Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Penang Hill

By:Afra' Fardillah ZaiMustapar

Having lived in Kuala Lumpur all my life, I was initially somewhat reluctant to leave the big city to pursue my education in a smaller state, namely Penang. I was under the false impression that KL had the best of everything to offer. And so I left with a heavy heart, expecting life in Penang to be boring.

My first weekend on the island changed not only my thoughts, but my heart too. My visit to Penang Hill had me falling in love with Malaysia’s Pearl of the Orient.Penang Hill, also known as ‘Bukit Bendera’, is a hilltop holiday retreat situated 830 meters above sea level. There are several ways to travel to the top depending on the preference of visitors.

I had the privilege of riding a funicular train, the most common mode of transport to the hill station. The train travels at a slow and steady pace through dense vegetation and forests, giving visitors a good opportunity to enjoy the greenery and cool air. Upon reaching Penang Hill, I was at awe over the breathtaking scenery. The morning cloud-like mist still hung in the air and dew formed little droplets on every leaf and flower. Butterflies and dragon flies played happily among the plants, and I even spotted an Asian Fairy Bluebird perched on one of the taller trees. Barely 5 minutes into my visit and I was already blown away by the beauty of it all.

We made our way to the Canopy Walk. It was something I had been very excited about and couldn’t wait to try. After a wabbly few steps on the suspended bridge, I paused to observe the nature around me. From tall trees that formed high canopies to lower vegetation on the ground, everything was a flush of green! The forests had been conserved very well despite the painstaking task of building a bridge from tree to tree. I was at one with nature, a feeling I never got living in the city. Walking around Penang Hill, I learned that Penang Hill was also a heritage site. Buildings on the hill were first built in the early 1800s by the British colonies. The Bel Retiro bungalow on Flagstaff Hill belonging to the then Governor is used till today as a holiday home by the current Governor.

The bungalow has been conserved with little change to its architecture. Several other bungalows belonging to diplomats during the British colonial period have also been preserved. Some of these have been converted into hotels and restaurants where visitors can observe the uniqueness of old buildings and architecture. My trip to Penang Hill was an experience of a lifetime. The ongoing conservation efforts on the hill were an eye opener of just how important nature is to us. Compared to the city, the environment at a site like Penang Hill is surreal.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Permata Hijau yang Berterbangan

oleh Tan Poh Ling

Melihat mereka bebas berterbangan bersama-sama dan hinggap di keliling bunga hati saya begitu gembira. Antara banyak jenis spesies rama-rama, spesis Rajah Brooke paling menawan hati saya. Dengan sayap berkilau berwarna hijau ia terbang dengan begitu lemah lembut dan cantik.

Rajah Brooke yang juga dikenali sebagai Trogonoptera brookiana banyak ditemui di kawasan terbing sungai dan juga kawasan air panas di dalam Hutan Hujan Tropika di Semenanjung Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia dan Filipina.

Rama-rama ini dinamakan oleh Alfered Russel Wallace semasa salah satu daripada ekspedisi beliau di hutan Borneo sempena raja Sarawak pada masa itu iaitu, Sir James Brooke. Rama-rama terbesar ini kini semakin jarang ditemui akibat diburu oleh ramai orang untuk dijadikan perhiasan rumah.Menyedari permintaan tinggi terhadap koleksi rama-rama ini sebagai spesimen perhiasan, kini ia telah diistiharkan sebagai spesis yang dilindungi.

Kita seharusnya bersama-sama memelihara spesis yang semakin terancam ini untuk mengelakan kepupusan. Anak-anak kita tidak seharusnya hanya mengenali rama-rama ini melalui buku sahaja. Kita tidak sepatutnya menghias rumah atau diri kita dengan mengorbankan insan kerdil ini, malah kita sepatutnya melindungi mereka dari sebarang ancaman.

Sabah: Bumi Borneo Malaysia

Oleh: Azlan Abdul Rahman
Panorama indah kawasan pergunungan yang dilatari oleh hamparan perkebunan beserta dengan hembusan dingin bayu pasti menambat hati setiap pengunjung yang melawat kawasan peranginan Gunung Kinabalu di Sabah. Gunung berpasak kukuh dengan ketinggian 4095.2 meter dari paras laut ini merupakan antara khazanah alam semula jadi yang harus dipelihara oleh kita semua.

Terletak di kawasan Taman Negara Kinabalu, gunung ini menyajikan pada kita senario alam yang mempersonakan terutamanya di kawasan Ranau dan Kundasang. Setiap mata pasti terpaku melihat bunga-bunga mawar mekar mewangi sekitar kaki gunung tersebut. Begitu juga dengan perkebunan kobis yang menghijau menyerikan lagi deria penglihatan untuk menghayati khazanah bumi borneo ini.

Selain keindahan kawasan pergunungan, Sabah juga terkenal dengan keindahan kawasan marin dan perairannya. Pulau Tiga, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Sulug serta Pulau Sipadan pasti tidak mengecewakan setiap penggemar aktiviti laut dan pantai. Deretan pantai yang memutih disapa mesra dengan hempasan ombak mengundang rasa kepuasan untuk kita sama menikmatinya. Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman, sebagai contoh, merupakan salah satu taman marin di Sabah. Taman ini pasti menjanjikan kepuasan sepenuhnya kepada penggemar batuan karang, hidupan air serta kehijauan rumpun tepian pantai. Selain itu, Pulau Mantanani yang terletak berhampiran Kota Belud merupakan pilihan yang ideal lagi memuaskan untuk pengunjung yang gemar bersantai di bawah terik mentari sambil melihat lambaian pepohon kelapa. Namun, kita harus tahu yang keindahan bumi bertuah ini tidak akan selamanya menjaminkan kepuasan jika kita tidak sama membantu melindunginya

Keunikan dan keistimewaan khazanah alam semula jadi di Sabah yang bermula di puncak gunung sehingga ke dasar lautan diserikan dengan kehidupan pelbagai jenis flora dan fauna. Tatkala berbicara mengenai Sabah, kita pasti akan mengaitkannya dengan kehidupan beberapa spesis haiwan serta tumbuhan unik yang tidak terdapat di negeri-negeri lain di Malaysia. Orang Utan, Monyet Belanda serta Bunga Rafflesia merupakan antara hidupan unik yang berlindung di bumi Borneo Malaysia ini. Hidupan-hidupan ini memerlukan keaslian alam semula jadi di Sabah untuk meneruskan kemandirian spesis mereka. Tidak mustahil kehidupan haiwan dan tumbuhan ini hanya akan tinggal sejarah jika kita tidak memulihara dan terus memelihara kelangsungan sumber makanan serta kawasan perlindungan mereka. Jadi, kesedaran yang tinggi disertakan dengan perlaksanaan konservasi yang sewajarnya dapat membantu hidupan-hidupan ini untuk terus menyerikan bumi bertuah Sabah.

Segala keindahan serta keistimewaan negeri Sabah tidak akan kekal lama jika kita terus membinasakannya. Industri perlancongan sememangnya baik untuk penjanaan sumber ekonomi, namun perlaksanaan yang tepat dan bersesuaian dengan langkah pemuliharaan alam semula jadi haruslah diterapkan oleh pihak yang berkenaan. Semoga Sabah, Bumi Borneo Malaysia akan terus menyajikan keindahan dan keunikan kepada kita semua.

Conserving Mangroves for the Fauna

By: Azlan Abdul Rahman


The mangrove forest is among the precious natural forests in Malaysia. Mangrove forests in Malaysia can be found along the shores of peninsular Malaysia and also in Sabah and Sarawak. The forests lie from the west coast of peninsular Malaysia starting from Sungai Merbok, Kedah and continue fencing up all the beaches along Kuala Gula and Matang in Perak to Kuala Selangor and beaches along Johor. They can also be found in several places in Kelantan, Pahang as well as Terengganu.

Mangrove forest serves several functions to humans as it is a natural buffer from strong wind and storm, acts as a stabilizing agent of the coastal area and also provides breeding and nurturing ground for flora as well as fauna. Flora and fauna rely heavily upon the mangroves as their habitat and also as a place to find food. There are many kinds of animals that can be found in the mangrove forest .

Bird is one of dominant species which can be found in the mangrove forests. Several species of birds can be found in mangrove areas. Among them are the Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Blue Fly-catcher, White-Collared Kingfisher, Litter Tern and many more. They choose mangrove forest as their personal habitat, breeding ground and also for food and survival. In addition, mangroves serve a great function in conserving the endangered Milky Stork. This bird is protected under the international wildlife protection because they are vulnerable and threatened by humans. At present, only a small number of this bird still exist and the species can only be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Besides birds, several species of mammals and reptiles’ survival depends heavily upon the mangrove forest. The Malayan Tiger, the Smooth Otter, the Proboscis Monkey and the Malayan Tapir are among some of the endangered animal species which treat mangroves as their main home and a place to find their food source. Their preys are generally small animals such as birds, fishes, snakes and several kinds of clams and shells. The Estuarine Crocodile is another example of endangered species of reptile that makes the mangrove forest its home. This crocodile chooses to live and to breed in the mangrove area because of the suitability in its soil, tide and beach.

Fishes, crabs, prawns, clams and shells are very synonymous to the mangrove forest. We can find lots of fish species like Archer Fish, Mud Skipper and Green-Spotted Puffer Fish swimming and playing around the root of the mangrove trees. Clams, mussels and shells can also be easily found in mangrove areas. They not only serve as food for the animals but also a delicacy to man. Fishermen often collect them, not only for consumption, but also as a selling profit in the fisheries business. Additionally, they are not only valuable to the animal and man but also they are considered an important agent in completing the natural chain of food and live in our environment.

