Sunday, June 30, 2013

Littering Problems Cost Sabah Parks RM10,000 Every Month

Sabah Parks have to spend approximately RM10,000 each month to clean up the rubbish largely from mainland Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

The littering problem is affecting the local tourism and the State is struggling to counter this matter in order improve its tourism receipt, said Sabah Parks Chairman Datuk Seri Dr Tengku Adlin.

Adlin said awareness campaigns are not full proof measures to solve the problem, however the enforcement of penalising the litterbugs could help to to curb the problem.

The public will be notified at least six months ahead before the authorities can take action.

The culprits must be taken to court so that they can learn a lesson, he added.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sandakan Marine Police Seized 8,000 Turtle Eggs

8,000 turtle eggs have been seized in the waters of Kuala Batu 2 near Sandakan when the Marine Police foiled a smuggling attempt from a neighbouring country, last Thursday.

The Marine Police discovered a speeding boat in the area during a patrol at 4.45 am accoording to Sandakan Marine Police Operations Camp Commanding Officer, ASP Amran Che Mat Noor.

Amran said the boat crew abandoned the vessel and escaped into a nearby mangrove swamp leaving behind 16 sacks containing 8,000 smuggled turtle eggs meant for the local market.

The eggs have been handed over to the Wildlife Department for further action, he added.

Members of the public is urged to help combat such smuggling activities by providing relevant information to Sandakan Marine Police office via 089-221423/221424/221453.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Major shutdown of Moyog water plant on Tuesday

There will be a major shutdown of the Moyog water treatment plant on July 2, from 8am to 10pm, due to flushing raw water pipeline from Babagon Dam to the Moyog plant. 

The shutdown will reduce water production by 40 per cent (60 MLD). 

The affected areas will include Inanam, Kolombong, Likas, Luyang, KK Central Business District, Karamunsing, Sembulan, Tanjung Aru, Kepayan, all Penampang areas, Petagas and Putatan. 

For enquiries, call the 24-hour-Hotline 088-711 767. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

DOE: Haze situation in Sabah improves but refrain from open burning

No hotspots have been detected in Sabah as the haze situation improved, Department of Environment (DOE) said yesterday.
In a statement its state office said the air quality in Kota Kinabalu and Keningau read 66 API (Air Pollution Index) and 52 respectively as of 10am.

Tawau registered a reading of 40 while Sandakan is at 55. The reading of 50 API is good while the index of 51-100 is moderate.

Nevertheless, the DOE wants the public not to carry out any open burning and to assist the authorities in putting out small fires or contact the fire and rescue department if there is an uncontrolled burning.

It reminded the public that under Section 29A of the Natural Surrounding Quality Act 1974, it is prohibited to carry out any form of open burning except those that are accepted.

A maximum fine of RM2,000 can be imposed on offenders and if the offenders are found guilty by the court, they can face a fine of up to RM500,000 or a jail term of up to five years or both.

Source: New Sabah Times

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Toyota Eco Youth adopts SM St Michael to promote environmental programmes

Toyota Eco Youth has adopted SM St Michael to execute their environmental programmes. 
Students from the school will represent Toyota in creating eco-awareness among schools throughout the state by using professional methods to address environmental issues.

A team of students and teachers of the school have formed the World Wise team which will ensure the cleanliness of a drain stretching a few hundred metres along the Penampang-Tambunan Road near the St Michael roundabout.

The launch of the team was followed by a ‘gotong-royong’ of students and teachers who cleared the drain and placed mudballs containing natural bacteria in the waterway to clear the drain water of pollutants.

Also participating in the event were the school principal, Super Principal Marie Yong Pik Hua and former Moyog assemblyman, Datuk Phillip Lasimbang.

Marie said the team found that the drain was clogged up with garbage and other effluent due to indiscriminate littering.

“These included oil from nearby households, plastic bags, cardboard boxes and even animal carcass,” she said.

The team managed to collect a total of 292.6 kg of trash along the drain from the Futsal Centre near the roundabout to the Cash and Carry Furniture store.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Semporna's Sea Turtle Week

A Sea Turtle Week was held in Semporna in conjunction with the World Sea Turtle Day on June 16. Many environmental awareness programmes were conducted during the week.

Five secondary schools took part in a competition to create turtle replicas from recycled materials. The colourful creative exhibits, equipped with key messages on turtles, were displayed and judged at the opening of the Turtle Exhibition, jointly organised by WWF-Malaysia, Sabah State Library and Semporna District Education Office, at the Semporna Library on June 19.

SMK Datuk Panglima Abdullah has won the competition followed by SMK Tagasan and SMK Agama Tun Sakaran.

A booth to sell handicrafts made from pandanus leaves has been set up by the Wanita Pulau Omadal, a local community group from Omadal Island. The profits that they made will be used to support conservation efforts in the Semporna Priority Conservation Area.

Volunteer group, Green Semporna, was also present to recruit new members especially among students.

A life-size Green turtle statue named Si Bokko Kalasahan Ku', which in Bajau means "My Lovely Turtle" was the main attraction of the exhibition.

More than 100 pledges were written on it as visitors to the exhibition penned down their heart's call to save these endangered marine treasures and the statue will remain a fixture at the Semporna Library.

Apart from that, posters of turtles were displayed in the hall to educate visitors on the importance of these endangered marine creatures to Semporna's ecosystem.

