Sunday, April 28, 2013

Esscom boosts agriculture too - Ongkili

Kota Marudu member of parliament cum Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) implementation would strengthened the security hence resulting in an increase in confidence and ease of doing business.

He said the expansion of agricultural activities would result in the towns, which provide farm supplies, getting more vibrant, adding that the tourism sector would also benefit.

He also told that the district should always have a clean environment, as well as be free of illegal businesses, vice activities and illegal immigrants. 
Besides that, Ongkili advised the council to always be ready in facing disasters like floods by following standard operating procedures.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

385 campaign materials in KK removed – Mayor

Political parties are warned not to nail their election materials on trees and at locations that could endanger the safety of the public or motorists.
Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said City Hall had on Tuesday taken down 385 election materials of a political party at Gaya Street and Tanjung Lipat that did not comply with the requirements, but he declined to reveal the party.

“What we don’t want is to have posters or flags nailed to trees,” he said after the Anzac Day memorial ceremony at Jalan Tugu here yesterday.

Abidin said political parties were not allowed to nail their election materials on trees and flowers because it was expensive to plant and maintain the trees.

He said political parties had been reminded of the conditions as they obtained their permit from City Hall.

Abidin stressed that the election materials put up, especially at road shoulders and roundabouts, should not pose safety risks to the public and motorists.

Political parties which failed to comply with the conditions in the permit will have their deposits forfeited, he warned.

The deposit for a parliament constituency is RM2,000, while that for state is RM1,000.

He said there was a task force comprising the police, Public Works Department (PWD), Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and City Hall with specific jurisdictions to look after.

For example, SESB will take down election materials on transformers and cables, PWD responsible for roads while the rest is under City Hall.

“My advice (to political parties) is to leave the trees and flowers alone, irrespective of small or big trees because it is very expensive (to plant and maintain the trees),” said the mayor.

Source: Borneo Post

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Save Fuel, Simply

Follow these simple tips to save on CO2 emissions and fuel. Every gallon of gasoline burned produces 19 pounds of carbon dioxide (25 pounds when you count the energy that went into making and distributing it), so every gallon really does make a difference.

We live in an impatient world, so we know it can be painful. But obeying the speed limit saves gas. So does maintaining a constant speed: Rapid acceleration and braking can decrease fuel economy by 33%.

Combine trips and try to avoid rush hour because of the stop and go nature of traffic. Flooring the gas pedal can waste gas, so drive less aggressively. 

Forget warming up: Today's cars don't need to. Keep your tires properly inflated and keep your car tuned up. If you want to know how the gas mileage impact of your current car compares to a hybrid, check out this calculator.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CM: Exploit oil and gas but mind the environment

There is an air of excitement in Sabah’s oil and gas industry as the State takes an increasing role in the development of this highly lucrative resource. As large oil companies such as PETRONAS, Shell and Murphy Oil plan their business strtegy to make the most of Sabah’s oil and gas, the State Government is losing no time in developing the infrastructure and industrial facilities required to accommodate the business sector’s needs.

“Within the next five years, the oil and gas downstream processing industry is projected to act as a major contributor to Sabah’s manufacturing sector and to the State’s overall socio-economic sector,” according to Chief Minister Musa Aman in his opening speech at the 2nd Sabah Oil and Gas Conference today.

In his speech delivered by Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, the Chief Minister said the decision by major oil companies to establish large-scale oil, gas and energy projects in Sabah is indicative of the sector’s commercial viability.

Ongoing oil and gas projects in Sabah include the Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT) at Kimanis, the Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline, the 300-megawatt gas-fired power plant in Kimanis and Lahad Datu, the granular urea and ammonia plant (SAMUR) in Sipitang and the re-gasification plant in Lahad Datu. Together, these projects are expected to generate approximately RM18 billion worth of investments and create about 23, 000 jobs.

“SAMUR alone, which will come on-stream by 2014, is estimated to bring in about RM4.5 billion worth of investment value and provide over 2, 000 jobs,” Musa added.

Another ongoing project is the development of the Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (SOGIP). SOGIP is expected to rake in about RM30.6 billion in investments.

According to Tan, the response for SOGIP has been positive with many major investors already showing interest on the development.

The benefits of SOGIP will also extend beyond financial gains, as the development of SOGIP will transform Sipitang and its surrounding districts, Musa said.

However, the Chief Minister stressed that although the government is pursuing a rapid development of the industry, it will not do so to the detriment  of the environment. “We seek the commitment of investors in the various growth sectors to act responsibly not only by conforming to existing safeguards and rules but also to seek new ways and technologies to lessen the damaging impact on the environment,” he said.