So, we need to conserve these mangrove areas if we want to conserve the lives of these valuable species of animals. Please conserve the mangroves to ensure a better life and future for our own survival with the natural environment.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

by Tan Poh Ling

Cheong Fatt Tze is a Penang foremost restoration project and heritage boutique homestay. The mansion is built by the famous merchant, Cheong FAtt Tze at the end of 19th century. Legendary in the history of Mansion, this place consists of 38 rooms, 5 courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 windows. Other special features of this mansion are Gothic louvered windows, Chinese cut and paste porcelain art work, Stoke on Trent floor tiles, Glasgow cast iron pillars and Art Nouveau stained glass.

The mansion was originally built with careful attention to the principles of Feng Shui. For instance, this mansion faces the sea and has Penang Hill behind it; the domestic block is built in front of it to prevent any road being built to create a T-junction in front of it and also it has water running through in the mansion. Besides, the mansion is built with a step in the middle to create a slope (to ride on the dragons back).

The entire mansion is painted with distinctive blue result of mixing lime with natural blue dye made from the Indigo plant. The blue was very popular in the Colonial period and the dye was imported from India. The lime wash was very effective in a tropical weather as it absorbed moisture and cooled the house. The house was originally painted white in the time of the owner, and the indigo was applied much later.


The mansion is currently used as a hotel-cum-museum as part of a restoration project. This mansion has been awarded the Most Excellent Heritage Conservation Award from the UNESCO. In addition, the mansion has been featured in various famous films including the 1993 Oscar-winning French film "Indochine" starring Catherine Deneuve, and has also been featured in programs broadcast on various international TV channels such as CNN and BCC.

Taman yang Berterbangan

oleh Tan Poh Ling

Terletak di dalam sebuah negeri metropolitan,Taman Rama-rama Pulau Pinang dibuka pada Mac 1896. Taman adalah taman pertama dibuka kepada orang ramai di kawasan tropika di dunia. Taman ini terletak pada hujung Negeri Mutiara ini di Teluk Bahang dan lebih kurang 17km daripada Georgetown. Kini, ia telah menjadi salah satu tempat tarikan pelancongan di negeri ini.

Pada masa kini, rama-rama sedang mengalami ancaman dan jika ia tidak dijaga ia akan mengalami kepupusan pada masa hadapan. Ancaman yang paling serius kepada rama-rama adalah kemusnahan habitat mereka, penggunaan bahan kimia atau racun serangga kepada tumbuh-tumbuhan dan juga kurangnya kesedaran tentang serangga ini yang juga memerlukan perlindungan.

Taman rama-rama ini didirikan bukan sahaja untuk dijadikan tempat pelancongan malah dijadikan sebagai pusat konservasi rama-rama dan tempat untuk para pelajar untuk mengenali serangga ini dengan lebih dekat lagi. Selain itu, taman rama-rama ini juga dijadikan tempat untuk membuat penyelidikan tentang serangga.

Di taman ini, terdapat banyak rama-rama hidup yang bebas berterbangan sesama sendiri tanpa sekatan. Selain itu, taman ini juga mempunyai sebuah sudut serangga yang dinamakan ‘Dunia Serangga’ dimana pelbagai jenis serangga lain boleh ditemui di sana.

Pengetahuan tentang konservasi boleh bermula dengan taman ini untuk neningkatkan kesedarang kepada orang ramai. Taman ini merupakan sebuah taman yang bermakna bagi semua, disamping menjadi pusat tarikan eko-pelancongan ia juga dijadikan sebuat pusat konservasi. Masa hadapan untuk anak-anak kita mengenali serangga ini lebih terjamin. Selain itu, kanak-kanak boleh datang ke taman ini untuk mengenali dan juga menimba sedikit ilmu tentang rama-rama dengan pengalaman sendiri.

Educating Children on the Conservation of the Environment


By: Omar A. Jassim

Children are the best group to teach about environment. The war in Iraq has mostly affected the children because they are too young to understand what environmental pollution is.

After the war, the basic needs of people such as water and food are mostly polluted by the chemical weapons used by the US army. This also has increased the rate of dangerous diseases. Hence, it is very important to educate Iraqis children on environmental awareness.

After all they are exposed to pollution that comes from sources like the schools, houses and public places. In the house the sources include gas, cigarettes and soap, while in school the sources include water pollution, disease transmission such as gastrointestinal illness, disorders and cancer. The impact of these diseases can lead to brain development that can cause methemoglobinemia. In addition, children’s immune systems are less developed than that of adults.

Nation without healthy children is a nation without a future and without tomorrow. The children of Iraq are exposed to gases of bomb and weapons because of the war. Children must be educated in having a healthy environment and must understand the risks of environment. Awareness in the children about environment and verities of pollution is very important for the creating less pollution as it reduces the illness in children and creates the awareness on environmental risks.

I suggest that awareness on environment should become an important scientific article in the education in Iraqian schools. Some of the science articles which are covered at present are not of importance to the environment. Thus, we can create awareness in the present generation to preserve the environment and find solutions to the mistakes committed by their predecessor.



photo by: Omar A. Jassim


www.omaralmansoury.com

The War and the Environment


By: Omar A. Jassim

Who is the victor in the war? The burden of the war is not only harmful to man but to the environment. Like it or not, today, most of our tax money goes to the US war on Iraq. Everything green has turned into toxins or ashes because the environment is the last thing to be protected.


During the occupancy of the US soldiers in Iraq in 2003, they had chopped off a lot of trees for the war. Baghdad and most of the cities in Iraq appeared like a barren desert and suffered too much because it lost the important element of the environmental balance.


Iraq has a vast desert, especially in western regions, which has remained for hundreds of years, rock dirt static. But the result of inhuman activities by the movement of aircraft and the tanks of the US army, led gatherings of the sand dunes, fragmentation of rocks. The wind swept the cities to contribute to increasing desertification of the cities, the rapid spread of diseases and covering of agricultural land.


Also, the U.S military used chemical weapons such as uranium, phosphate and anthrax, that poisons killed the man, polluted the rivers and farmland. This is inhuman because environment was destroyed totally. Therefore, most Iraqis are stressed with the polluted environment that they have to live in.


Worldwide is talking about conserving environment, but Iraqis are suffering from it. This is all because of ignorance of some people who are claimed to be the world leaders. As long as the war continues, there is nothing Iraqis can do about their environment.


photo by: Omar A. Jassim


www.omaralmansoury.com

Baghdad Sinks by the Waste


By: Omar A. Jassim

If you go to Baghdad, do not surprise to see the city is flooded by household waste, various food cans, second hand clothes, plastic, glasses, minerals, food debris and waste paper. It is a real crisis facing by the Baghdad citizens because it affects human health, the most.


No doubt human activities are the main cause of this phenomenon. This habit leads to the spread of more diseases, which eventually affect humans. In Baghdad, the kind of diseases rampantly found are like spread of bacteria, fungi, many types of insects, and vectors of disease such as typhus, malaria, cancer, abortion, infertility and genetic damage to dyes.


The impact of this phenomenon is very dangerous at all stages. Not only the people of Baghdad are experiencing unpleasant odors wherever they go, but often times they are visited by unwelcomed visitors such as rats and cockroaches. The waste has also contaminated the air which comes from landfill sites and decomposition process.


In spite of all these, most of the areas in Baghdad are not in operations for collection of the waste. The people just burn their waste within their areas. This open burning activity contributes to global warming by releasing more of harmful gasses such as methane, carbon oxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrogen sulfate.


Therefore, it is very important to create awareness to people on how to treat the household wastes. Enforcement of environmental laws and regulations should be in place.

photo by: Omar A. Jassim


www.omaralmansoury.com

Threats of Death to Fallujah


By: Omar A. Jassim

The non-conventional weapons used through out Fallujah city by the U.S. military during the battle of Fallujah in 2004 contained varying ratios of depleted uranium and white phosphorus.



These chemicals contributed to high toxicity which led to significant pollution of the Euphrates River base and all agricultural areas.This then lead to a significant easy spread of the toxin from earth and water.This in return affected agricultural environment.



Through grass and fruits and vegetation the toxic was transmitted to grazing animals and humans.Toxicity is very strong and they exists very long causing disaster to nature.It also contributes to a lot of serious illnesses as it it has the ability to mutant the human genes which leads cancer incidences and abnormal babies being born.



According to the organization of IRIN of the UN, about 65 percent of the cancer patients are children of 5 years old and below. The beginning of emergence of many diseases rose only after 4 years upon the battle of Fallujah as the U.S. army used uranium and white phosphorus.The most affected ones were the born babies and women.



The war continued for 19 days in 2003 before the occupation of Baghdad by the US. They dropped more than 13000 bombs, which are nearly 88500 tons of bombs, which is equivalent to 4425 times as powerful as bombs dropped on Hiroshima. However, the war against Fallujah continued for more of 30 days on 2004 and certainly the US army dropped more many thousands of bombs on Fallujah.



Under the pretext of killing the combatants, the dangers were extended to women and children, so much so that the newly married were afraid of giving birth the abnormal babies.



Agriculture was the main source of income to the people in Fallujah about 45Km west of Baghdad and the Euphrates river contained alot of gases pollution which were dropped by the US.There are high possibilities expected in the increase of diseases and cancer in Fallujah in the years to come
The Ministries of the Iraqi government such as health, environment and agricultural departments are not taking enough precautionary measures facing the threat and increase in the number diseases especially cancer and deformed new borns.


photo by: Omar A. Jassim

The Lead Gas Causing Iraqian Death




By: Omar A. Jassim

Iraq is becoming one of the worlds’ most polluted continent after the occupation of the US army in 2003 for several reasons.All the ministries in iraq stopped
operating after the US occupation especially in areas of environment, health and agricultural departments as many of the cities’ basic needs such as water and sanitation were contaminated.