WWF-Malaysia's Sulu-Sulawesi Ecoregion Programme Manager Robecca Jumin said it is important to run the sea turtle protection programme in Semporna, not only because the nesting and foraging turtle population is significant, but also sea turtles are key attractions in this area for tourist from all over the world.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Turtle-a Potential Tourism Icon For Sabah's Pulau Mabul

Green turtles and hawksbill turtles that make their landing on Pulau Mabul near here are touted to be the new tourism icons to help drive the tourism industry of Sabah.

Taking advantage of the attractiveness of turtles, relevant authorities have decided to celebrate the World Turtle Day and make it an annual event on the island.

The authorities, comprising the Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment and the Sabah Tourism Board, will work closely with Sabah Parks, the Department of Wildlife, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and Uncle Chang's Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge on the island to achieve the tourism goal.

Census will be carried out by relevant bodies to understand the population of turtles in the waters around Pulau Mabul. The authorities will catch the turtles, tag them and release them into the water.

This way, research will be carried out and the level of awareness among the public on the need to conserve sea turtles will be raised. Pulau Mabul is one of the world's most popular spots for scuba diving.

The island of Pulau Mabul, which is a 45-minute boat ride from the town of Semporna, offers five world class diving sites, including Pulau Sipadan, which is also nearby.

Various efforts are already being undertaken to establish Pulau Mabul as a leading tourist destination in the world.


Senior Lecturer at the Borneo Marine Research Institute of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Dr P. Pushpa, said although the potential for turtles to become a major tourist attraction is high, especially among nature lovers and for those who are fascinated by marine life, there is a need to enhance the current conservation programmes and provide care for the turtles to prevent them from becoming extinct.

"Through the conservation efforts undertaken by Sabah Parks since 1960s, it has been found that the number of turtles that landed on the island in 2011 was the highest in record," said Pushpa, who has been doing her research on the reptile since 2010.

She said the environment of Pulau Mabul has become increasingly conducive for the growth of the turtle population on the island amid a shift in the mentality of the people, their level of understanding and increased care for the continued existence of marine life.

According to her research, more than 700 green turtles and hawksbill turtles have been tagged on Pulau Mabul and Pulau Sipadan, which are the nesting grounds for the endangered species of turtles.

"As of May, 150 turtles have been tagged on Pulau Mabul and 535 on Pulau Sipadan, with their ages estimated at between eight and 20 years.

"During a pre-celebration event held in conjunction with the World Turtle Day in March, a total of 18 turtles comprising both the green and hawksbill species were tagged," she added.

Based on her research, Puspha said Pulau Mabul and Pulau Sipadan were found to provide a suitable living environment for the turtles due to the vastness of the sea shores that could accommodate their large populations at any given time.

Apart from the uniqueness of the turtle species on the island, another interesting part of the island is the nomadic lifestyle of the sea-faring Bajau Laut people around the waters of the island.

They are known as either 'Pela'uh' or Sea Gypsies, with their homes fringing the shores of Semporna as well as Tawau and Lahad Datu.


Meanwhile, the founder and owner of Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge on Pulau Mabul, who is fondly known as Uncle Chang, said he had set up the resort to support the government's efforts to establish Semporna, particularly Pulau Mabul, as the leading tourist destination in Sabah.

The cost of accommodation at the lodge, which is clean and well kept, is reasonable, he said, adding that it is well-equipped with other facilities, including boats for transportation.

"My team and I are committed to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable ecotourism. This means running a diving lodge that uses minimal resources and has minimal impact on the environment," Uncle Chang added.

There are also experienced dive masters at the resort who provide various services.

Close to 1,000 to 3,000 visitors, especially scuba divers and nature lovers, visit the resort every month to enjoy the underwater beauty and the marine life around the area and nearby islands.

He is also planning to start a programme around the end of this year, which focuses on cleaning up the area starting from the jetty at Semporna to nearby villages in Pulau Mabul, Kapalai and Sipadan.

"Those who will assist in the programme will get free transport and accommodation," said Uncle Chang, a nature lover himself.


Following the invasion of Sabah by Sulu militants from southern Philippines earlier this year, tourism operators in the state view the initiative to set up the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) as an important element for the success of tourism in the east coast of Sabah.

The ESSCOM, which covers 1,400km of the east coast of Sabah, including the Semporna district, will include the set up of a police station in Pulau Mabul.

There are several security measures that the government has put in place to ensure that tourist spots in the east coast of Sabah continue to be safe destinations for tourists.

In addition, the Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment is also actively coming up with programmes to promote products and tourist attractions unique to the Sabah East Coast to increase the number of people visiting the place.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, who officiated the World Turtle Day 2013 celebration on Pulau Mabul recently, said the turtle conservation programmes help to attract tourists to Semporna, Tawau, Kunak and Lahad Datu.

Pang, who commended the public's efforts to protect turtles, added that scuba divers from all over the world have been choosing the islands of Sabah, particularly Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Mabul, as their favourite recreational destinations.

Source: Bernama

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Song-Writing Competition On Environment

Good news to those who likes to write songs!

A song-writing competition based on the environment will be organised by the Sabah Cultural Centre.

The competition is open to all Sabahans. You can submit as many entries as you want to, in any of the common languages in Sabah, particularly local dialects.

