this meeting is the result of hard work, the willingness to compromise, and a concern for the future of our planet. With this strong outcome, we can begin the process of building a relationship of harmony with our world, into the future," COP-10 president Ryu Matsumoto, the Environment Minister of Japan, explained.

These upbeat assessments sought to highlight that COP-10 achieved three inter-linked goals: adoption of a new ten-year Strategic Plan to guide international and national efforts to save biodiversity through enhanced action to meet the objectives of the CBD; a resource mobilization strategy that provides the way forward to a substantial increase to current levels of official development assistance (ODA) in support of biodiversity; and a new international protocol on access to and sharing of the benefits from the use of the genetic resources of the planet. 

The Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity -- also known as the 'Aichi Target', named after the Aichi Prefecture of Japan in which Nagoya is located -- adopted by the meeting includes 20 headline targets, organized under five strategic goals that address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, reduce the pressures on biodiversity, safeguard biodiversity at all levels, enhance the benefits provided by biodiversity, and provide for capacity-building. 

As part of these targets, COP-10 agreed to at least halve and where feasible bring close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats including forests. It also established a target of 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas.

It was agreed that Governments will restore at least 15 percent of degraded areas through conservation and restoration, and will make special efforts to reduce the pressures faced by coral reefs. The COP-10 parties further pledged a substantial increase in the level of financial resources in support of implementation of the Convention. 

The 'Aichi Target' will be the overarching framework on biodiversity not only for the biodiversity-related conventions, but also for the entire United Nations system, CBD stated in a media release. This overarching international framework is to be translated into national biodiversity strategy and action plans within two years. 

Actions in support will also take place at sub-national and local levels. The conference endorsed a plan of action on cities and biodiversity adopted by the Nagoya Biodiversity City summit attended by more 200 mayors. 122 legislators from around the world attending the GLOBE meeting on parliamentarians and biodiversity agreed to back the implementation of the new Strategic Plan. 

The importance of acting to conserve biodiversity also received support from the donor community. Representatives of 34 bilateral and multilateral donor agencies agreed to translate the plan into their respective development cooperation priorities. 

A highlight of Nagoya gathering was the multi-year Plan of Action on South-South Cooperation on Biodiversity for Development adopted by the 131 members of the Group of 77 and China. Conference sources consider this as "an important instrument at the service of the new vision". 

The conference also announced funding in support of implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity. Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced a USD 2 billion fund, the Environment Minister Matsumoto announced the establishment of a Japan Biodiversity Fund. Additional financial resources were announced by France, the European Union and Norway. Some USD 110 million were mobilized in support of projects under the CBD Life Web Initiative aimed at enhancing the protected-area agenda. 

Besides, financial support for the Strategic Plan will be provided under the framework of the resource mobilization strategy. Parties will work to define in time for the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2012 in India, the targets and mechanisms through which financial resources can be identified, unleashed and channeled, CBD said. 

Yet another highlight of CO-10 was that the participants adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization. According to CBD, this "historic agreement" creates a framework that balances access to genetic resources on the basis of prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits while taking into account the important role of traditional knowledge, 

The Protocol also proposes the creation of a global multilateral mechanism that will operate in transboundary areas or situations where prior informed consent cannot be obtained. 

The Nagoya Protocol is expected to enter into force by 2012, with support from the Global Environment Facility, amounting to USD 1 million.

While some 18,000 participants representing 193 Parties to the CBD joined the non-ministerial part of the conference, the high-level segment of the Nagoya Summit was held with the participation of 122 ministers and five heads of State and Government, including the Presidents of Gabon and Guinea-Bissau, the Prime Minister of Yemen representing the Group of 77 and China, as well as Prince Albert of Monaco. 

The significance of better integrating the biodiversity agenda with that of climate change and land degradation was covered in the dynamic programme of events and activities in which heads of agencies and international organizations discussed the ways that all three agendas could be implemented in support of sustainable development. 

*This article was written in Japanese, and adapted into English by Katsuhiro Asagiri. (IDN-InDepthNews/31.10.2010)

Monday, July 9, 2012

State can progress without dirty energy – SEPA

Posted on July 8, 2012, Sunday

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA) claimed that the state can move forward without the aid of dirty energy derived from a coal-fired power plant.