The war caused a lot of destruction to disruption of work to power stations. The people were deprieved of electricity at homes, work places and at the universities. Therefore they were forced to search for an alternative source of electricity which was essential for their daily needs of life. The only successful alternative choice was the use of generators.

By using the generators the effects were that it contained the gas of lead which is one of the most harmful components in pollution to the mankind and the environment.The impact of lead was on adults and children, but there was greater impact to children below five years as the absorption rate on them was faster.
The emission of lead gas from the generators caused people to suffer from diseases such as poisoning of the nerves, heart disorders, increase in blood pressures and babies born with low IQ. Moreover the generators consumed a lot of oil which in return caused the emission of gases causing even more pollution.

The people in most of the cities in Iraq were using the generators as a substitute to electricity because the Iraqi government didn’t take any initiatives to repair the power stations which were destroyed by U.S army either. Diseases was increasing as polluted gases were inhaled by human being due to emission from the generators.


Photo by: Omar A. Jassim

www.omaralmansoury.com

Selamatkan Hutan Bakau

Oleh:Afra' Fardillah ZaiMustapar

Kemusnahan hutan bakau di kawasan persisiran pantai dikatakan berpunca daripada sikap masyarakat yang sering mengabaikan tentang kepentingan hutan ini. Apa yang perlu disedari umum, hutan bakau adalah merupakan warisan alam yang perlu dipelihara. Hutan bakau sememangnya diketahui menjadi tempat perlindungan pelbagai spesis flora dan fauna seperti buaya, ketam, memerang, beruk, ikan dan pelbagai jenis siput yang masing-masing mempunyai nilai tersendiri. Disamping itu juga hutan bakau merupakan habitat bagi lebih daripada 60 spesies tumbuh-tumbuhan. Terdapat empat jenis spesies utama yang paling di kenali iaitu api-api ludat, bakau minyak, perepat dan berus tumu. Antara spesies bakau lain ialah lenggadai, nyireh bunga, bakau kurap dan chegam.

Di Malaysia, hutan paya laut terdapat di sepanjang pantai Semenanjung Malaysia, Sabah dan Sarawak. Hutan paya laut di Malaysia merupakan yang ketiga terbesar di Asia Pasifik selepas Indonesia dan Australia. Jumlah luas keseluruhan kawasan tersebut adalah lebih kurang 566 856 hektar iaitu 57 peratus terdapat di Sabah, 26 peratus di Sarawak dan 17 peratus di Semenanjung Malaysia. Kebanyakan hutan paya laut di Malaysia terletak di pantai barat ( Persisiran Selat Melaka ) iaitu di Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Selangor dan Johor.

Namun isu-isu kemusnahan hutan bakau semakin hari menjadi semakin kritikal dan jika tidak ditangani dengan bijak dan segera ianya akan memberikan impak negatif bukan sahaja kepada kita, malahan kepada generasi akan datang. Pengeksploitasian sumber biodiversiti yang tidak dikawal sepenuhnya, seperti penerokaan hutan paya bakau untuk pelbagai tujuan pembangunan seperti ternakan ikan dalam sangkar, kolam ternakan udang, perindustrian, perbandaran dan perkampungan nelayan pinggir pantai serta pembuangan sisa cecair oleh kapal dagangan dan bot nelayan secara tidak langsung mengancam ekosistem paya bakau yang amat sensitif terhadap sebarang perubahan guna tanah di kawasan yang berkenaan.

Aktiviti penerokaan paya bakau yang dilakukan secara sewenang-wenangnya sama ada bagi tujuan pembangunan, perumahan, pertanian atau perindustrian tanpa mengambil kira aspek alam sekitar akan menyebabkan hakisan tanah, mengganggu imbangan haba serta keseimbangan ekologi. Kesannya bukan sahaja boleh menyebabkan kepupusan kepada spesies-spesies hidupan yang sedia ada malah boleh membawa bencana yang dahsyat kepada manusia.

Oleh itu sebarang aktiviti yang meyumbang kepada kemusnahan hutan bakau perlulah dipertimbangkan semula dan dikurangkan. Selain itu juga, pelbagai akta dan peraturan yang telah diwujudkan berkaitan hutan paya bakau haruslah dikuatkuasakan dengan tegas demi menjamin kestabilan hutan ini disamping dapat meminimumkan kemusnahan terhadap alam sekitar. Dan apa yang lebih penting badan - badan bukan kerajaan (NGOs) diharapkan dapat bekerjasama dengan kerajaan dalam usaha untuk memberi kehidupan semula kepada pokok bakau.

Kesimpulannya hutan paya laut atau hutan bakau adalah antara hutan yang mempunyai banyak kepentingan dan kegunaannya sama ada kepada manusia, alam sekitar ataupun hidupan lain. Ekosistem yang mudah terjejas ini perlu dipulihara sebagai simpanan alam semula jadi. Banyak usaha perlu dilaksanakan bagi meningkatkan kesedaran awam serta menanamkan rasa tanggungjawab dalam diri setiap orang untuk memulihara warisan bakau semula jadi yang menyimpan sebahagian daripada flora dan fauna dunia yang terancam.

Earth Hour, Apakah signifikannya?

Oleh:Afra' Fardillah ZaiMustapar





Dalam tempoh beberapa minggu ini setiap manusia dari seluruh pelusuk dunia sibuk memperkatakan tentang Earth Hour. Ada diantara kita yang benar-benar mengetahui tentang perkara ini dan mungkin juga ada tidak mengetahuinya. Malah, apa yang lebih menyedihkan ada juga segelintir yang langung tidak mahu ambil peduli apa sebenarnya yang dimaksudkan dengan Earth Hour.

Dalam keadaan persekitaran dunia yang semakin tidak menentu akibat perbuatan manusia yang semakin hari semakin ghairah melakukan kemusnahan ke atas bumi, pelbagai usaha telah dilaksanakan untuk membendung keadaan yang semakin kritikal ini bagi kita memperolehi persekitaran yang lestari. Oleh yang demikian, kempen Earth Hour adalah merupakan salah satu inisiatif yang telah diambil dalam usaha untuk memelihara bumi dari terus diancam kemusnahan.

Earth Hour adalah merupakan satu acara tahunan peringkat antarabangsa yang dianjurkan oleh World Wildlife Fund (WWF) bagi menangani masalah pemanasan global. Acara ini dipercayai telah dimulakan oleh Sydney, Australia pada tahun 2007 dan ia telah menjadi acara tahun antarabangsa sejak dari mula ia dilaksanakan. Ini dilaksanakan dengan menyarankan kepada masyarakat seluruh dunia supaya tidak menggunakan peralatan elektrik selama satu jam. Jika dilihat secara menyeluruh, ada kemungkinan langkah ini sukar untuk dilaksanakan di mana kita akan terpaksa bergelap selama satu jam. Secara tidak langsung akan memberi kesan kepada pelbagai faktor. Namun, kadangkala kita perlu berfikir sejenak kerana kerugian yang kita perolehi kesan daripada satu jam lampu dipadamkan tidak sama dengan kemelut kemusnahan yang telah kita lakukan sejak beberapa dekad yang lalu. Malahan, jika kita sedar bumi sebenarnya semakin hari semakin nazak akibat daripada perbuatan kejam kita sendiri.

Sebagai sebuah negara yang mengambil berat tentang alam sekitar, Malaysia tidak terlepas untuk turut sama menyertai kempen ini secara rasmi pada tahun 2009. Walaupun agak terlewat namun ini adalah merupakan satu permulaan yang baik. Ini jelas menunjukkan Malaysia masih peka dalam usaha untuk memberi sokongan bagi menangani masalah pemanasan global. Pada detik 28 Mac tepat jam 8.30 Malaysia akan menjadi salah satu daripada 35 negara yang turut sama bergelap selama satu jam sebagai tanda keperihatinan kepada alam sekitar. Justeru, bagi memastikan perkara ini dapat direalisasikan, semua pihak seharusnya berkerjasama dan mengambil bahagian dalam kempen ini. Dalam pada masa yang sama, media elektronik mahupun media cetak memainkan peranan penting dalam usaha untuk mempromosikan kempen kepada seluruh rakyat di Malaysia.

Kemelut alam sekitar sememangnya tidak akan berakhir selagi adanya pembangunan yang tidak lestari. Namun, semua pihak harus menerima hakikat bahawa apa yang terjadi selama ini adalah disebabkan sikap manusia itu sendiri. Perlu diingat alam sekitar adalah untuk dihargai bukan untuk dimusnahkan. Mungkin juga dengan turut sama menyertai kempen Earth Hour secara tidak langsung kita dapat sama-sama menyelamatkan bumi daripada terus diancam kemusnahan.

Vermicompost

By: Afra' Fardillah ZaiMustapar

It is becoming increasingly popular for people these days to opt for anything organic over synthetic. Even when it comes to plant fertilizers, gardeners and farmers are choosing organic fertilizers over chemically processed ones. It is said to have a higher nutrient value, easier application methods and no damaging side effects. An important yet simple form of organic fertilizer is vermicompost; which basically is worm cast produced by earthworms after ingesting and digesting vegetative organic matter. These worm casts are rich in nutrients necessary for plant growth and can be produced domestically at almost no costs.