About 220 delegates were in attendance at the Oil and Gas Conference. The two-day conference will feature speakers from the industry and is aimed at giving participants an in-depth view of the oil and gas industry in Sabah. - Insight Sabah

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pygmy elephants’ death due to ‘toxic poisoning’ - SWD

Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has confirmed that the death of the 14 Bornean pygmy elephants in Gunung Rara earlier this year was due to toxic poisoning.

However, SWD director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said it was still yet unknown what type of toxin was responsible for the deaths and whether it was administered deliberately or accidentally consumed by the elephants.

On allegations that the department was ‘hiding’ the matter from the public, hence its silence, Dr Laurentius stressed that they are not hiding the matter, in fact they cannot simply say anything because they need admissible evidence. The department would not able to prosecute anyone if there were no concrete evidences.

He said the samples were sent to various institutions in Malaysia and to Mahidol University and Ramathibodi Poisons Centre and the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science in Thailand. Samples were also dispatched to the Queensland Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory in Australia. There was also a delay of one month in the sending of the samples to Australia due to the country’s strict rule on the matter. SWD is still waiting for the outcome from tests carried out in Australia and they are expecting it to be out by the end of this month, added Dr. Laurentius.

Meanwhile, there were no takers for the RM120,000 reward offered for information leading to the prosecution of those responsible for the death of the pygmy elephants. Dr Laurentius said several individuals had actually turned up, claiming to have information but upon told that they have to meet with the investigating officer, they disappeared. The reward will only be given when the successful prosecution of the perpetrator.

UMS aims to become a ‘Low Carbon City’

In line with the government’s aspiration to reduce the carbon footprint by 40 per cent in 2020, more than 60 per cent of the land area in Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) is made up of landscaping plants and natural forests to allow for the natural absorption of carbon.

UMS vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah said the carbon absorption process would make UMS to be known as a ‘Low Carbon City’ since each road is surrounded with shady trees.

In addition to this effort, the School of International Tropical Forestry (SPTA) at UMS has started stocking and absorption of carbon by tree planting in the university grounds since 2006.

The forest and agricultural trees were planted as carbon absorbers, not only serving as Plants Bank but also used as learning and teaching location besides being a source of income for SPTA. Meanwhile, the agro-forestry at SPTA was seen as a model for sustainable development.

SPTA was praised for its courageous move in choosing Dryobalanops lanceolata (or pokok kapur paji in Malay) as the school’s official tree. Pokok kapur form the rainforest tree community that contributed to Sabah’s economic development in the early 80s whereby Sabah exported logs as construction material to Japan and Europe. However, as the number of pokok kapur is on a decline, the awareness of its importance in terms of economic value and ecosystem function drove SPTA to choose pokok kapur.

Harun also added that in 2012, all first-year students planted their own ‘foster tree’ as a symbolic gesture during the orientation week.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Joe, the orphaned pygmy elephant calf is doing well

It has been three months since Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) sad discovery at Gunung Rara where 14 pygmy elephants were found dead – one of which was Joe’s mother.

The elephant calf, who has since been given nicknamed ‘Joe’ by his caretakers, is healthy and well. All thanks to the love and care of staff and his preferred caretaker, Augustine David.

Augustine said Joe is active and naughty. He is 150kg now, where he gained 50kg since his arrival. He is still nursing and given three litres of milk every two hours.

SWD chief veterinarian Dr Sen Nathan said that ‘Joe’ would probably stay with them for several more years. Efforts to rehabilitate him back to the wild will probably take place when he is about five years old or six.

Sen said this would be the first elephant rehabilitation programme in Sabah and they could not guarantee if it will be successful. Currently, Joe probably thinks he is more human than elephant since he is cared for by a human thus it will be difficult to rehabilitate him to the wild.

The elephant rehabilitation programme will take place at the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary in the Kinabatangan.

Public urges “No Plastic Bags Everyday” campaign

‘No Plastic Bag on Monday Campaign’ was launched in June 2010 with the aim to reduce plastic bag usage in the city. Not long after that, it has been extended to three days a week, including Saturdays and Sundays.

The campaign had attracted many participants and a total of RM267,090.86 has been collected by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall through the sale of plastic bags to shoppers since its ‘No Plastic Bag on Monday Campaign’ was launched.

According to the City Mayor, Datuk Abidin Madingkir, the money was given to the Environmental Action Centre (EAC) to carry out its environmental programmes.

Recently, the “3R Programme: Zero Waste for a Greener Environment” was launched and Abidin said the campaign was well received by consumers. There were also proposals from the public to extend the campaign from the present three days a week to a daily basis.

Abidin has encouraged shoppers to bring their own bio-degradable plastic bags, which not only save cost but also contribute to environmental conservation by reducing pollution.

Friday, April 19, 2013

We must reduce, reuse, recycle

A FEW weeks ago I took two of my nephews fishing. One was 14 years old and the other 15. Sad to say, the fish were not biting. So, to keep them from feeling bored, I started telling them about the days when I used to follow my father fishing.