SEPA chairman Wong Tak said in his keynote address at the Institute Sinaran inter-school Environmental Day yesterday, that Sabah is the only state in the country not dependent on any coal-fired power plant for power and energy, and maintained that it possesses sources of green energy that could be tapped gainfully.

Citing Mount Kinabalu as a God given gift as various rivers start from its peak, Wong said, “it is blessed with rivers with fast flowing water that could be capitalised by establishing mini-hydro plants to generate power.”

He asserted that much of Sabah’s forest had been cleared for oil palm plantations and said, “We need to tap into the new technology offered to us in the form of biomass.

“A total of 1.6 milion hectares were cleared to make way for oil palm plantations, yet we waste the biomass and leave it to rot inside the plantations. These should be used to generate energy in Sabah,” he said.

Wong maintained that the state cannot avoid responsibility towards its environment in the 21st century.

“Business will not go on without clean and healthy environment. Our lives are linked with the eco-system, and we are part of it. To protect humanity, we have to look after our eco-system. We need to change our values, change the way we conduct our businesses, change the way we live,” he said.

Sabah has had its fair share of bad experiences in the past and the Mamut copper mine in Ranau was a prime example.

“Someone made a mistake and the people (living near the area) have to suffer forever for it. We should not allow these things to be repeated. This is our land and future, and we want to determine what sort of environment we want to live in,” he said.

Wong said SEPA was helping the local community in Tawau to address a current issue related to the Kukusan Forest Reserve, which has been re-classified to a Class II forest reserve.

He claimed that a foreign company has been allowed to enter the forest reserve to operate a quarry.
“It is another disaster in the making,” he said.

He however said that Sabah is still lucky because despite the exploitation of wealth by certain quarters, it is still blessed with diversity in its ecology.

“After decades of exploitation, we still have the best,” he said, urging the young to voice up their concern where the environment is concerned and to become a part of managing the nation.

“Across the world, young people are coming together to ensure their authorities hear their words because the future belongs to the younger generation,” he stressed.


Exploring the benefits of a green economy in the Heart of Borneo

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. More than 500 hundred representatives of business, government, civil society and multilateral development organizations gathered in Kota Kinabalu, Nov 15-16, for one of the largest conferences on the Green Economy ever held in the Asian region.

Entitled, “Sabah Heart of Borneo (HoB) Green Economic Development - Engaging Business for Environment”, the opening session highlighted the strong Malaysian government and institutional support for green economic development in the HoB.

The conference was opened by the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Hj. Aman, who emphasized the importance of the green economic approach for meeting both development needs, as well as protecting bio-diversity and achieving sustainable use of Sabah’s forest reserves.

“This year we celebrate the international year of the forest with a focus on sustainable forest management under the impetus of a green economic approach,” he said.

“For Sabah this is not just talk we have many success stories of forests that are certified and have allowed us to continue to create jobs. Sabah is also involved in the Malua Biobank, a public/private partnership which shows some of the benefits that a green economic approach can provide in the Heart of Borneo,” he said.

Datuk Sam Mannan, Director of Sabah Forestry Department (SFD), underscored the State government’s support for the development of green economic thinking in Sabah, as well as the role of WWF and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in stimulating the debate around green economy issue.

“The green economy is all about development with social and economic links – for people, planet and profits,” he said. But green economy ideas must be economically feasible and bring returns above Business as Usual. “What is the use of having ideas if you do not have the money to carry those ideas out?” He asked the audience.

A direct response to this challenge was met with the announcement at the conference of two new initiatives to support Sabah’s development of a green economy. A new cooperation agreement signed with the Agency for Remote Sensing Malaysia, to support Sabah’s REDD+ program and a cheque from Cymao Plywood SDN BHD for RM200,000 to SFD for its Forest Conservation Fund.

Datuk Sam Mannan ended his address with a note to the future, highlighting the work of WWF and its plans to showcase the development of a Green Economy in the Heart of Borneo, at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil next year.


A green economy in the Heart of Borneo on the world stage

UN Resident Coordinator for Malaysia & UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, Mr Kamal Malhotra, commended the SFD on its focus on a green economy, particularly in the lead up to the Rio 20+ conference in June 2012, which would elevate these issues to the world stage.

He said whatever the definition you choose for a green economy, there is no doubt that applying green economy concepts such as improved energy efficiency and renewable energy production could provide employment and economic growth, while reducing pressures on natural resources.