To initiate a vermicompost bin, a large container or bin is first required. Wooden containers are preferred for vermicomposting as it regulates internal temperatures, keeping it cool and suitable for worms. In the container, shredded paper, dried leaves and cow manure is spread across the base to create worm bedding. Composting worms, namely African Night Crawlers (Eudrilus eugeniae) and Red Worms (Eisenia fetida), are placed over the bedding. Periodically, these worms are fed with organic vegetative waste. Such wastes are common in households and can range from fruit peel and vegetable cuttings to used teabags. It is also important that the moisture in the bin be maintained by occasionally sprinkling water onto bedding.

It takes a period of six to eight weeks before the end product, vermicompost, is formed and can be harvested. Harvesting is done by carefully removing worms and their eggs from worm castings. At this end stage, vermicompost resembles loose black soil, and is used by mixing with ordinary soil before planting or repotting garden plants. Vermicompost is not just an organic approach to gardening and farming, but could potentially be the answer to waste management issues of the future. The Economic Planning Unit in the year 2006 had reported that about 58 percent of all the wastes dumped to landfills composed of valuable organic matter. Had this waste been dumped instead into domestic and large scale vermicompost bins, landfills could have been reduced by more than half. At a time when the world is heavy on debate about sustainable development, such a solution to waste management could put a lot of problems at rest. And the result- purely natural nutrient rich fertilizers that could be used even in large scale farms and plantations, contributing towards sustainable agriculture.

As with any case of environmental awareness, the first step is to educate the public. In Malaysia, producing and using vermicompost is still an uncommon practice. To see considerable reductions in the amount of garbage dumped at landfills, we need for every household to separate organic waste and discard it into kitchen compost bins. It could even provide some income for the family, as buyers are wiling to pay RM6 per kilo of vermicompost these days. Several private companies have already dived into this niche, generating income from seemingly inexpensive waste. However, in order to address the mounting problems at landfills, the efforts of such companies alone will not do. Every individual in society should incorporate sustainable living practices into their daily lives. From children in schools to farmers and estate workers, the techniques of vermicomposting should be disseminated, and the importance of going green should be emphasized. It could be the answer for a better tomorrow

Friday, March 20, 2009

Beri Perlindungan Kepada Orang Utan

oleh Gowri Sritharan


Sedih dan pilu setiap kali terbaca atau terlihat di media cetak mahupun media elektronik hal yang berkaitan tentang kepupusan Orang Utan. Malah kadangkala timbul persoalan, mengapakah haiwan yang tidak bersalah itu dihukum sebegitu?

Pada zaman ini, kehidupan orang utan terjejas akibat daripada perbuatan manusia yang semakin hari semakin ghairah mengejar pembangunan. Keghairahan itu telah menyebabkan manusia selewang-lewangnya menebang hutan belantara sehingga memusnahkan tempat perlindungan haiwan tersebut.

Sedih rasanya apabila memikirkan manusia daripada seluruh pelosok dunia datang ke negara ini untuk memberikan pembelaan kepada haiwan tersebut, namun kita rakyat Malaysia masih lagi tidak menghiraukan spesies yang semakin pupus itu. Kita masih lagi berfikiran kolot dan beranggapan bahawa haiwan tersebut tidak perlu dipelihara.

Apa yang lebih mengejutkan adalah hasil penyelidikan Dana Hidupan Liar Dunia (WWF) Malaysia baru-baru ini. Kajian tersebut melaporkan bahawa jumlah Orang Utan di Sabah dan Sarawak sekarang hanya tinggal separuh dari jumlah yang ditemui kira-kira 30 tahun lalu.

Kesatuan Antarabangsa Pemuliharaan Alam dan Sumber Semuajadi (IIUCN) juga telah menyenaraikan Pongo pygmaeus dari spesies Sumatera dan Borneo sebagai spesies yang paling terancam. Apa lagi yang bakal tinggal untuk disaksikan oleh anak cucu kita pada masa akan datang?

Disebabkan keghairahan dan kekejaman manusia, habis semua keajaiban dunia musnah. Apa yang tinggal hanya kesan-kesan kemusnahan yang dapat dilihat. Dalam mengejar pembangunan yang tanpa batasan, tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa masih lagi terdapat segelintir pihak yang bertanggungjawab dalam memelihara haiwan mamalia ini.

Contohnya di Sabah, pelbagai usaha telah dilakukan bagi memastikan haiwan yang semakin pupus spesisnya terus dipelihara dan diberi pembelaan. Inisiatif yang diambil oleh Jabatan Hidupan Liar negeri Sabah dengan menubuhkan Pusat Pemuliharaan Sepilok amat membanggakan. Pusat ini merupakan pusat pertama dan terbesar di dunia dengan objektif untuk memulih dan menyelamatkan Orang Utan. Lokasi ini terletak di pinggir hutan simpan Kabili-Sepilok dan kaya dengan pelbagai jenis tumbuhan dan buah-buahan yang merupakan sumber makanan orang utan. Usaha murni ini diharapkan dapat dilaksanakan secara berterusan supaya ianya dapat memastikan spesies ini dapat dipelihara dari terus diancam.

Pada masa yang sama saya juga berharap pelbagai kajian dan penyelidikan akan terus dijalankan bagi membiak baka Orang Utan di Malaysia. Jika kita masih mahu melihat orang utan di tanah air sendiri, maka kita perlulah mengubah sikap dan mentaliti cetek yang langsung tidak mengambil peduli tentang Orang Utan.

Monday, March 16, 2009

USM Peneraju Konservasi Alam Semula jadi

Oleh: Azlan Abdul Rahman


Kedamaian, kehijauan dan ketenangan suasana persekitaran Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Pulau Pinang menceritakan segala-galanya mengenai keindahan alam sekitar. Suasana tenang dan damai ini bukanlah suatu perkara mudah untuk dikekalkan, tambahan pula USM terletak berhampiran kawasan yang dihimpit pembangunan pesat di Pulau Pinang. USM boleh dikatakan sebagai nadi kehidupan bukan sahaja untuk manusia di sekitarnya bahkan untuk pelbagai jenis hidupan termasuklah haiwan dan tumbuhan.

Bila bercerita mengenai langkah konservasi yang dipraktikkan di kampus ini, pelbagai agenda dan perancangan telah dilaksanakan oleh USM. Langkah konservasi ini bukan sahaja merujuk kepada aspek penjagaan dan kelestarian alam semula jadi bahkan termasuk penjagaan bangunan tinggalan sejarah dan pembangunan fizikal USM secara holistik. Perencanaan semula jadi ekosistem di kampus ini dipantau bagi memastikan ia akan berfungsi dengan baik untuk jangka waktu yang panjang.

USM merupakan juara dan pelopor dalam aspek konservasi alam semula jadi. Pelbagai langkah awal pemeliharaan dan pemuliharaan alam sekitar telah dilakukan oleh pihak USM seperti Langkah mewartakan Lurah Burung sebagai kawasan santuari burung oleh Naib Canselor USM ketika itu, Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir. Ia merupakan langkah awal yang bijak dalam memelihara dan memulihara bukan sahaja spesis-spesis burung di kampus ini bahkan pelbagai jenis tumbuhan.

Tidak cukup dengan itu, USM juga merupakan peneraju dalam konservasi bangunan peninggalan sejarah dan antik. Bangunan bersejarah yang terdapat di kampus ini dipantau dan dikawal selia sepenuhnya bagi memastikan ia terus kekal sebagai warisan dan peninggalan sejarah yang bernilai tinggi. Aktiviti pemeliharaan dan pemuliharaan bangunan-bangunan bersejarah ini merupakan idea yang bermutu dalam memastikan kesinambungan sejarah pada masa hadapan.

Jika dilihat pada konteks kini, prinsip Pembangunan Lestari, Universiti Dalam Taman dan Kampus Sejahtera merupakan terapan dan acuan terbaik untuk melindungi dan memelihara bukan sahaja kehidupan penghuni di kampus ini bahkan untuk kepelbagaian hidupan lain di dalamnya termasuklah haiwan dan tumbuh-tumbuhan serta alam semula jadinya. Selain itu, idea penubuhan Eco-Team USM yang berperanan memantau serta menguruskan perencanaan keseluruhan ekosistem di USM merupakan inisiatif terbaru pihak universiti dalam mencapai misi universiti berorientasikan kelestarian pelbagai aspek. Terapan prinsip pembangunan lestari mewujudkan lebih banyak institusi dan organisasi yang berkepentingan menjaga kelestarian serta kesinambungan alam sekitar di kampus dan kawasan sekeliling USM.

Segala penat lelah USM dalam merencanakan Pembangunan Lestari, Universiti Dalam Taman dan Kampus Sejahtera ini membuahkan hasil bukan sahaja di peringkat nasional bahkan ke peringkat global. Pengiktirafan USM sebagai Universiti APEX yang menjangkau sempadan yang lebih luas pasti akan membuka lebih banyak mata untuk melihat serta meneladani apa yang telah USM terapkan di kampus ini. Diharap USM dapat menjadi peneraju dan juara konservasi alam semula jadi bukan sahaja di Malaysia bahkan ke pelosok dunia.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Peliharalah Pulau Redang

Oleh: Afra' Fardillah ZaiMustapar


Terengganu terkenal dengan pantai-pantai peranginan yang indah hingga membuat setiap orang pasti tidak mahu terlepas peluang untuk mengunjunginya. Kesempatan berkunjung di Pulau Redang yang terletak di perairan Laut China Selatan pada tahun lalu merupakan satu percutian yang pasti tidak dapat dilupakan. Kenapakan tidak, pulau yang sememangnya yang akan membuatkan sesiapa sahaja pasti jatuh cinta pada keindahannya yang bergelar syurga taman laut serta kaya dengan hidupan laut seperti terumbu karang, ikan bewarna-warni serta air yang hijau kebiruan sering mengundang keinginan pengunjung untuk melakukan pebagai aktiviti di sana.