The Sabah Culutral Centre will feature the winning song in a special performance in December at the opening of the new Sabah Cultural Centre building in Penampang.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Poisoned food cause death to Bornean pygmy elephants

The death of Bornean pygmy elephants at Gunung Rara forest reserve in Tawau early this year is believed cause by toxic constituents that were intentionally added to their food.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said a toxicology analysis by the Queensland Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry in Australia discovered from the liver samples of two elephants and a sample of white powder at a location where another elephant was found dead, showed a high level of heavy metal such as arsenic, cadmium, iron and chromium.

Meanwhile, the  findings by pathologists from the veterinary faculty at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Thailand suggested that caustic or toxic elements had damaged the elephants' digestive system.

The findings were supported by analysis from the chemistry department of Malaysia and Ramathibodi Poison Centre, Thailand on the elephants' kidneys, spleen and lymphoid tissues although they could not trace the presence of toxic elements.
Masidi said the phenomenon is just incomprehensible since the combination of such metals is usually found in mines, foundries, garbage and toxic waste dumping sites whereas there are no activities of such nature in the area.

He said a committee comprising representatives from the Wildlife department, Royal Malaysian Police, state Forestry department, Chemistry department, UPM, state Veterinary Services and Animal Industry department and a few relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was subsequently set up to probe the deaths.
The state government had also upgraded the conservation status of the Bornean elephants from a merely 'protected' to 'fully-protected' species under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

Commenting on the the negative impact of the incident on the international community, he said the perception was not really accurate as the Bornean elephant population was currently 2,000 and the rate of delivery among the species at conservation such as the Kinabatangan wildlife Sanctuary and Tabin Wildlife Reserve had increased by five per cent.

As for the  RM120,000 reward, Masidi said his ministry through the Wildlife department was still pursuing investigations and maintaining the amount of reward for information.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Embedded-type tracking device for orangutans in Sabah

A new tracking device that can be embedded into the orangutan is revolutionising the way the animals are tracked and will soon help researchers understand how to help the primates survive in the jungles of Sabah.

The Tabin Orangutan Project (TOP), which is co-managed by Orangutan Appeal UK, a United Kingdom-based non-governmental organisation, and the Sabah Wildlife Department, is the first in the world to use the embedded-type tracking device on the orangutan.

Previous attempts to track orangutan with collars and other tracking devices were not successful because the animals were adept at removing them.

File photo dated Oct 24, 2009 shows an orangutan making its way across a rope at the Sepilok Orangutan Reserve near Sandakan. Previous attempts to track orangutan with collars and other tracking devices were not successful because the animals removed them. AP
File photo dated Oct 24, 2009 shows an orangutan making its way across a rope at the Sepilok Orangutan Reserve near Sandakan. Previous attempts to track orangutan with collars and other tracking devices were not successful because the animals removed them. AP

Each device cost RM1,454 and has enough power in its battery to last a few years. Data had been collected using the devices since 2010, said primatologist James Robins, who heads TOP. Robins is currently tracking eight orangutan and half of them are females.

“One of our orangutan just gave birth a few weeks ago and we are now tracking both mother and child. Both are doing well.”

He said there was a misconception that conservation work was over the moment captured or displaced orangutan were rehabilitated and released into the wild.

“Nobody knows what happens to them after that because it is hard to follow them. This is the purpose of this study,” he said.

The data collected will be used to publish a series of papers, which would discuss everything from their feeding to ranging behaviours.

This will then serve as a blueprint for forestry and wildlife departments in countries with orangutan populations to rehabilitate the primates. Robins said the team tracked the released orangutan every day as they roamed the jungle.

“Currently, all eight of our orangutan have been implanted with the tracking device. We follow them from 5.30am, when they leave their nest, until they make a new nest for the night around 6.30pm, before we return to camp.”

He said the orangutan had lost much of their habitat to deforestation. The food quality in Tabin, which is a secondary forest, was also less nutritious.

“It’s all about their diet. Food like ginger and rattan do not give enough energy since these animals spend the entire day foraging.”

It was estimated that there were now about 1,400 orangutan in Tabin and 11,000 in the whole of Sabah. Robins said Sabah had a stable environment for the orangutan compared with other countries.

“If I were an orangutan, I would want to be in Sabah.”

Most of the deforestation in Sabah had happened in the past, he added.

Before man began encroaching on the forests, Robins said there could have been hundreds of thousands of orangutan in Borneo.

He said one way to ensure that orangutan populations grew was to join the pockets of forest in Sabah into a central forest spine. This would allow the orangutan to roam throughout the state and breed, allowing better genetic diversity.

“It will be the biggest factor in increasing population growth.”

Four-wheel-drive vehicle manufacturer Land Rover, which is part of the Sime Darby Group, had played a big role in helping Robins.

They used their own “Approved Permit” to import a Land Rover Defender donated by Orangutan Appeal UK for TOP to use in Sabah.

Land Rover also donated RM16,500 to TOP for its research.

Land Rover managing director Syed Mudzhar Syed Ali said the sponsorship was given to assist in logistics and tracking exercises involving the orangutan.

Speaking to journalists in Tabin last week, he said the company was committed to helping ensure the survival of the orangutan.

“Land Rover is returning to the Tabin reserve after our first visit last year, when our donation was used for the construction of an extension to the research base.

“Our return this time around is further testament of Land Rover’s commitment and concern for wildlife conservation in this country. This initiative also allows us to raise the level of awareness on this protected species and the importance of creating an environment that enables their continued existence for centuries to come.”