I told them about how clear and clean the sea was. You could hardly see rubbish floating on the surface. But now, whenever there is a change of tide, one can see plastic bottles, polystyrene cups, polystyrene food containers and plastic bags of different sizes and colours floating past our boat. Next, I told them about how big our catches were, and how, when I was about their age, I caught a 4kg grouper.

Looking up, my nephew spotted a fish eagle circling above an island about 150m away from our boat. The locals call this small island Pulau Burung. I remember at one time just before sunset, the island would be so noisy with the sound of birds coming home to roost.

But what surprised me was when one of my nephews said: "You are so lucky to have been born early, because you had a chance to enjoy all nature had to offer."

This got me thinking: we must preserve God's creation for the future generation to enjoy. But, a lot of people would say: "I am just one person, how much can I do?"

I like what the late Michael Jackson said in one of his songs -- it starts with the man in the mirror.

We can start by not throwing rubbish indiscriminately. The rubbish will find its way into a drain or river and eventually into the sea. We should also follow the 3Rs diligently: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

While biodegradable plastic bags are becoming available, most of the plastic bags still take years to begin to break down. When and if this process starts, toxins in the bags leach into the environment, poisoning everything around them. Plastic bags that end up in oceans are a huge hazard to marine life. The bags can wrap around the necks or fins of marine animals or be swallowed by them.

Sea turtles, especially, mistake plastic bags for food (such as jelly fish) and eat it. This causes blockage in their digestive system and eventual death.

The piles of plastic waste threaten wildlife and natural areas, making the world a less beautiful and healthy place. In addition, cleaning up the trash costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of ringgit.

In 2011, Astro, under its Kasih Beautiful Malaysia programme, planted 777 individual corals at Ribbon Reef in Tun Sakaran Marine Park near Bohey Dulang Island, Sabah.

This year, Astro returned to Sabah to clean up Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Kota Kinabalu. Astro aimed to break the Guinness World Record for the longest underwater clean up. (The record was achieved for 168 countinuous hours)

As individuals we might not have the money or the time to do something like what Astro did, but we can still do our small, but very important part: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Lionel Perera, Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan

Source: NST

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sam: Speed up probe into death of elephants

KOTA KINABALU: Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Sam) is concerned over the slow progress of investigation into the death of the 14 pygmy elephants at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Sabah in late January.

Until today, no results or findings have been released. The authorities have yet to determine whether they were poisoned deliberately, said Sam president S M Mohd Idris.

“How long does it take for experts to obtain answers to the death of the elephants?” he asked.

Sam calls on the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister and Wildlife and Natural Parks Department to release their findings as the public has a right to know the cause of the deaths.

“With the threat to wildlife in our forests, what percentage of elephant habitat remains? Even the fate of protected forests remain uncertain as they can be converted into reserves with a large chunk filled with new settlements, villages and agricultural land. Traditionally such tracts have been routes through which elephants have roamed,” said Idris in a statement yesterday.

In the case of oil palm plantations, he said they are often adjacent to wildlife habitat and the only routes available for elephants are through villages and fields of farmers, who bear the brunt of the conflict.

With so much land devoted to plantations, the elephants’ natural habitat has shrunk, he said.

As a result, an increasing number of elephants are entering newly developed areas and incurring the wrath of plantation companies, farmers and villagers, the consequence of which is death by poisoning, he added.

“We hope the authorities are conducting an in-depth investigation to prevent a recurrence.

“Efforts to improve the balance between the needs of elephants and an ever-expanding plantation sector, plus a growing human population, have to be taken seriously,” he said.

Idris also said there is a need to reduce the level of conflict between human activities and elephants, and enhance community engagement in the conservation of elephants and their habitat.

He pointed out that poisoning of elephants is the most cruel form of treatment carried out by those whose only intent is to avenge the loss of crops without understanding that elephants need space to move.

“Sam looks forward to the results of the investigation and we call on the authorities to step up their probe into finding those responsible for the death of the elephants, and for them to be penalised,” he added.

Source: Borneo Post

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Saving sea turtles from extinction

SEMPORNA: The younger generation need to be educated on the importance of maintaining the sea turtle population in the waters around Sipadan and Mabul islands off the Sabah coast.

Dr Pushpa Palaniappan, a senior lecturer of Borneo Marine Research Institute, University Malaysia Sabah, who expressed this opinion, said while the communities along the coastal regions were beginning to understand the need to preserve the sea turtle numbers, it took time to change the general misperception people had on conservation.

In fact, the sea turtles were on the verge of extinction because of apathy towards saving them from dying out, she added.

The main factor is the selling and eating of turtle eggs. For instance, some poor families sell turtle eggs to earn a better income.

Apart from this, callous fishing methods trap the turtles in nets, causing them to drown.