Perjalanan yang mengambil masa selama 45 minit melalui jeti Merang sememangnya tidak terasa tambahan pula apabila dikelilingi panorama lautan yang membiru yang pastinya sesiapa sahaja akan terpukau dengan keindahannya. Pada awalnya, ketika sampai di jeti saya sedikit terkejut kerana tidak terdapat jeti khas dan sempurna yang disediakan tetapi hanyalah jeti kayu dan nampak usang. Tetapi pada pendapat saya mungkin itu adalah salah satu cara untuk mengekalkan keaslian tempat tersebut tanpa melakukan pembangunan yang terlampau. Dan jika terlalu banyak pembangunan yang dilakukan sudah pasti akan bertambah banyak pencemaran yang bakal terjadi.

Semasa di Pulau Redang, saya tinggal di calet yang terletak di pantai Pasir Panjang (long beach) yang menyediakan pakej selama 3 hari 2 malam lengkap dengan aktiviti snorkeling, bot (pergi dan balik), makan dan juga aktiviti mengunjungi taman laut. Sememangnya, aktiviti snorkeling adalah satu aktiviti yang paling menyeronokkan. Terdapat pelbagai jenis spesies terumbu karang dan ikan dapat dilihat di dasar laut.


Ketika berkunjung ke taman laut, saya juga berpeluang melihat tapak penyu mendarat dan bertelur. Namun, kini aktiviti perikanan dan mengutip telur penyu secara haram menjadi punca kepada kepupusan spesies-spesies penyu itu. Selain itu, terdapat juga faktor lain yang menyebabkan kehidupan penyu dan terumbu karang yang semakin terancam. Bagi mereka yang gemar aktiviti menyelam (scuba diving) Pulau Redang menjanjikan sesuatu yang terbaik kerana sudah pasti mereka dapat menikmati keindahan kurniaan Illahi dengan lebih dekat lagi.

Tetapi, menurut pemandu pelancong sepuluh tahun dahulu keadaan pantai di Pulau Redang lebih bersih berbanding pada masa kini di mana pasir pantai lebih putih dan halus dan kelihatan seolah-olah seperti tepung. Perkara seperti ini mungkin berlaku disebabkan pembangunan pesat calet Pulau Redang. Selain daripada itu, sikap tidak bertanggungjawab pengusaha calet yang membuang sampah ke dalam laut turut menyebabkan berlakunya pencemaran di pulau tersebut.

Sesungguhnya tidak dinafikan negara kita sememangnya kaya dengan khazanah alam dan perlu dipelihara. Jika kita masih ingin melihat keaslian dan keindahannya sudah pasti pelbagai langkah memulihara perlu dilaksanakan. Inisiatif yang dilakukan seperti membina calet untuk tujuan meningkatkan industri pelancongan adalah tidak salah tetapi ianya mesti bersesuaian dan tidak berlebih-lebihan. Apa yang diharapkan pada masa akan datang Pulau Redang akan kekal sebagai sebuah destinasi pelancongan yang kaya dengan kehidupan marin yang terunggul di mata dunia.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The bird of Sarawak

by Tan Poh Ling



Sarawak is often known as the ‘Land of the Hornbills’. The Oriental Pied Hornbill is one of the common species of hornbill that can be found in the state of Sarawak. They are scientifically known as Anthracoceros albirostris of the family Bucerotidae.

Hornbills are physically large, black or brown, and white, arboreal birds, with long, heavy bills. It also has large protuberances on top of the bill which may be vibrantly coloured. Hornbills can be found in many countries such as Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Hornbills have a unique breading style. Each hornbill pair looks out for a suitable hollow in the tree trunk to raise a single chick. After a suitable cavity is found, female hornbill will then walls in by using mud supplied by her mate. Then she raises her chick on depending on food from the male. The male feeds them for the next three months and if he fails, both mother and chick may die. The birds consume different kinds of fruit.

The Oriental Pied Hornbill is quite small with coloured black and white, with a large yellow-white protuberance. It is one of the forest most eye-catching and gentle creature. They are mostly found inside the deep forest as they need huge trees for nesting. This endangered species usually move in a pack of 3 to 8.
Due to deforestation their habitats as well as their nesting area is destroyed. This is the main cause of their extinction. As hornbills are large birds that nest in hollow space, they require large diameter trees for nesting.

This bird is currently under a threatening condition. Let’s put our hand together in protecting this species for our future generations. We can help them by protecting their natural habitats and stop hunting them for our own benefits. We will not want our children to know this bird by only visiting the animal museum in future.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Please Protect Them

By: Azlan Abdul Rahman

Grey Heron (Ardea cineria), Black-Shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) , Crest Serpent-Eagle (Spilomis cheela) and Brown-headed Gull (Larus brunnicephalus) are some of the protected birds which can be found in Malaysia. There are several species of bird which are totally protected under the Malaysia Protection of Wildlife Act 1972. Some of them come from the family of Heron, Stork, Kite, Eagle, Goshawk and Tern. Their habitats range from the seashore, hillside and rainforest to residential areas.

Taking Penang as an example, there are a lot of birds which used to stay and live here. Black-naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana) chooses the shore along Permatang Binjai and Sungai Cenaam to live and breed. Same goes to Black Kite (Milvus migrans) and Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus) where they select Penang National Park as their natural habitat. The green, serene and natural environment of those places helps their survival. So, in order to help them to live a longer time, we need to not only conserve the birds themselves but also the whole environment which is their habitat and place to find food.



We are lucky because our land and sea are not only fit and suitable to local birds but also to the migratory birds. For instance, the Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus), which is a species of protected heron that comes from South China, chooses Malaysia as its resting and relaxing place after the long journey of flight. Previous studies showed that our peace and untouched environment is the first reason of why they choose Malaysia, especially some places in Penang, as their place to find food and to breed. This kind of heron can be easily found in Penaga, Sungai Bakau and Ampang Jajar. They choose mangrove area as their main habitat because of the factor of suitability in finding their foods. So we also need to conserve this mangrove area if we want to protect this little heron.



These birds need our care and love to protect them. We can help them continue their lives for the next generation by conserving their natural habitat. We should stop hunting them and also preserve their species. Please protect them!

Sungai Tercemar Salah Siapa?

oleh Gowri Sritharan



Tercemar dan menjijikkan. Itulah keadaan sebenar Sungai Pinang yang dapat digambarkan pada masa kini. Mengapakah keadaan sedemikian terjadi? Sebagai penduduk asal negeri Pulau Pinang, saya merasa teramat kecewa dengan sikap segelintir penduduk di negeri ini yang memandang sebelah mata tentang kepentingan sungai yang merupakan milik semua.

Walaupun pelbagai kempen telah dilaksanakan, keberkesanan kempen-kempen tersebut dalam mengatasi masalah pencemaran sungai masih menjadi persoalan. Masalah ini berlarutan sehingga telah menjejaskan kehidupan penduduk Pulau Pinang serta pemandangan di bandar. Lebih menyedihkan lagi, Laporan Kualiti Alam Sekitar 2004 menyatakan bahawa Sungai Pinang adalah antara sungai yang paling tercemar di Malaysia dan airnya langsung tidak boleh diminum.

Secara umumnya semua pihak mengetahui tentang kepentingan sungai terhadap manusia dalam kehidupan seharian. Namun, lihat sahaja sikap orang awam yang tidak bertanggungjawab membuang sampah ke dalam sungai di sekitar Pulau Pinang tanpa memikirkan kesan yang bakal terjadi.

Selain dari itu, sikap tamak segelintir pengusaha-pengusaha kilang yang hanya ingin mengaut keuntungan telah menjadikan sungai semakin tercemar. Sisa-sisa buangan kilang-kilang ini disalurkan ke dalam sungai tanpa dirawat terlebih dahulu. Maka, tidak hairanlah jika Sungai Pinang menjadi antara sungai yang paling tercemar di Malaysia.

Walaupun kerajaan telah membelanjakan sejumlah wang yang banyak bagi membersihkan Sungai Pinang namun keadaannya masih sama dan tidak berubah. Apa gunanya belanja berjuta-juta namun masih tidak membuahkan hasil? Akhirnya nasib malang akan terus menimpa sungai sekiranya manusia dibiarkan terus mencemarkan sungai.

Melihat kepada keadaan sebenar Sungai Pinang ketika ini yang semakin kritikal, memang sukar untuk mengubah sikap manusia supaya menjadi lebih prihatin terhadap sungai. Ini disebabkan keadaan di negeri Pulau Pinang itu sendiri yang terdiri daripada pebagai jenis lapisan masyarakat dan mentaliti yang berbeza-beza. Ataupun memang itu sikap sebenar manusia yang sewenang-wenangnya mencampakkan bahan buangan ke dalam mana-mana saluran air atau longkang konkrit yang terdekat. Pada pendapat saya, ini merupakan satu sikap yang perlu dikikis dalam setiap manusia. Oleh yang demikian, kita perlulah konsisten dalam usaha untuk memelihara keindahan sungai bagi memastikan ianya bebas dari pencemaran.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jerebu

oleh Tan Poh Ling



Menjelang musim kemarau, isu jerebu pasti menjadi salah satu agenda yang hangat diperbincangkan oleh semua pihak. Ketika inilah biasanya semua pihak akan menuding jari antara satu sama lain mencari kesalahan dan punca berlakunya jerebu.