The orangutan is one of nine animals under the Sime Darby Group conservation efforts carried out through its foundation, Yayasan Sime Darby. Syed Mudzhar said last year, the company brought in its customers from Sabah to visit Tabin.

“In the future, we are looking at bringing in our customers from across the country to visit Tabin. We are hoping that our high profile customers will help spread the message of orangutan conservation.”

Source: Borneo Bulletin

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five more elephants fitted with a satellite collar in Kinabatangan

Five Bornean elephants were collared from 4 to 6 June near the Danau Girang Field Centre, in Lot 5 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

Danau Girang Field Centre is a field study centre located within the Kinabatangan. It is a collaborative project between the Sabah Wildlife Department, Cardiff University and the non-government organisation HUTAN.

A Malaysian PhD student Nurzhafarina Othman registered at Cardiff University and Mexican wildlife veterinarian Dr. Diana Ramirez from department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit have led the collaring operations.

They also re-collared a female named Putut that was previously tagged in October 2011 as well as three new females named Ita, Bell and Tess and one male of 30-40 years old named Sejati.

The three new females were selected by Nurzhafarina for her PhD study on the social behaviour of the Kinabatangan elephants.

The five individuals bring the number of currently tracked elephants to eight.

According to Nurzhafarina Othman, the objective of collaring is to collect additional movement data from different individuals to facilitate the management of the Bornean elephant in the Kinabatangan.

Apart from that, it also determines the social associations among females using GPS points, especially highly related females, that are an important component of her PhD study.

Nurzhafarina told that three females, Putut, Bell and Tess were fitted with collars provided by Dr Shermin de Silva, from Sri Lanka, with whom they are collaborating on female behaviour.

The dedication towards wildlife conservation and the commitment from the two women got praise from Director of Danau Girang Field Centre, Dr Benoit Goossens.

This project was funded by the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Elephant Family, Houston Zoo and Columbus Zoo.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teck Guan Group to operate bio-ethanol project in Tawau

Syarikat Teck Guan Group has launched a pilot project to produce lignocellulosic bio-ethanol from oil palm biomass.

The setting up of the plant which began in May, is expected to be operational by month-end.

According to its Operational Innovation, Research and Development director Douglas Furtek, the plant can produce 72 litres of ethanol from a metric tonne of wet empty fruit bunches, and capacity can be easily upscaled.

Furtek hoped more foreign investors would be attracted to the state, the country's largest palm oil producer.

It is informed that the plant is the first in the country to produce ethanol from empty fruit bunches (EFB) and it will contribute to the production of bio-fuels, bio-plastics and other environmentally-friendly products.

Agensi Inovasi Malaysia strategic innovation executive vice president Bas Melssen said biomas products, in the form of pellets, bio-based fuel or bio-based chemicals, can contribute RM30bil a year to the national economy and create 66,000 high-value jobs by 2020, adding half of these jobs would be in Sabah.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sabah to host conservation training programmes for officers from Asean, Africa, South Asia

Sabah's environmental conservation efforts is set to become the backdrop of an international training programme under a joint Malaysian and Japanese effort.

The Integrated Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Training Course would see government officers from the Asean region as well as Pacific islands, South Asian and African nations undergoing three weeks training at various Sabah authorities - the Forestry Department, the Wildlife Department and Sabah Parks.

The training would be coordinated by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) with funding provided on a 50/50 basis by Wisma Putra under the Malaysia Technical Cooperation Programme and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

UMS Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) acting director Assoc Prof Dr Charles Santhanaraju Vairappan said the training would involve 20 participants per year from 2013 to 2015.

''The training is aimed at providing them the knowledge and skills on conservation management from planning to implementation, monitoring and evaluation,'' he said when briefing State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman about the programme here.

Charles said the course would also introduce and emphasise the idea of an integrated approach between implementing agencies and communities for better understanding of alternative livelihood in conservation.

''This training programme would serve to promote Malaysia as a centre of excellence on conservation, research and utilisation of tropical biological diversity by 2020,'' he said.

''Ultimately, it would showcase Sabah as a champion in environmental conservation,'' Charles said in adding that the training would see the participants spending time at Sabah's key conservation areas including the Lower Kinabatangan, the Lower Segama, Crocker Range Park, Tawau Hills Park and Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Meanwhile, the Sabah government, UMS and JICA were set to step up conservation efforts in the Lower Kinabatangan, Segama as well as Crocker Range parks under the Sustainable Development for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation in Sabah (SDBEC) initiative.

SDBEC chief adviser Kazunobu Suzuki in briefing to Sukarti said among the programmes being planned were assisting the drawing up of annual action plans for both conservation areas apart from initiating community livelihood initiatives agriculture improvement, sustainable land use and eco tourism.

Sukarti later represented the Sabah government in the signing the notes of discussion for the programmes while JICA was represented by its Malaysia chief representative Kunihiko Sato and UMS by its Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Prof Dr Shahril Yusof.

Source: The Star 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Proactive measures in dealing with e-waste disposal

Nowadays, the increasing pile of ICT e-waste has had an impact on environmental conservation issues.

Federal financial officer, Datuk Yusof Saringgit said it was an important measure to address this problem by urging all government departments and agencies to take proactive measures in dealing with the disposal of e-waste so as not to have detrimental impact on the environment.