The turtles would also become sickly and thinner through “food poisoning” if they ate too much plastic thrown into the sea by the irresponsible people.

The turtles usually mistook plastic bags or sheets floating on the surface for jelly fish which form part of their natural diet.

Generally, sea turtles are on their eve of destruction due to habitat and nesting site loss, pollution, predation, over hunting and a lack of understanding of their important role in maintaining the equilibrium of the ecosystem.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Malaysia) plays a vital role in providing awareness education programmes on preserving sea turtle population for the younger generation.

In this regard, Dr Pushpa thanked the government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and society in general for their co-operation and help.

She was in Semporna recently to attend a prelude event of World Turtle Day 2013 held at Uncle Chang’s Resort on Mabul island.

Programmes for catching, measuring and tagging turtles were organised for the guests.

World Turtle Day 2013 will be held on May 23 to bring attention to, increase knowledge of and respect for turtles and tortoises as well as encourage human actions to help these marine reptiles survive and thrive.

The Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI), Universiti Malaysia Sabah – in collaboration with Uncle Chang’s Resort, 1Borneo Ballroom Sdn Bhd and The Borneo Connections Sdn Bhd – plans to commemorate World Turtle Day 2013 by conducting an underwater census of the resident sea turtle population in the waters of Mabul.

The turtles will be caught, photographed, measured, tagged and returned to the sea.

The objective is to create public awareness and enhance education, research and conservation of the sea turtle population in the area.

The organisers will open the event to Resort guests to give them hands-on experience on sea turtle research. Primary schools in Mabul will also be invited to observe World Turtle Day activities there.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun will officiate at the event.

World Turtle Day in Mabul will be an annual event to be included in Sabah tourism calendar to encourage participation from domestic and international tourists.

This long-term project will enable BMRI to collect annual growth rate data on the sea turtle population in Mabul for conservation purposes.

Sea turtles are highly migratory sea-going reptiles, believed to have existed since the Triassic period, about 200 million years ago.

They are air-breathing animals that spend most of their life in the sea. Most have a similar life cycle. The baby turtles enter the surfs upon hatching and are only seen again as juveniles at foraging grounds.

Once they have reached maturity, they will migrate to their natal beaches where the females will lay numerous clutches of eggs in the sand.

The turtles will return to their foraging grounds at the end of the nesting season to prepare for the next reproduction season. The interval between seasons can range between two and seven years.There are three species nesting in Sabah – the green (chelonia mydas), hawksbill (eretmochelys imbricata) and the olive ridley (lepidochelys olivacea). The numerical ratio between green turtles and hawksbills is 10 to one.

Two other species – leatherback (dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead (caretta caretta) also traverse the waters of Sabah, migrating from their foraging grounds to their nesting beaches on the surrounding islands.

Pushpa disclosed her research team had found 126 sea turtles in 2010-11 and 12 more in 2012 at Sipadan.

Sea turtles live up to 70-80 years on average while the younger ones (average age 10 years) are called juveniles. The height of their breeding season is between July and November.

Uncle Chang, founder of Uncle Chang’s Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge, is very supportive of World Turtle Day and plans to hold it annually.
He hoped other companies would support and participate in the celebration to help preserve the sea turtle population in Mabul.

Uncle Chang will set up 120 resorts on another two islands – Mega and Kalapuan – this year to promote tourism, especially on the east coast of Sabah.

His management team has done a lot to preserve the natural resources of the area and also embarked on beautification projects to attract tourists to Sabah.

Semporna’s tourism sector statistics showed a drop in arrivals three weeks ago due to the intrusion of Sulu gunmen but the situation has returned to normal.

According to Uncle Chang, all the stakeholders, including the government, have vital roles and responsibilities in boosting the tourism industry in Sabah.

“This is important for the economy of the state and the nation,” he said.

Source: Borneo Post

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praise for Sabah’s forestry policy growing popular

HATS OFF: Short-term unsustainable logging is out and long-term management is in.
SABAH is fast becoming a trailblazer in sustainable forest management.   This is evident from the numerous accolades, notably from the United Nations, World Wildlife Fund  Malaysia, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Prince Charles Charity, for the success of its forest conservation efforts.