Menurut kajian, jerebu terjadi apabila zarah-zarah halus yang tidak nampak oleh mata kasar terampai di atmosfera dalam kepekatan yang tinggi. Zarah-zarah ini akan menyerap dan menyerakkan cahaya matahari sehingga mengurangkan jarak atau membataskan penglihatan. (Sumber: Jabatan Alam Sekitar).

Punca utama jerebu ialah aktiviti manusia sendiri seperti asap kenderaan, kilang dan juga pembakaran terbuka. Tindakan manusia yang mementingkan diri sendiri merupakan faktor berlakunya jerebu yang akhirnya merbahayakan kesihatan kita sendiri.

Masalah jerebu telah melanda Malaysia pada tahun 1991, 1994 dan 1997. Namun begitu, jerebu yang paling teruk melanda Malaysia adalah tahun 1997 dengan nilai Indeks Pencemaran Udara yang tertinggi sebagai 1033 API di Kuching Sarawak. Jerebu boleh menyebabkan kesan negatif kepada banyak sektor termasuk pelancongan, kesihatan, perikanan, pertanian dan perhutanan. Jerebu pada jangka masa lama boleh memberi kesan kepada produktiviti tanaman pertanian.

Dalam jangka panjang, keadaan ini akan membawa kesan negatif kepada alam sekitar dan seterusnya menjejaskan produktiviti pertanian. Tumbuh-tumbuhan akan mati akibat gas-gas yang mencemarkan alam sekitar. Contohnya, sulfur dioksida akan menyebabkan pokok barli dan pokok kapas mengalami kerosakan dan seterusnya membantutkan pertumbuhan pokok-pokok tersebut.

Kita tidak sepatutnya hanya menuding jari antara satu sama lain mencari kesalahan dan juga punca jerebu. Sikap sambil lewa manusia terhadap keadaan alam sekitar akan menyebabkan keadaan menjadi semakin teruk. Manusia seharusnya berganding bahu dalam memelihara dan memulihara alam sekitar demi masa depan anak-anak kita.

Pemanasan Global

oleh Tan Poh Ling



Pada masa kini, fenomena permanasan global menjadi satu isu yang hangat diperbincangkan di merata dunia. Pemanasan global berlaku akibat pembakaran bahan api fosil seperti arang batu, minyak dan gas menyebabkan peningkatan gas rumah hijau yang sangat banyak seperti karbon dioksida, metana dan klorofluorokarbon (CFC) ke dalam lapisan atmosfera. Gas rumah hijau yang terperangkap tidak dapat dibebaskan akan menyebabkan suhu di bumi meningkat dan keadaan di sekitar menjadi panas.

Di Malaysia, tanda-tanda perubahan iklim akibat kesan rumah hijau dapat dilihat menerusi beberapa kejadian bencana alam yang melanda beberapa kawasan di seluruh negara seperti kenaikan paras air laut, jerebu, banjir, tanah runtuh dan kekurangan sumber air. Fenomena pemanasan global ini bukan hanya dihadapi oleh masyarakat di Malaysia sahaja malah ia merupakan isu global yang harus ditangani secara bersama oleh semua negara di dunia.

Kesan rumah hijau banyak menganggu keadaan ekosistem alam sekitar, contohnya pencairan ais di Kutub Utara dan Kutub Selatan akan menyebabkan peningkatan aras laut. Paras laut semakin tidak stabil akan menghasilkan gelombang yang besar yang mengancam garis pantai dan struktur hakisan pantai serta memusnahkan zon penampan paya bakau yang mengakibatkan kerosakan habitat pelbagai jenis spesies tumbuhan dan juga hidupan akuatik.

Selain itu, sumber hutan dara yang tidak dipelihara dengan baik juga menyumbang kepada kesan perubahan cuaca terhadap ekosistem. Kegiatan seperti pembalakan haram, pembakaran hutan secara terbuka dan juga pembukaan kawasan baru bagi tujuan pembangunan banyak menyumbang kepada isu pemanasan global ini. Ini adalah kerana pokok-pokok berperanan sebagai perangkap dan pengguna utama karbon dioksida bagi proses fotosintesis. Gangguan yang berlaku kepada ekosistem akibat kerakusan manusia akhirnya akan membawa bencana kepada manusia sendiri.

Ini adalah kerana bencana seperti tanah runtuh, banjir lumpur dan kekurangan sumber sering berlaku pada masa kini. Kita merupakan sebahagian dari ekosistem haruslah bersama menangani isu pemanasan global ini. Semua lapisan masyarakat dan juga komuniti antarabangsa mesti bekerjasama dalam memelihara dan memulihara alam sekitar agar dapat diwarisi oleh generasi akan datang.

(kredit gambar:http://www.flickr.com/photos/rizzato/2671575856/)

Malaysian Mangroves Trees



By: Omar A. Jassim

After the devastating Tsunami in 2004, Malaysia has begun to pay a lot of attention to the protection of nature especially on mangroves trees.
One way of doing it by replanting the mangroves.Most of these activities are conducted by the NGOs with supports from the government agencies.

This effort should be example to many Arabian countries. As far as I know, the Arabian countries are not doing anything about the issue of mangroves destruction.
Therefore, the first thing these countries should do is by educating their people on the importance of mangroves to humans.

Mangroves trees are very important for people as it protects the land from the waves of the sea and also harbors living animals such as monkeys, crabs and birds as well as many types of insects. Mangroves are normally found to be growing near the shores of Malaysia.It has a unique ecosystem and provides a living place for many different species of flora & fauna which hardly be found in other parts of the world. Hence, andthis can be a place of attraction to the tourists.

The mangroves trees have roots which appear on the surface and also have a striking and complex appearance.andMangroves have been ignored by human beings for decades, but Tsunami has mademakes people realize its importance again.
Mangroves help to protect a change in nature.

photo by: Omar A. Jassim
upload.wikimedia.org

Friday, February 27, 2009

Environmental Friendly Practices: It Starts With You


By: Azlan Abdul Rahman

How can we be an environmental friendly person? What are the activities and practices that we can implement in order to be an environmental friendly individual? All these questions just need a simple answer - YOU. There is no need to be an environmentalist or an activist if you want to conserve the environment. Regardless of either you are a mother, a scientist, a postman or even a student you can help the Earth to “breath” for a longer time. In order to conserve the environment and to be an environmental friendly person, you can implement these following four practices:

Environmental Friendly Practices at Home - Housewives and family members are the main targets here. Housewives and other family members can be environmental friendly persons if they implement and do some practices which are, in relation, beneficial to the environment. Firstly, we can start by looking at the tools and equipments that they used in their daily life and work. Housewives at home can use cloth towels to wipe the kitchen, tables and counters instead of using tissue papers. Cloth towels are reusable compared to tissue paper. This practice is suitable in the effort to lessen down the number of trees cut for producing tissue paper. By that we are actually maintaining trees for the circulation of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In addition, plant-loving family members can also help protect the environment by using compost organic waste as a nutrient-rich fertilizer for their plants or trees. Stop using pesticides and grow plants like mint to get rid of pests. As we know, the usage of pesticides is one of the major factors contributing to global warming. Using lots of pesticides can cause the depletion of our ozone layer. So, mothers and sisters at home need to start using environmental friendly products and actively implement some environmental friendly practices to help the Earth.

Environmental Friendly Practices at School/University – Students can protect the earth by implementing some environmental friendly practices at their school. For instance, they can plant trees to beautify the school compound. Not only that, this also adds in a breath of fresh air as trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere. As a result, they do not just serve our eyes but also to our lungs as well. As the same practice at home, instead of using tissue papers, they can use handkerchief to reduce waste and save energy. How does it work? When we use handkerchiefs instead of tissue papers, we are actually preventing the tress from being cut while at the same time conserving the environment. An easy action can help the world. Not to forget, students can also conserve the environment by keeping the school compound clean. Encourage ourselves to use the litter bins every time and let the habit grow in our society.



Environmental Friendly Practices at Office – At the start of the early morning until the end of the evening, a worker can be an environmental friendly person if he or she follows these simple practices. First, workers can use public transportation to reduce air pollution and save on fuel consumption. We need to be aware that by transporting 100 passengers via public buses/trains, it will occupy only 1/10 of total roads, consume 1/6 of fuel and emit 1/16 of noxious gases, as compared to transporting them by cars. The practice of a paperless office, not only can conserve energy but it is also environmental friendly. Instead of using facsimiles and printers, use communication tools such as emails, instant messaging (IM) and video conferencing. By implementing this practice, you are actually saving your energy, money as well as the Earth. In addition, you can also replace artificial plants in your office with natural ones. Promote a green environment and maintain adequate oxygen content in the office atmosphere. Be a ‘go green’ office.

Environmental Friendly Practices When Shopping – Shopaholics, you can be environmental friendly too! How? Firstly, bring your own reusable shopping bag every time you go to the store. You need to be aware that plastic bags are not biodegradable and can take up to 500 years for them to breakdown. So, please bring your own bags and say no to plastic bags. Secondly, we can also protect the earth by select CFC-free or energy efficient appliances and products. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) can damage the ozone layer and cause global warning. Next, we can conserve our environment by not buying products which are made from endangered species of animals and plants. Only by doing that, we can maintain the biodiversity in the environment. For mothers, please buy and use non-disposable products. This can reduce waste and save resources. We need to take notice that disposable products like diapers are not completely biodegradable. Obviously, we do not want to inherit a “rubbish world” to our future generation.