Yusof said the government itself has issued Guidelines, Circulars and Regulations to assist agencies in implementing the disposal of e-waste in accordance with proper procedures and this can indirectly sustain public services to the preservation of the environment

Dumping, burning, burying and submerging are no longer relevant forms of disposal because these methods contradicted the National Green Technology Policy, he added.

Disposing ICT equipment to landfill sites was no longer suitable because it had a negative impact on the environment and humans.

The ICT equipment contain harmful pollutants such as chemicals, chromium, cadmium, lead, mercury and exposure to these contaminants can cause various diseases including cancer, damage to the nervous system and brain.

As of April 30, a total of 24 licenses across the country have been issued for the full recovery of e-waste and 135 licenses for partial recovery.

He warned that those who fail to comply with the rules and relevant laws can be fined or imprisoned.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tip of the Month – celebrate Father’s Day the non-toxic way

This year, consider buying your dad a gift that will have him looking and smelling great, and will be good for the planet. 

Father’s Day is fast approaching. Have you bought your dad a gift yet? Before you buy a boring, typical tie or coffee mug, consider purchasing a gift that will not only have your dad looking and smelling great, but will be good for the planet.

Here are some tips to help you buy non-toxic gifts for your dad this year:

Personal care products: Canadian men are using more personal care products than ever before. Last fall, we released our report The Manscape: The Dirt on Toxic Ingredients in Men’s Bodycare Productsin which we tested 17 commonly-used men’s personal care products for toxic chemicals. We found chemicals in these products that are linked to cancer, birth defects, sperm damage, obesity, asthma and other chronic health problems. These chemicals are also ending up in our rivers and lakes, harming wildlife.

While shopping for personal care products for your dad, be sure to take with you our Toxic Ten Personal Care Products Pocket Shopping Guide so you know which chemicals to look out for on product labels. Our Just Beautiful pledge companies also offer an array of toxic-free grooming gifts that your dad might like. Check out their websites to find out more about their current product offerings. 

Say no to cologne: cologne is a staple Father’s Day gift but you might want to think twice before purchasing a bottle for your dad. As we found in our report Not so Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance, fragrances Canadians are using every day contain secret chemicals not listed on labels, multiple chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or disrupt hormones, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety by the beauty industry’s self-policing review panels.

For manly, non-toxic scents, choose fragrances that are based on essential oils. Or you could make cologne in your kitchen and give it to your dad as a homemade gift. You can find a bunch of simple, DIY recipes by just doing a Google search.

Non-toxic is fashionable: one of the most popular gifts for dad is clothes – in particular, shirts of any style and colour. If you're buying new clothes for your dad for Father’s Day, watch out for clothing with stain repellants, wrinkle-resistant treatments, or pesticide-treated cotton. These types of fabrics contain toxic chemicals. Instead, keep it simple and choose clothes made of natural fibres like cotton or wool. 

Get creative: sometimes the best way to avoid toxic gifts is by giving a gift which just shows how much you care. Perhaps cook your dad a meal with local, organic food; head out to nature and go for a hike or a canoe trip; or do some chores around the house for him. Sometimes spending quality time with your dad is the best gift of all.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sleepover Foldable Beds for Kids!

It is best to be prepared from beforehand when children are considered, especially during the time of sleepovers. If your child is going somewhere or you have your kid’s mate at home, it is good to have a bed of that kind to accommodate those extra kids comfortably in your house. The foldable bed can be easily stored in bag. It is easy to use and is sectioned in 5pieces along with pillows which are stitched at the edges to permit an easy storage solution. The bed takes no place and easily slides into the carrying bag. You have three fabrics to make your choice from: star, stripes and polka dots. The mattress is made of water- resistant polyester for easy clean-up. 
Source: IcreativeD
It is best to be prepared from beforehand when children are considered, especially during the time of sleepovers. If your child is going somewhere or you have your kid’s mate at home, it is good to have a bed of that kind to accommodate those extra kids comfortably in your house. The foldable bed can be easily stored in bag. It is easy to use and is sectioned in 5pieces along with pillows which are stitched at the edges to permit an easy storage solution. The bed takes no place and easily slides into the carrying bag. You have three fabrics to make your choice from: star, stripes and polka dots. The mattress is made of water- resistant polyester for easy clean-up. - See more at:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sabah Wildlife Department extends collaboration with Cardiff University

The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) is continuing its collaboration with Cardiff University for another ten years with the signing of an extension of their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the management of Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), located in Lot 6 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

The MoU was signed by Director of DGFC, Dr Benoit Goossens on behalf of Cardiff University while the Sabah Wildlife Department was represented by its Senior Officer for Kinabatangan District Hussien Muin at the DGFC on Monday.

“The signing of this extension for another ten years acknowledges an extremely successful relationship between the Sabah Wildlife Department and Cardiff University,” said Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, who witnessed the signing.

“I was told by Dr Goossens that the field centre is now welcoming an average of ten field courses per year from different universities in the World (USA, UK, Germany, Hong Kong),” he said.

“This is testament to all the hard work that the staff at the centre have put in. The field centre also welcomes numerous students from masters to PhDs, including several from Malaysia, whom I had the opportunity to meet,” he added.

“Moreover, it employs 16 staff, including 13 locals and it has set up its own River Keeper Unit to assist the Sabah Wildlife Department in its wildlife enforcement work,” Pang said.