With the global community looking at Sabah as a fine example in tropical rainforest protection and management, several forest conservation-related international meetings and conferences were held in the state over the past few months.
At one of them, the United Nation Development Programme's resident representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Kamal Malhotra, described Sabah as a model of sustainable forest management not only for Southeast Asia, but also the world.
 "What is happening here (Sabah) is closely monitored by those who are interested in sustainable development," he   said.
In recognition of Sabah's  efforts, the UNDP has agreed to fund a RM14 million project on multi-use forest landscape planning and management at a 260,000ha active production forest area at the Kalabakan-Gunung Rara forest reserve  in Tawau.
Echoing Malhotra, WWF Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma commended the visionary leadership of the state government under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman for its political will and for "walking the talk" in implementing programmes and initiatives to protect and conserve the environment.
"Sustainable development will determine if we get to keep this planet, and Sabah, with the leadership that it has, will be able to keep this part of the world intact," remarked Dr Dionysius.
Sabah's forest conservation effort has also attracted the attention of   Charles, the Prince of Wales, whose  foundation is involved in funding numerous rainforest conservation programmes.
State Forestry director Datuk Sam Mannan was recently invited by the prince to share Sabah's success in sustainable forest management at the WWF Global Forest Trade Network (GFTN) Anniversary Forum in London.
It is heartening to note that these strict  practices have helped Sabah improve the way it manages its forests.
This was evident particularly in terms of phasing out short-term logging licences that did not adhere to sustainability principles.
Through new practices, long-term forest management plans were designed and reduced-impact logging was introduced.
The state also started giving priority to the protection of High Conservation Value Forests, which are home to diverse wildlife and plants, and also serve as watersheds.   By committing to sustainable ways of logging, Sabah has also  safeguarded the interests of local communities whose lives depend on the forest.
Switching from conventional  logging to sustainable harvesting  was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions the state government had to make.
This was due to the fact that Sabah was hugely dependent on timber for revenue, and opting for sustainable forestry management means making sacrifices such as losing short-term monetary gains, and doing away with old ways of logging.
Time and resources were instead allocated to finding the best ways to harvest timber without negatively impacting the environment and communities.

The most practical and pragmatic ways of doing things are continuously addressed as Sabah learnt newer things from its experience in sustainably  managing forests.
Despite uncertainties when the state embarked on the bold decision to push for a sustainably harvested forest, it has passed the litmus test and has proven the doubters wrong.
"For Sabah, this is not just talk. We have success stories, among them the Deramakot Forest Reserve which has been certified as a well-managed forest under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme," Musa said.
From the Deramakot experience, Sabah  expanded sustainable forest management practices statewide  in 1997, allowing it to continue creating jobs and revenue and at the same time preserving its forests and biodiversity.
The practices are now well accepted and the goal of the Forestry Department to attain full certification for forest reserves by 2014 has started yielding results.   To date, Sabah has 839,477ha of forest  under some form of certification.

Of this, some 373,620ha have been certified as well-managed by   the FSC.
This includes the recently certified 50,070ha Tangkulap forest reserve and the Ulu Segama and Malua forest reserves covering a total of 241,098ha. The Malu reserve is particularly significant as it is  expected to help conserve a habitat for orang utans.

Source: NST

Monday, April 15, 2013

Deramakot Forest Reserve, the certified well-managed forest

Deramakot Forest Reserve is the first natural tropical rainforest in South East East Asia managed in accordance with good forestry practices.  It was audited by SGS - Forestry Malaysia and certified in September 1997 as complying with the requirements of the Malaysian Criteria and Indicators (MC&I) for Natural Forest Management (NFM) and the Forest Stewardship Council'sTM (FSCTM) (FSCTM SGS-FM/COC-000065) Standards for Responsible Forest Management.


Realising the reality of forest depletion, the Sabah Forestry Department with technical support from the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) of Germany, have developed a management system aimed at responsible production of timber for logged over forestlands in 1989.  The system requires substantial investments in forest planning, infrastructure, low impact harvesting equipment, and training of foresters, managers and forest workers in new techniques.

The objective is to begin with the application of ecologically and scientifically acceptable forest  management to the logged-over Commercial Forest Reserves of Sabah.  The intent is to manage the commercial forest reserves in a way that mimics natural processes for production of low volume, high quality, high priced timber products in a sustainable manner.  Sustainability is defined in terms of balance nutrient cycles, forest structure, biodiversity, forest function and socio-economic needs.

Deramakot FR was chosen as the model forest for best forest management practices.

Why Deramakot?

Deramakot Forest Reserve  is 55,139 hectares of Mixed Dipterocarp Forest.  The forest had been logged at least once with subsequent silvicultural treatment (i.e. poison girdling) before the commencement of the project.  Past forest management practices have resulted in a very heterogeneous stand types and a patchwork of different  stocking conditions. Only 20% of the area is considered well stocked and more than 30% is covered by very poor forest with virtually no mature growing stock left.  Apart from some small human settlements that are located at the fringes of the Reserve, the entire forest area is uninhabited.

These have made Deramakot an ideal site as the model forest to demonstrate the best forest management practices before expanding the concept to other forest reserves in Sabah.  As dictated by the 2nd Forest Management Plan (planning period: 2005 - 2014), 51,642 ha of the area is set aside for log production and 3,423 ha for conservation and the remaining 18 ha under community forestry.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sabah makes it to the world records book

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah has made it into the World Guinness Book of Records, thanks to the world record feat of Astro Kasih, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Astro. 