“It can drive technological improvements and also provide mechanisms to help prevent the destruction of nature by highlighting the benefits we obtain from environmental services,” he said

Mr Malhotra concluded by highlighting the need for a roadmap for the development of a green economy to be prepared - not just for Sabah and the Heart of Borneo - but for all regions wishing to build a green economic future.

Adam Tomasek, Leader of WWF’s Heart of Borneo Initiative, said he was encouraged by the leadership of the Malaysian government to advance the understanding and the implementation of a green economy in the Heart of Borneo.

“Bringing scientific, business and investment leaders into the same room with policy makers is an example that must be replicated if the Rio+20 Summit is to be successful next year. WWF will continue to support the multi-stakeholder process to develop green growth initiatives that deliver lasting conservation and sustainable development in the Heart of Borneo,” he said.

The two day conference convened by the Sabah Forest Department and co-hosted by WWF and UNDP will attempt to demystify the green economy concept by:
• Gaining a common understanding of the real meaning of Green economy as against Business as Usual.
• Understanding the economic contribution of HoB’s natural capital to the State Development Agenda
• Sharing knowledge on green economy incentives and the policy mechanisms needed to encourage these activities.
• Map out a strategy, or road map, for a consolidated approach to realizing a green economy in the HoB landscape.

Sabah Dairy Industry has Potential says Deputy CM

KENINGAU: Sabah’s dairy industry has the potential to produce high-value cheese, butter, yoghurt, ice cream and milk powder as well as Sahiwal Friesian dairy cattle for export, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin.

The private sector, as proposed in the Economic Transformation Programme, could play a role in this and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, he said in his speech at the launch of anchor companies in the Dairy Cluster here yesterday.

Yahya, who was also state Agriculture and Food Industries Minister, said the state’s dairy industry began in the early 1980s with participating farmers owning two to five dairy cattle each under an initiative by the state Veterinary Services and Animal Industries Department.

Sabah now produces 10 million litres of milk a year and was the biggest producer of fresh milk for the School Milk and 1Malaysia Milk Programmes, he said.

“Fresh milk is also exported to neighbouring countries as well as Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, and the state’s dairy industry is set for further growth with the Keningau Integrated Livestock Centre (KILC) and Kota Belud Agropolitan Project,” he said.

Yahya also urged private and government-linked companies to invest in the state’s agriculture sector, including in bird’s nest farming, sea weed mini estates, fish cage culture, food processing, rice farming and cattle feedlots.


Photo source:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Kota Kinabalu's Wakid Wonder

KOTA KINABALU: A building resembling a wakid, the basket that Sabah’s ethnic Kadazandusuns use to carry their agriculture produce for generations, has become the first certified green structure in the state.

The RM16mil Sabah Art Gallery Conservation Centre in Luyang here has been accorded the silver classification from the Green Building Index Accreditation Panel.

On hand to receive the honour from panel chairman Boon Che We was state Tourism Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun who said the building’s solar pho­­­­tovoltaic electricity generating system produced 5% of its power needs.

“The building electricity demand would thus be 1mW less a year – saving 780 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted during that period,” he said.

Rainwater will also be harvested, thus saving up to 330,000 litres of potable water or 32% of the total annual consumption.

Masidi said other energy-saving features in the building included the use of efficient LED lights with motion sensors that would automatically switch off should visitors walk away from paintings or any other exhibit there.

“Automatic photo sensors have also been installed to integrate natural and artificial lighting systems to avoid unnecessary energy wastage.”

Boon said the centre was among 70 structures in the country that had been accorded the green certification.
Of these, 39 are new non-residential buildings, 25 residential ones and five structures that are green-retrofitted, one of which is the Prime Minister’s office.

Boon said the panel had received applications for green certification from owners of a diverse range of properties, including government and corporate offices, hotels, shopping malls, factories, hospitals and airports.


Photo source:

ENSEARCH Sabah set to protect environment

KOTA KINABALU: The newly set up Environmental Management and Research Association Malaysia (ENSEARCH) Sabah branch will be organizing a tree planting programme, its protem chairperson Datuk Adeline Leong said.

ENSEARCH Sabah will also be conducting training programs on air and water modeling, quality risk assessment and air pollution with the guidance of ENSEARCH KL, she added.

Leong, at the launching of the ENSEARCH Sabah branch by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Ministry Tan Sri Joseph Kurup yesterday pointed out that the protection of the environment is something dear to the organization’s heart.