Meanwhile, Goossens said: “We value our collaboration with the Sabah State Government extremely highly and this day marks another major event in that collaboration.

“It hardly seems possible that the centre has been open for five years already: progress has been excellent during that time thanks to the hard work of my team, our centre manager Mark Rampangajouw and my dedicated staff and students,” he added.

Goossens also said a number of university field courses, school visits, expeditions and research activities had been carried out at the centre during the past five years and funds had also been raised from international and national bodies such as the Sime Darby Foundation and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

“The centre is financially self-sustaining and I am confident that DGFC will become an important base for biodiversity monitoring and assessment, training and capacity building in the region for years to come,” he added.

“During these last 12 months we have had an increase in Malaysian students requesting to work or study at DGFC and this is something I hope will continue in the future. Sabah’s biodiversity is one of its greatest assets and we feel privileged to be involved in studying the dynamics of animal and plant populations in Kinabatangan,” Goossens said.

Meanwhile, Director of Sabah Wildlife Department Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said: “During the coming ten years, we expect to see the centre expand its research and maintain its teaching activities to the excellent current standard. It is our major goal to increase the management relevance of our research and to instigate a comprehensive education program for students and professionals from Malaysia and elsewhere in South-East Asia.”

“On top of these important activities, we hope the centre can play an increasing role in biodiversity assessment and monitoring at the Kinabatangan floodplain and help us manage the sanctuary. This important floodplain, now part of an internationally recognised RAMSAR site, deserves nothing less,” added Ambu.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Peninsular Students Enjoy Kinabatangan Corridor

 Pic: Daily Express

Secondary students from Subang Jaya really had a wonderful experience in a four-day programme at Kinabatangan Corridor recently.

According to the programme head cum SJ Echo Editor, Teok Teik Hoong, said the students were winners of an essay competition with the theme environment and Kinabatangan.

The programme was held in conjunction with the World Environment Day 2013 with the objectives to provide the youths an opportunity to experience life in an environment conservation location.

Among the students' comments:

Eunice Wong, 17, of SMK Convent Klan

"We never expected that we'd be able to see from near the crocodiles, bird species and the proboscis monkeys" 

Adam Daniel, 14, of SM Subang Jaya

"I also intend to return here"

Vigneshwara Naidu, 14, of SMK Seafield

"This is the first time I planted such seedlings during which our instructors guided us throughout the programme"

Monday, June 10, 2013

Think. Eat. Save

Happy World Environment Day!

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is “Think.Eat.Save,” an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. It encourages you to be more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make, and empower you to make more informed choices.

According to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted annually – that’s the same amount of food produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa!

What are the consequences of food waste? If food is wasted, it means that all the resources used in the production of the food are also lost. Think about this: it takes about 1,000 liters of water to produce 1 liter of milk, and approximately 16,000 liters of water goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger.

Global food production takes up about 25% of all habitable land. Moreover, it’s responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. Global food production is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

Food is focus of World Environment Day 2013, however, waste comprises of many things: food waste, domestic waste, construction waste, etc. Here in Hong Kong, the theme of World Environment Week is sustainable living, including how we can reduce all types of waste in our lives. We kicked the week off with a press conference and happy hour - see if you can spot yourself in our World Environment Week gallery! Tomorrow, we will host the premiere screening of Jeremy Irons' "Trashed" and Saturday is our inaugural Ecozine LIVE! - a high-profile symposium showcasing inspiring ideas from hand-picked local and international speakers, all connected by the theme of sustainable living. We can't wait!

So, what can you do to reduce your waste and carbon footprint? Make every day World Environment Day and make informed choices:

- Avoid disposables and individually wrapped single servings - buy in bulk!
- Recycle and support recycling industries! Purchase goods with recycled content
- Say 'no' to junk (snail) mail
- Choose foods that have less of an environmental impact and buy locally - When dining out, order only what you can finish

Source: Ecozine

World-class education at new Marine Research Centre on Sugud Islands

The main building of the Sugud Islands Marine Research Centre. Pic: Borneo Post
SANDAKAN: The Sabah Wildlife Department, Reef Guardian Sdn Bhd and Cardiff University recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the Sugud Islands Marine Research Centre (SIMRC) on Billean Island, within the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA), on the east coast of Sabah.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, who witnessed the signing of the MoU, said that on December 3, 2001, the State Government of Sabah declared three islands comprising Lankayan, Tegaipil and Billean as well as surrounding coastal shallow reef areas of approximately 46,317 hectares as Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area.

“SIMCA has been playing for more than 12 years a key role in managing coral reef conservation for the long-term benefits of eco-tourism and the biodiversity of marine life.

“Now, Reef Guardian that was appointed to fully manage SIMCA with close cooperation with Sabah Wildlife Department is embarking on a new initiative together with Cardiff University: the setting up of a marine research centre to enhance research and conservation of the marine ecosystem and scientifically assess the success of the conservation area.

“I am extremely proud to be part of this initiative that will certainly increase the interest of local and international scientists for coral reef ecosystem research in the region, and will certainly boost eco-tourism in the east coast of Sabah,” he said.

Davies Austin Spiji, research officer at Reef Guardian and manager of SIMRC, said the objectives of SIMRC are to enhance knowledge and skills on marine research and monitoring through joint training, workshops and research for effective management of marine resources and biodiversity conservation.