The feat was achieved by more than 139 local and international volunteers who completed 168 hours of consecutive diving in the "Longest Underwater Clean-up" off Tunku Abdul Rahman Park from April 16 to 13. 

In revealing the world record Saturday, Guinness Adjudicator, Kirsty Bennet, said the divers collected a total of 3,008.22kg of rubbish, with the initial weigh-in of 3,171.56kg, from the 224 diving sites involved in the feat. 

"I had to go through the video footages and interview witnesses as I discovered there were incidences of some of the divers losing their nets during their dives," she pointed out, after announcing the successful feat. 

The divers had collected 1,526.12kg of plastic materials, 140.44kg of glass and ceramic, 5.35kg of paper and cardboard, 318.36kg of metal, 335.84 of rubber and clothes and 682.11kg of wood products. 

Astro's Community Affairs Vice President, David Yap, said most of the rubbish were collected near human settlements. 

Bennet hoped Astro would be able to keep the feat as it is the first of its kind to be inserted into the Guinness Book of Records. 

Astro Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Rohana Rozhan, said more than 800 divers applied to take part in the programme and it had been a tough exercise to select the divers. 

"This achievement is amazing, thanks to all the divers who had given us their support in making it into the World Guinness Book of Records," she said. 

The Longest Underwater Cleanup involved divers from Malaysia, France, USA, Lithuania, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Hong Kong. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Go for Greener Malaysia

To preserve the country's natural resources promised that it will enact a stricter and updated laws to prevent illegal logging activities in important and strategic conservation areas

To undertake preservation and reforestation programmes, and enhance education programmes to inculcate appreciation of the environment

To give financial incentives to commercial and private premises to invest in renewable green energy resources such as biomass and solar

To create more green lungs in major cities, and an increase in its allocations to revitalize rivers and streams, besides enacting stricter laws and by-laws

Above are among the Barisan Nasional (BN) 13th General Election manifesto which was launched by its chairman, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

To ensure the sustainability of our environment and its resources is very crucial.

The BN government previously has put many efforts in order to protect our environment and its resources by setting up the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation towards research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Besides that, the establishment of Green Technology Financing Scheme worth RM3.5 billion helps to provide soft loans to companies which contribute to the production and utilization of green technology-based products.

River of Life project which worth RM500 million was set up to transform the Klang River into a vibrant and livable waterfront with high economic value.

The BN government through its respective agencies and department has put up various efforts to sustain the environment and increase environmental awareness among the citizens.

Protecting the environment is a policy to make quality of life better for this and the next generation of humans. 

Everyone must persevere in upholding this great task for a better environment and at the same time recognize the need to improve knowledge, value, skills and tools to meet environmental challenges.

We in Malaysia are very fortunate because we are blessed with beautiful environment and bestowed with abundant natural resources.

Because of our rich biological wealth, the country’s economic growth and socio economic development have continued to depend largely on the utilization of its vast natural resources.

Therefore, it is time we realize that when the environment is at stake, it is best to put our political differences aside and work together for a lasting solution. Our environment is our heritage.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mushrooms Could Be Used To Curb Greenhouse Gases

A new study called Roots and Associated Fungi Drive Long-Term Carbon Sequestration in Boreal Forests has suggested that mushrooms might be a key to natural carbon sequestration. Mushrooms are capable of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air and safely storing it in forests – even after the trees die.

Northern hemisphere forests are a critical component of nature’s ability to remove carbon because they cover 11% of the Earth’s surface across Europe, Asia, and North America, and they contain 16% of all carbon sequestered worldwide. In the study, scientists examined how carbon sequestration occurs in northern boreal forests at 30 sites across Sweden. They theorized that Mycorrhizal fungi, a common type of root-based mushroom, is responsible for converting or sequestering a majority of all carbon pulled out of the atmosphere by trees in the northern hemisphere.

All the while we believe that most carbon pulled out of the air by trees winds up being stored in dead needles, leaves, and moss. But during the study, the scientists discovered between 47% - 70% of all sequestered carbon was being delivered to the tree roots as sugars and “eaten” by the Mycorrhizal fungi, which then expels waste residue into the soil.

Thus, a majority of carbon deposits are found at deeper levels in the soil instead of at or close to the forest floor. In addition, the researchers noted that many fungi act as decomposers and create a net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere – but Mycorrhizal is a notable exception.


Mushrooms A Complete Climate Solution?

This new finding could change the way we look at forests as carbon sinks in a warming world, because if most carbon sequestration occurs in soil instead of decomposing as dead plant matter on the surface, the overall net impact of higher temperatures and invasive pests killing trees may be lower than anticipated.