“We all want to breathe clean air and drink. However we are confronted with the haze every year and our rivers are polluted with oil palm pollutant. This is intensified by global warming caused by too much carbon being released into the air.

“The setting up of ENSEARCH Sabah branch is timely as we intend to bring public awareness to this mounting problem and in our own small way, help minimize the impact of human activity on the environment.

“Planting trees and conducting training on environmental management are two ways we are starting off with,’ Leong added.

Meanwhile ENSEARCH Malaysia President Abdul Aziz Long said that the Sabah branch is the first one outside Klang Valley.

“Since its establishment, ENSEARCH has always sought to raise the standard of environmental professionals in Malaysia and to raise the level of environmental performance in the private sector.

“At the same time we also believe in a consultative process with the public sector and civil society. Our vision is to make more Malaysians environmentally aware of their surrounding and committed to taking personal responsibility to manage and mitigate the impacts of their corporate, professional and daily living activities on the environment.

“As a capacity building NGO in the environmental field, we would like to act as an enabler to Malaysian environmental professional’ growth,” he stressed.

Source :

Japanese children help rescue Sabah wildlife

KINABATANGAN: Schoolchildren in Japan have come to the rescue of endangered and “trapped” wildlife here by donating money to help buy forest land and prevent groups of the species from being isolated from each other.

The rescue of Sabah’s endangered pygmy elephants and orangutans is already paying off with sighting of animals crossing over from one area to another after having been corralled in increasingly smaller areas by the growing presence of plantation and timber companies.

A 6.2-acre plot of land, identified as a key ecological corridor for elephants and orangutans in Lower Kinabatangan, was recently secured by Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) with financial support from Fukuyama Zoo, Japan.

According to Dr Toshinori Tsubouchi, chairman of BCT Japan, funds for the land purchase were donated by schoolchildren from Japan who are keenly aware of the plight of the Bornean elephant through educational talks held by the BCT Japan in their schools.

He said Fukuyama Zoo’s concern over Bornean elephant conservation in Lower Kinabatangan led them to spearhead a fundraising campaign for the land purchase.

Sabah Wildlife Department director, Dr Laurentius Ambu, in a joint statement with BCT, expressed his appreciation to Fukuyama Zoo for its effort and support in securing this “link” to re-connect fragmented forests in the state.

The purchase of the land, he said, was “an achievement and another positive step towards the department’s vision to secure the ecological corridors for the wildlife population”.

This particular plot will allow the migration of elephants from one part of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary to another.

Raymond Alfred, BCT’s head of conservation and research, explained that this concept or model could be duplicated in Sabah as long as corporations know where and how they can contribute.

Vital links
Alfred said that part of BCT’s plan to secure the “links” is to get the participation of the commercial sector such as agricultural developers and product suppliers in conservation efforts. This way, they would know how their contributions are used.

“Through implementation of best management practices and restoration of riparian reserve, we would like to see re-established the vital wildlife corridors linking key habitats and protected areas to the larger forest landscape in Segaliud Lokan, Malua and North Ulu Segama”, he said.

The sighting of an “older” male orangutan using a bridge spanning Sungai Resang in Lower Kinabatangan last month, proves that such structures and corridors are vital links between habitats and populations.

Primate researcher from Kyoto University, Yosuke Otani, who observed the crossing on a bridge made out of used fire hoses from Japan, said it took the primate about 30 seconds to cross over without any difficulty.

The unhindered crossing excited wildlife experts here with Ambu re-emphasising the importance of such corridor in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

Alfred said that two orangutans were also observed using another crossing built by Hutan and BCT in Sungai Menanggul.

Improving and retaining the existing riparian reserve along the Kinabatangan River will allow species such as elephants and orangutans access to food sources and establish crucial genetic links between populations.

BCT is among a group of organisations racing against time to assist Sabah wildlife authorities improve habitat connectivity for the orangutans in Lower Kinabatangan. It is also hoping to re-establish a long-term biodiversity corridor with the help of land developers such as plantations and timber companies.

Alfred said that BCT is working closely with several major stakeholders to develop a follow-up plan to re-establish a biodiversity corridor from the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary to other continuous forest reserves such as Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve, Malua Forest Reserve and North Ulu Segama (Bukit Piton Protection Forest).