“SIMRC will also provide training and teaching facilities to local and international universities and institutions for hand-on field experiences in tropical coral reef ecosystem,” added Davies.

“Finally, SIMRC will facilitate restocking of commercially important and threatened marine species in Sabah region through mariculture practices and promote awareness on marine conservation to public and local stakeholders,” said Davies.

Dr Benoit Goossens, director of Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Research Associate at Cardiff University, said the creation of the marine research centre in SIMCA will provide a world-class education and research facility with the necessary structure and resources to undertake advanced marine ecosystem science, particularly in small tropical island and coral reef ecology.

He said Cardiff University will offer field courses to Malaysian students and to other local and international students to undertake training at SIMRC, will manage student intake and field work programme at the centre, and will help raising funds for the procurement of consumables and additional laboratory equipments and for research projects and conservation activities to be carried out at SIMRC and within SIMCA.

“Today, Cardiff University is in a position to offer field courses and research opportunities in the two most diverse ecosystems of the world, tropical coral reef at SIMRC and tropical rainforest at DGFC in the Kinabatangan. For that, we would like to thank the Sabah State Government, the Sabah Wildlife Department and Reef Guardian for their support and frienship and we look forward to many years of collaboration,” added  Goossens.

Kenneth Chung, director of Reef Guardian; Roland Niun, Sabah Wildlife Department’s senior officer for Sandakan District, Jeffrey Hj Aman, secretary of Sandakan Municipal Council and Jufri Hj Nasri, officer in charge for Turtle Islands Park were also present at the signing ceremony.

Source: Borneo Post

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sabah State Government Committed to Reserve Its Forest

Sabah's Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the state government is committed to reserving 55 per cent of state land as forest area.

He said Sabah  has thousands of destinations since it has a huge area that is still covered with greenery and more revenue will flow in for the nature tourism industry if  less we disturb the nature.

Masidi agreed that development needed to take place but it should be balanced to prevent an irreversible and negative impact to the environment.

He told that the ministry will work with non-governmental organisations to realise state goverment's vision to make Sabah a leader in conservation.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Marine police steps up effort to capture turtle poachers

It was a bittersweet start to the month for conservationists in Sabah as the Sandakan Marine Police successfully seized a total of 6,500 marine turtle eggs from poachers last week.

"While we celebrate a seizure because it deprives poachers of their ill-gotten gains, we also mourn it because such seizure often means  loss of wildlife. In this particular case, it is a loss of 6,500 marine turtle hatclings," said Dr. Chris Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and Dato Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director of WWF Malaysia in a joint press statement yesterday.

Chris and Dionysius commended the police for the seizure and the public who provided information that led to the discovery of the eggs.

Chris and Dionysius view poaching as a serious matter as it endangers the survival of a species that already faces numerous other threats to their survival. Dr. Chris Shepherd painted a very grim picture. He said, "All odds are stacked against the turtles. As female turtles lay eggs each nesting season, many are taken by poachers and predators from the word go. Hatchlings are picked off on their maiden journey to sea or get caught in fishing nets as they grow older. Very few young ones survive into their first year."

The State has taken a strong stance against poachers. The Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997 restricts the collecting or possessing of any marine turtle egg without  an express permit.

The Marine police are also actively monitoring the situation with frequent seizures.

An estimated 13, 200 turtles have been seized to date. This represents 65 percent of seizures nationwide. The largest seizure took place in 2008 when marine police managed to seize 10, 000 turtle eggs from four men in Sandakan.

The difficulties in arresting and prosecuting offenders especially across international borders have led Chris and Dionysius to call for international cooperation and to urge Southeast Asian nations to make a concerted effort to stop the poaching and trading of turtle eggs in these countries.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

International Borneo Bird Race 2013

The first international Borneo Bird Race is a collaboration between Sabah and Brunei Tourism Boards, as well as Sandakan Borneo Bird Club.

The event is held from 31st May until 9th June and recently was launched in Brunei.

Sabah's Rainforest Discovery Centre will be part of the venue for this event.

Eight teams from seven Asian countries will compete for the Brunei and Sabah leg champion titles, while the overall winning team will be awarded the Bornean Bristlehead trophy.

They will be travelling through 1,000km of habitats, ranging from coastal regions, freshwater swamps and lowland forests to the hills and mountain ranges in both countries.

Each team will spend 10 to 12 hours taking pictures and gathering information of more than 400 bird species found in Sabah.

The participants will be racing at the Rainforest Discovery Centre on Thursday for the Sabah leg.

The centre which is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department has recorded 300 species of birds in the area, including the Bornean bristlehead, black and crimson pitta, blue-headed pitta, giant pitta, black hornbill and rhinoceros hornbill.

The race coincides with the 5th Borneo Bird Festival, which will be held from Friday to Sunday at the centre.

Race chairman and Sandakan Borneo Bird Club vice-president Cede Prudente said the event was integral to promoting eco-tourism in the state.