By itself, Mycorrhizal would be strong evidence of the fungal ability to fight climate change, but to truly appreciate the mighty mushroom we’ve also got to consider the contributions of the ancient Agaricomycetes, or white rot fungus.

So as a whole, fungi have not only stopped coal formation but are now helping deal with mankind’s addiction to fossil fuels.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Managing Sabah’s rich biodiversity through SaBC

Sabah is strengthening the management, conservation, protection and regulations of its rich biological resources through the establishment of the Sabah Biodiversity Enactment (SBE) 2000.

The SBE, gazetted in 2000 and enforced in May 2002, shall be the guiding framework with Sabah Biodiversity Council (SBC) and Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC) as government strategies in enhancing the governance of the biodiversity in the State.

The Enactment, and later with the formal setting up of SaBC, was due to the increasing concern and awareness for the need to manage Sabah’s biological resources for the state’s natural environment protection and socio-economic development.

According to SaBC director, Dr Abdul Fatah Amir, SaBC’s core activities include development of holistic and prudent biodiversity management strategy and sustainable optimum utilization in Sabah.

“SaBC will also promote education and knowledge of the biodiversity in Sabah as well as traditional knowledge and benefit-sharing of the biological resources.

“We will also be promoting the identification of new natural and biotechnological products derived from biodiversity and biological resources of the state,” he told Bernama.

He said SaBC had developed a platform to integrate information on State biodiversity. The state-funded project will cost RM1.9 million.

“This database system is to provide an integrating platform to store, integrate, presort, retrieve, share, access, analyze, infer, discover and report many heterogeneous across diverse domain aspects and voluminous biodiversity collection data from different key agencies,” he said.

Dr Abdul Fatah said, the state government through SaBC and UMS, has started a two-year (2013-2014) project to explore the state’s biodiversity for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical potential.

SaBC is also collaborating with the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) to establish the national Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (MyTKDL).

“MyTKDL is to protect the indigenous people’s traditional knowledge (TK) associated with biological resources in Malaysia.

“MyTKDL will be used as a resource by MyIPO patent examiners as a referral point in carrying out advanced prior art search and examination on non-patentable literature that deals with TK.

“SaBC has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with MyIPO last year, which will provide a platform for both parties to develop a mechanism in compiling and sharing relevant information to be incorporated into the MyTKDL,” he said adding that a State committee chaired by SaBC has been formed.

Source: New Sabah Times

Monday, April 8, 2013

Danum Valley Conservation Area


The Danum Valley Conservation Area (DVCA) covers 43,800 hectares and comprises almost entirely lowland dipterocarp forest. DVCA represents the largest expanse of pristine forest of this type remaining in Sabah. 

Lying on the eastern flank of DVCA is the 30,000 hectare Innoprise-FACE Foundation Rainforest Rehabilitation Project (INFAPRO) which is one of the largest forest rehabilitation projects in SE Asia. To the west of DVCA are the Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon Conservation Areas.

All of these areas are imbedded within the commercial forest reserves of the Yayasan Sabah Forest Management Area (YSFMA). The forest to the east and north of DVCA, which is at various stages of recovery after disturbance by selective logging, is easily accessible from the Field Centre; background information on its management history is held in the Danum library.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kasi Beach Clean-Up Project at Tanjung Lipat Beach

Photo: Borneo Post

Kasi (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd has organised the Kasi Beach Clean-Up Project as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well as a family day for the staff of the company.

100 participants turned up to clean up Tanjung Lipat Beach, from 7.30am to noon on Saturday and managed to fill 250 bags of trash.

Among the participants were members of Sabah Warriors’ Rugby Club comprising  young working adults as well as students from secondary schools like St Michael’s Secondary School and Maktab Sabah.

Kasi (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director, Walter J. Nair praised the participants' efforts and said they were the ones who would make a difference in making sure that the environment stayed clean.

140 volunteer divers aim Guinness World Record


About 140 divers are attempting to create a world record for the longest underwater clean-up programme organised by Astro Kasih under its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, Beautiful Malaysia.

This programme was officiated on Saturday by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman together with Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun at Gaya Island.

Also on hand were Senior Vice President of Broadcast and Operations, Astro, Rohaizad Mohamed and Vice President of Community Affairs, Astro, David Yap.

The clean-up programme will be carried out for a week at 14 dive sites surrounding the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park with the aims to create greater awareness on marine conservation as well as promote eco-tourism among Malaysians.

Guinness World Record officials would closely supervise the 140 divers aged 21-63 from Malaysia, France, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, USA, Lithuania, Switzerland, Hong Kong and the Netherlands whom would be taking turns to dive to collect rubbish underwater for 168 consecutive hours (night and day).