So, no matter whether you are a teacher, a nurse, a farmer, a bar tender or even a kid at home, do your part to conserve the world and be an environmental friendly person. Your actions can determine the world of the next generations.

(Photos courtesy of: http://www.hubpages.com & http://www.greenprinter.files.wordpress.com)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sustainable Development

By Gowri Sritharan

Sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Critical issues such as energy, agriculture, the built environment, modernization and the natural environment are often related to sustainable development. With talks of alternative energies, climate change and loss of biodiversity gaining intensity throughout the world, there is a pressing need to find local solution for those global problems.

It was estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that energy needs would grow 55% between 2005 and 2030. As such, the importance of energy conservation and the need for alternative energy is crucial. Alternative energies under study and consideration worldwide are wave power and solar energy. In Malaysia, solar energy is not being commonly utilized due to the high costs of RM26,000 per kilo watt system.

Energy issues are also linked to agriculture, where the demand in bio-fuels has threatened food supplies worldwide. Annually 40 million people die of starvation, the most effected being in Africa. Although it is one of the nations contributing least to climate change, it receives the largest impact of food insecurity due to droughts and floods.

The increased consumption of meat has also put pressures on food security, as now there is a need to grow wheat to feed animals and not just people. About 1000 liters of water is needed to produce 1 kilogram of wheat, however 13,000 liters of water is required to produce 1 kilogram of meat. As such, the rising demand in meat for consumption in developed nations would take a toll on the poor and third world countries.

There has also been an increased interest in genetically engineered crops, as more successful harvests are reaped from such crops. Gene banks and embryo centers are gaining popularity. The Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) in India has been carrying out research on the production of various types of rice through genetic modification. This institute was established by the Government of India in 1946 with the aim of conducting studies to increase productivity and sustainability of rice, a staple food of the nation.

Another challenge towards sustainable development is sustaining the natural environment. Human activities over the years have caused complete changes to ecosystems which have resulted in the loss of diversity. Worldwide, approximately 20% of coral reefs and about 35% of mangroves have been lost. Human beings have become geological agents, causing destruction to nature.

Immediate measures are necessary to sustain the natural environment in Malaysia, which is one of the 14 mega-diverse countries in the world. Whether it is technological measures, policy measures or human factors, all positive efforts towards a better environment should be implemented immediately.

Insecticides Destroying the Health of the Iraqi


By: Omar A. Jassim

You think some things are good but in reality they are bad. The use of pesticides against harmful insects in the farmlands can cause many problems and diseases. Each type of pesticide brings its own viruses and they can lead to bigger problems rather than simply exterminating the insects.

The use of DDT insecticide, for instance, can lead to infection in man, plants, as well as to the bacteria in the soil. The simple chemical material not only affects these components but it also has the ability to destroy the whole organic structure of the soil.

Farmers in Iraq were using a variety of pesticides for many decades. They used pesticides in order to control the number of insects from infecting their plants and harvests such as fruits and vegetables. However, human health was at risk because of these pesticides.

The DDT insecticides were used in broad range in Iraq. This kind of insecticide was used to destroy harmful insects in no time. There was a report in 1971-1972 which informed that many Iraqis were facing some health problems and most of them had been hospitalized. There were also other pesticides with mercury as their main content. To worsen the situation, this kind of pesticide can lead to a disease name Alimamata.

Other pesticides that are frequently used in Iraq, for instance, phosphorus and asifin-based pesticides can also lead to animal, plants and soil infection as well as to human life. The Iraqi Government was asked and forced to come out with strict legislation on this problem. They were asked to put in place some solutions and mechanisms to solve this problem. They suggested some biological controls as to lessen down the use of toxic in the pesticides.


photo by :www.eveandersson.com

Exploitation of Tigers

By:Afra' Fardillah ZaiMustapar

People of all walks of life have a fascination for wildlife, whether children, the elderly, the rich or poor. For instance, a tiger on display would draw attention from far and wide, with some even willing to pay to have a closer look. Such curiosity and willingness to participate on the part of the public have driven wildlife owners to the extremes in showing off their possession. Throughout the world, it is becoming increasingly common for theme parks and recreational areas other than zoos to have tigers on display. In most such places, it is not only the small and unsuitable enclosures that become an issue. Another recent and worrying trend is the declawing of tigers.

Tigers kept for the purpose of entertainment are in some cases subjected to surgery where the claws on their front limbs are removed. The purpose for doing so is to make them easier to handle. It is believed that a declawed tiger is less dangerous and can cause less harm in case of an attack. OftenMost times, these tigers are cared for by laymen and not expert animal handlers. As such, caretakers do not know the proper conduct in approaching a tiger and handling it. An attack in most cases is, thus, caused by the caretaker’s carelessness and lack of knowledge. Tigers are also used in photography sessions in resorts, where visitors can pose a alongside a tiger and have their picture taken. Tigers used in such activities are often declawed for fear they may attack visitors.

The act of declawing a tiger is inhumane. The surgery performed to remove claws is highly risky, and could leave the animal paralyzed for life. In almost all cases, the animal experiences severe pain and discomfort. Such procedures seem to be a futile effort as tigers even without intact claws are capable of causing enough damage to a human. A tiger’s mere push can be violent enough to cause multiple fractures, and a bite to the head or neck region could kill.

Why are unethical veterinary doctors and irresponsible animal owners still carrying out such practices on tigers? Where are government agencies and enforcement efforts in this matter? Tigers are endangered animals and should be protected, not exploited. Laws should exist to ban the display of tigers in recreational areas other than zoos. Permits allowing for possession of wildlife, especially tigers should only be given out to individuals interested in the conservation of the species and not its commercialization. In several countries, for example the US, the act of declawing a tiger is illegal. Similar laws should be enacted in Malaysia, where the possession and use of tigers for entertainment and display is becoming increasingly common. The activities of unscrupulous animal handlers should be curbed to protect a species that is fast dwindling in the wild.


picture courtesy:www.hotelthailand.com/thailand-activities/sig...

Transportation and the Environment

By:Afra' Fardillah ZaiMustapar

Unsustainable development throughout the world has left unimaginable ill effects on the environment. An example is the use of motorized vehicles for transportation, mainly cars. In Malaysia, it is becoming common for each family to own and use up to three different cars. The same scenario applies for most other developed nations around the world. Undeniably, the comfort and convenience of travelling in a self-owned car exceeds all other means of transportation. Firstly, the design in which cars are manufactured these days pay emphasis on consumer satisfaction. For example, cars are fitted with the latest radios and CD players, the most comfortable seats and cushioning, air conditioning and safety features such as air bags. In addition to that, the construction of roads, highways and expressways have also provided individuals with better driving conditions, and as such, a driving pleasure.

However, environmental impacts associated with the use of motorized vehicles have become a problem at a global scale. Besides deforestation to pave way for the construction of roads and highways, the use of motorized vehicles causes excessive emission of greenhouse gases. High levels of mainly carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide trap heat within the atmosphere as these gases absorb infrared radiation. The worsening environmental conditions call for a change in the style and strategy of managing transportation issues. More importantly, a change in habits should come from every individual in the society. People should adopt and practice a green transport strategy where non-motorized vehicles become the transport of choice. For example, the use of bicycles for short distance travels. Universities should also ban motorized vehicles within campus areas and provide better facilities for cyclist.

Several universities abroad have already implemented environmentally friendly transportation modes within campus. For example, University of North Carolina in Charlotte, University of Kentucky, The College of New Jersey, University of California in Santa Barbara, Cornell University, University of Oregon and Cornell University in New York. In addition to decreasing air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cycling is the cheapest mode of transportation and is also beneficial to one’s health.

The public should also be urged at the state and national level to opt for public transport whenever possible. Recently, the public transport services in the state of Penang were greatly improved with the introduction of Rapid Penang buses. Thus, using buses and ferries to travel can reduce the number of cars on the road, which in turn reduces air pollution. Although it will take time for people to completely adjust and adopt to green transport strategies, efforts from all parties have to begin now. The environment has fallen sick and is worsening from day to day. A change in people’s behavior from a transportation point of view would provide the environment some relief.

Symbol of Peace is the First Victims of Separation Wall

By: Khalid Abu Fayyad



The separation wall “some call it apartheid wall likening to system of apartheid in South Africa” constructed by the Israeli to separate the West Bank from the territories that occupied by Israeli occupation in 1948 l. The wall attached thousands of acres of Palestinians land in West Bank to Israel. The length of wall is approximately 750 km while its height is 8 meters.

Upon constructing the wall, the Israeli occupation uprooted more than 83 thousands of olive trees plus more than a million other tresses, as reported by Palestinian Statistics Center.

Given that the olive tree is very crucial to the environment as it contributes in the process of air pureration by capturing dust particles, consumption of carbon dioxide and release oxygen in the atmosphere, reducing the flow of water and soil erosion, and increase the opportunity to feed the underground reservoir, in addition to its contribution to the sustainability of wildlife through providing safe haven for birds and other animals, thus protecting the biodiversity.

The severe impacts of separation wall did not stop at uprooting the olive trees but also to the wildlife. The wall has cut the natural connection of animals with West Bank and deprived many kinds of animals from pastures and breeding areas.
With construction of the wall, the soil erosion and sedimentation increased and the flow of surface altered. In addition, the wall helped in creating suitable environment for growing of exotic weeds, pests and pathogens that thrived in the disturbed areas.

The serious concern of constructing the wall is its serious effects on water supplies around the wall. According to Palestinian Statistics Center, more than 50 wells lost as result of being located behind the wall . Subsequently, Palestinians people lost 7 million cubic meters of water which constitute 30 % of the total water consumption in West Bank.