The objective of the Borneo Bird Race:
  1. To promote Borneo as one of the premier bird watching destination of the world;
  2. To Network with birdwatching fraternities around Asian region and to the world
  3. To encourage travel within Asia.
  4. Create awareness and conservation of the bird species unique to Borneo to the local community and to the global birding fraternities.
  5. Foster closer integration and harmony through nature festival of the neighbouring States of Borneo, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia;
  6. Develop and improvement of infrastructure to wildlife watching tourism;
  7. To enhance and complement the “Heart of Borneo” initiative – Tourism Program.
  8. To increase arrival of eco-tourists and birdwatchers to Borneo.
  9. Further development of naturalist guide and birdwatching guide.
  10. Support good policies to improve nature tourism.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Partnership key in addressing climate change

The panelist for the ‘Responding to Climate Change: The need for New Partnerships and Alliances’ dialogue. – AZROL AZMI

PARTNERSHIP with the younger generation is the most essential alliance in addressing climate change as they adhere to the meaning of conservation implemented in the educational system which is proven to be beneficial for future generations to come.

However, failure to do so would betray the children of tomorrow.

These were the key points highlighted during a dialogue on ‘Responding to Climate Change: The need for New Partnerships and Alliances’ in accordance with the National Environment Conference (NEC) 2013 initiated by Asia Inc Forum yesterday.

The panel of speakers included the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR), Hjh Normah Suria Hayati binti Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Hj Awg Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri; British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, Rob Fenn; and Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia from the Philippines, Von Hernandez.

Moderating the session, Borneo Bulletin senior journalist Danial Norjidi posed the question on the importance of forging new partnerships to fight global warming.

The permanent secretary said that bridging the generation gap between parents and children is essential, which the government has difficulties executing.

“We have to get our children to understand the meaning of conservation because it is them who will inherit the benefits and should not repeat the mistakes of this generation,” she said.

Hjh Normah believes that the partnership should start from school. “First we need to get students involved and make them understand all about climate change,” she said. The MIPR and the Ministry of Education are working on incorporating topics on addressing climate change in school such as the important of forest conservation. She welcomed Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to come forward to build new partnerships with the MIPR in combating global warming by pitching ideas to further maintain the Heart of Borneo initiatives.

“We value our partnerships among countries under the HoB, namely Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, but I urge NGOs to come to our HoB Centre located at the ministry or interact with us through our social media portal, such as our Facebook page,” said the permanent secretary.

Rob Fenn supported the Brunei initiatives in building a green economy alongside its economic mainstay which is oil and gas. “Initiatives like the Heart of Borneo, Sungei Ingei zoological survey, sustainable forestry, responsible agriculture and fisheries management, and research alliances in Energy, Biodiversity and other clusters are creating a new brand for Brunei.

“This brand fits perfectly with the Sultanate’s spiritual side. In the era of global Climate Change, a brand like that will command more attention – which can translate into foreign investment and high-tech or low carbon jobs for future generations of Bruneians.”

He cited the alliance between scientists using their expertise in studying ecology.

“No nation nowadays does cutting-edge research all by itself. Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) search for research allies shows the Sultanate is on the right track. The presence of the Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University at UBD’s ‘Brunei Dialogue’ this week underlines how British universities are natural partners for Brunei-based researchers,” he said.

Von Hernandez highlighted several key issues for NGOs in combating climate change and ways to forge closer partnerships with government bodies. Prior to the session, he addressed the 250-strong audience on “Climate Change: Is Southeast Asia Up to the Challenge?”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bid to smuggle in 6,500 turtle eggs is foiled

Sandakan: Marine police here foiled attempts to smuggle in a total of 6,500 turtle eggs late May. 

Assistant Commanding Officer of Marine Police Region 4, Inspector Sri Vikneswaran Renganathan said the seizure was made through two raids in separate locations on May 30 and 31. 

"The first seizure was carried out at the coastal beach of Kg. Forest at 4am on May 30 where a pump boat was detected at the scene. 

"When approaching, the boat skipper alighted from the boat and ran into a nearby mangrove forest to escape arrest. Upon inspection, we discovered 3,000 turtle eggs that were believed to be smuggled into the district here for local consumption," he said. 

The second raid, Vikneswaran said was carried out at a riverbank of Kg. Obar, Mile 7 at about 7am on May 31. 

"During our surveillance, a boat sped off from the area and we decided to inspect the scene and found 12 plastic bags containing about 3,500 turtle eggs," he said adding that all the turtle eggs have been brought to the the marine police base here for further action. 

He said the case is being investigated under Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. 

Vikneswaran also called on the public to channel any information to the Marine Police here about any suspicious activities happening at the coast by contacting Sandakan Marine Police team here at 089-221423 / 221424 / 221453. 

"Public cooperation is very much needed so that smuggling activities can be curbed," he said, adding that the two raids on May 30 and 31 were the result of public tip-offs. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

'Green tech', a transformation programme in town planning and housing industry

Minister of Local Government & Housing Datuk Haji Hajiji Haji Noor has urged parties involved in town planning and housing industry to support the government’s aspiration in its move towards “green technology”.

He said government is creating an environment conducive for the development of green technology in the state and it is expected to open up new business opportunities in the property industry. This will encourage strong property investments.

He also expressed his hopes for every member of the department and ministry to adopt the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) by transforming its services’ efficiencies for the better.

Apart from that, Hajiji was reportedly urging town planners to be sensitive and far-sighted in coming up with more strategic and holistic planning to create towns that can provide high-quality living for its residents.

He said town planners need to resolve the current planning issues which are the main challenge to the transformation programme in order to improve the quality of service delivery. This means the issues of slow plan approvals, land use, planning standard and so on must be tackled to make these more efficient.

The usage of new technology like digital mapping was a wise move in dealing with land planning and development issues for the good of all, he added.