Astro Kasih has received an overwhelming response to participate in the underwater clean-up with over 700 entries from both local and international volunteers.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Indonesia, Malaysia Agree to Save Last 100 Sumatran Rhinos

Sumatran rhinos
Sumatran rhinos (Photo by Dedi Candra / Yayasan Badak Indonesia)
The governments of Indonesia and Malaysia today agreed for the first time to collaborate on saving the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino, the smallest and last form of the two-horned rhino in Asia that has lived on the planet for 20 million years.

The last wild populations of Sumatran rhino, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, amount to fewer than 100 rhinos in total. They survive on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and in Sabah, Malaysia on the northern part of the island of Borneo.

The agreement was reached at the Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit convened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) at the Singapore Zoo with a wide range of international and national organizations.

Experts gathered at the summit proposed a two-year emergency action plan as an immediate follow-up to the event. The two governments now need to formalize the collaboration and agree on the next steps to tackle the Sumatran rhino crisis, brought on by an increase in illegal hunting and consumer demand for rhino horn.

Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu, director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, detailed some of the initiatives the two countries will take to conserve the last Sumatran rhinos.

“We would like to reiterate Sabah’s commitment and our willingness to further discuss with Indonesia opportunities to exchange reproductive cells of the species, move individual rhinos between our countries and to employ advanced reproductive technology as a parallel initiative in the Sumatran rhino captive breeding program,” he said.

Dr. Ambu made this pledge to more than 130 rhino experts, scientists, government officials and representatives of nongovernmental organizations from around the world gathered in Singapore this week to address the Sumatran rhino crisis.

They made their plans in view of lessons learned from previous conservation successes of other rhinos and species such as the Californian condor, the black-footed ferret and Hawaiian forest birds.

“Serious steps must be taken to roll back the tide of extinction of the Sumatran rhino,” said Widodo Ramano, executive director of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation, Yayasan Badak Indonesia, a nongovernmental organization.

“This could be our last opportunity to save this species and, by working together as a collaborative unit, internationally and regionally, with an agreed vision and goals, a glimmer of hope has been clearly demonstrated,” he said.

“We need to act together urgently, hand in hand, replicating some of the inspirational successes of other conservation efforts and aim to stop any failures that might impede progress,” Ramano said.

“The Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit has been transformational by bringing together the two governments whose representatives committed to positive and proactive bilateral collaboration which is critical for saving this enigmatic species,” says Mark Stanley Price, chairman of the IUCN SSC Species Conservation Planning Sub-Committee.

“Huge progress has been made in specifying the resources needed to improve rhino surveys, security and monitoring,” said Price. “We have also explored the potential of new technologies and the role of integrating the management of wild and captive individuals.”

Summit participants were encouraged by the agreement, although the recent past history of rhinos has been bleak.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Aluminum recycling facts
  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest 
  • Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled ., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline
  • More aluminum goes into beverage cans than any other product
  • Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates
  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now
  • There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled
  • We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year
  • At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold
  • A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel. In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!

Source: Perstorp

Tree plantation to against deforestation

To maintain proper ecological balance and to against deforestation, we should carry out tree plantation. The activity of tree plantation is known as reforestation or afforestation, depending on whether the area being planted has or has not recently been forested. Tree plantation is mainly established for soil protection. Tree planting is carried out in many different parts of the world and strategies may differ widely across nations  and regions and among individual reforestation companies. Many forestry experts claim that the establishment of plantations will reduce or eliminate the need to exploit natural forest for wood production. Besides that, we planted trees because they remove CO2 from the air as they grow. Tree plantation might need big companies to established it but we also could make a difference by planting more trees on our own yard.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mayor: Factories and work sites must be kept neat and tidy too

Mayor Abidin Madingkir
Photo: Insight Sabah

In his bid to make Kota Kinabalu City cleaner, Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir urged those involved in the industrial sector including developers, manufacturers and suppliers to work together with the City Hall to keep their compound and premises neat and tidy.
Abidin, who spoke at the launching of the International Property Expo (IPEX) 2013 at the Sabah Trade Centre on Thursday, said that this can be achieved through a sense of commitment, strict supervision, education, discipline and organisation by all.
According to Abidin, he was informed at the recent International Design Conference in Sabah that proper waste management in the industrial sector and especially on construction sites can effectively reduce on-site construction waste by 70 percent.
Abidin said he was heartened to see that the anti-litter campaign organised by the City Hall has begun to bear fruit as more and more people are responding well to it.
"The corporate sector, the tourism sector, as well as schools now appear to be making a real effort to keep their grounds litter-free," he said.
Abidin said that the City Hall has worked relentlessly towards making the city and surrounding areas cleaner and has similarly introduced a proper waste management programme for villagers  living on the nearby islands and along the city's coastal areas.
"We at City Hall hope that through our efforts, we can influence the thinking of  the public, thereby cultivating the habit of  cleanliness," he said. 
Source: Insight Sabah