It seems that uprooting olive trees by the Israeli occupation, killed any semblance of peace and love in land of Palestine. This confirms that Israeli occupation never one day seek the peace. Seeking the peace which symbolized by olive tree, necessitate removal all the walls and barriers and returning the rights back to their owners to let all enjoy safe and free environment from wars.

Pemanasan Global Semakin Kritikal

oleh Gowri Sritharan

Kebelakangan ini, fenomena pemanasan global sering menjadi topik yang dibincangkan di media elektronik dan media cetak. Isu ini turut mendapat perhatian badan-badan kerajaan, badan bukan kerajaan (NGOs) serta masyarakat di seluruh dunia.

Pemanasan global atau lebih dikenali sebagai Global Warming merujuk kepada fenomena kenaikan suhu purata bumi akibat peningkatan gas rumah hijau (Green House Gases- GHG) dalam atmosfera. Gas-gas GHG seperti karbon monoksida, karbon dioksida, klorofluorokarbon (CFC), metana dan nitrus oksida memerangkap haba daripada sinaran matahari, seterusnya maningkatkan suhu purata dalam atmosfera bumi.

Apabila berlaku malapetaka kepada alam semesta, sudah pasti ada puncanya. Sebagaimana yang diketahui, aktiviti penebangan hutan yang berleluasa serta kegiatan perkilangan dan industri yang tidak terkawal antara punca berlakunya pemanasan global.

Antara kesan negatif yang timbul daripada pemanasan gobal adalah bencana alam seperti El-Nino, ribut petir, hakisan ombak, dan yang paling membimbangkan, pencairan ais di Kutub Utara dan Kutub Selatan yang akan menenggelamkan kawasan rendah di seluruh muka bumi.

Dalam usaha menangani permasalahan ini, masyarakat perlu lebih peka terhadap isu-isu alam sekitar yang berlaku pada masa ini kerana ia mempunyai kaitan dalam kehidupan seharian kita. Generasi muda pada masa kini juga seharusnya dipupuk nilai kesedaran tentang kepentingan alam sekitar.

Pada masa yang sama, kerajaan juga seharusnya mengambil berat isu yang semakin kritikal ini. Sebagai contoh, pelbagai undang-undang diperingkat negeri boleh digubal untuk mengurangkan pembalakan dan penebangan hutan. Pembalakan perlu dijalankan mengikut garis panduan yang telah ditetapkan bagi memastikan hutan tidak sewenang-wenangnya diteroka oleh mereka yang tidak bertanggungjawab.

Aktiviti-aktiviti industri juga perlu dikawal rapi melalui penguatkuasaan undang-undang, terutamanya dari segi pembebasan gas-gas ke atmosfera. Hal ini bagi memastikan kelangsungan alam sekitar dan masa depan yang terjamin untuk generasi yang akan datang.

Disamping itu, kajian terhadap penggunaan sumber alternatif yang boleh diperbaharui perlu dikembangkan. Contohnya, biodiesel, solar dan hidroelektrik. Hal ini bagi memastikan kita tidak bergantung sepenuhnya kepada bahan api fosil yang juga merupakan punca pemanasan global.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Garden in the Heart

by Tan Poh Ling



Lies within the coast area and busy city in Penang there is one of the Asia’s oldest botanical institutions, the Botanical Garden. It is also well known as the Waterfalls Garden. This garden is enriched with its wide range of the flowers. Established in 1884 this garden is also enriched with the historical sites. This place is the best place for us to examine the local flora and fauna. There are plenty of excellent nature trails around this area as well.

This garden not only serves us as one of the tourist attractions but also a place for us to conserve our environment. The greenery of this garden is much appreciated by the local people as this garden is a favorite spot for them spending their time at evenings and weekends.

The garden has a wide range of both local and also tropical trees, flowery plants and also ferns. Surrounded by the waterfalls and also the lily ponds, this place is an absolutely a perfect mind relaxing place after the hectic working life. Having fun during the free time with family and spending time together with them allow you and your family to tighten the relationship among each other.

This is a landmark of the conservation activities that has been done by the government that benefits both the country also the citizens. The government should create and also conserve more places like the Botanical Garden for the locals to enjoy a greenery environment also to boast the eco-tourism economy. Besides, recreations this place also enables children to learn about the flora and fauna. They can experience the real science class and get close up to the flora and fauna around them. First hand experience is the best teacher for the kids.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tasik Meromiktik: Keunikan Yang Harus Dipelihara

Oleh: Azlan Abdul Rahman

Terpesona dan mengagumkan! Dua perkataan paling sesuai menggambarkan fenomena peralihan pasang surut air di Tasik Meromiktik, Pantai Kerachut, Taman Negara Pulau Pinang. Tasik unik yang dikelilingi ratusan pohon-pohon teduh memayung persekitarannya mempunyai kisah yang tersendiri.

Tasik Meromiktik adalah tasik unik yang hanya terdapat di Taman Negara Pulau Pinang dan 19 tempat lain di seluruh dunia. Keunikan tasik ini bukan terletak pada lokasi mahupun saiznya, tetapi unik dari segi kandungan serta cara peralihan pasang surut airnya.

Meromiktik bermaksud dua lapisan air iaitu air laut dan air sungai yang tidak bercampur antara satu sama lain. Lapisan air yang tidak bercampur ini akan menjadikan suhu air tersebut berlainan dan menjadi habitat dua jenis hidupan berlainan. Struktur lapisan air di Tasik Meromiktik kebiasaannya dilatari oleh air laut pada dasar tasik dan air sungai pada bahagian atas dan permukaan kerana ketumpatan air laut adalah lebih tinggi berbanding dengan air sungai. Menyentuh mengenai kehidupan di dalam tasik seumpama ini, keistimewaannya masih dapat dilihat apabila hidupan air seperti ikan-ikan kecil dan udang juga datangnya dari berlainan jenis iaitu ikan-ikan laut dan sungai.



Tasik ini mempunyai keluasan 2.77 kilometer persegi dengan kedalaman maksima 9 kaki. Proses semulajadinya akan bersilih ganti membentuk dan mengeringkan tasik unik ini. Kebiasaanya pada waktu peralihan angin monsun iaitu antara pada bulan April hingga Mei dan Oktober hingga November, fenomena unik pembentukan dan pengeringan tasik ini dapat dilihat serta diamati. Musim monsun yang membawa ombak besar dan angin kencang akan membantu proses pemecahan benteng pasir pantai dan membentuk aliran air laut masuk ke dalam tasik. Lama-kelamaan tasik ini akan dipenuhi dengan air laut dan air sungai dari enam batang sungai yang mengelilingi tasik ini. Seterusnya, selepas satu tempoh waktu dan peralihan musim monsun, ombak besar dan angin kencang sekali lagi membantu proes merobohkan empangan pasir dan menarik air laut serta sungai keluar ke laut. Fenomena ini boleh berlaku berulang kali dalam tempoh peralihan angin monsun.



Pengunjung dan pelawat yang bertuah sahaja dapat melihat proses pembentukan dan pengeringan Tasik Meromiktik ini. Pengunjung yang berminat melihat tasik ini dipenuhi air bolehlah melawatnya antara akhir bulan Mei sehingga Disember dan tasik ini akan berubah wajah menjadi kering antara bulan Januari hingga Mei. Sekadar berkongsi informasi, jika tasik ini pasang dan dipenuhi air, ia mampu membekalkan air untuk kegunaan 2500 buah rumah selama setahun. Anda boleh bayangkan keluasan tasik ini.

Langkah pemeliharaan dan pemuliharaan tasik ini wajar dipratikkan secara konsisten dan berterusan. Semua pihak termasuklah pengunjung dan pelawat hendaklah menyedari keunikan tasik ini dan menghargainya sebagai salah satu warisan alam untuk kita pelihara. Apa yang kita miliki pada hari ini bukanlah hak kita sahaja tetapi keperluan untuk generasi mendatang. Jadi bersamalah kita memelihara keindahan dan keunikan warisan alam untuk kesejahteraan bersama.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Home Sweet Home

by Tan Poh Ling



Mangroves Tree

“I have a special home which grows between land and sea where other plants can't grow - Mangroves. Lately, I need to move away because my home is being destroyed. Besides, some of my friends died because they are not used to the environment around after our housing area being destroyed…” Mangroves is killed bue to the crude oil clogging on the lenticels of the tree contnually flooding from the artificail dikes and sea walls. Today, mangroves forests are one of the most treated natural habitats in the world.

Mangroves contribute to us in many ways. The authority should enforce law in order to gaze the other remaining mangroves forest within the forest reserves area and managing mangrove forests as fishery reserves to encourage environmentally-sensitive commercial aquaculture activities. Their outlook may not be attractive but they are able to protect us in many ways. Hence, we should value them and not hurt them.

In Malaysia, mangrove forests covered 564,971ha with 97,882ha in Peninsular Malaysia, 340,689ha in Sabah and 126,400ha in Sarawak (Ministry of the Natural Resources and Environment). Mangrove forests are a unique ecosystem that is usually found along sheltered coasts where they grow abundantly in saline soil and brackish water subject to periodic fresh- and salt-water inundation. Mangroves have a unique specialisation in adaptations to the environment that enable them to live in salty waters.

Acting as the interface between land and sea, mangrove forests act as an important breading ground to many fishes, crabs, prawns and other marine animals. About 50% of fish landings on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia are associated with mangroves. Besides, it also acts as a protection to the coastline and serves as natural barrier to disaster such as tsunamis and torrential storms. Given the enormous advantages of mangrove forests, proper management and conservation is crucial to ensure the continued existence of mangrove forests.