Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Treasure that Lies Within Malaysia

By: Tan Poh Ling

Malacca River, Malacca

One of the headlines in last week's local newspapers was that a row of shop houses in the heart of Kuala Lumpur being razed. It was not a news out of the ordinary what more when there was no casualty, only that the row of six shop houses were priceless since they had been declared as heritage buildings by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. But now they lie there as ashes - gone forever. Gone with them are part of Malaysia's rich history that our future generation will never see.

There are only about 1,000 buildings in Kuala Lumpur that have been declared as heritage structures, according to Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. That news of the burnt down heritage buildings, brings a heavy message - that we have to preserve our heritage buildings at any cost. But sadly, not many people know how to appreciate them. Nevertheless, attempts must be made to educate and create awareness among the general public to appreciate these limited number of buildings.

Our country is enriched with diverse culture and historical sites. Our care for the past will help in making a difference for the future. As we conserve the heritage, we are able to show our next generation our rich history. Let them see with their own eyes the beautiful heritage we inherit from previous generations and not only reading it from the book.

Our priceless heritage from two states is now proudly being in scripted by the UNESCO as the Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca, which are Malacca and George Town. Malaysia’s rich historical background was emerged from cultural exchanges among East and West in the Straits of Malacca since the 15th century. I remembered once when I stepped to the heritage trail in Malacca, I saw the different style of tiles being placed uniquely in the building. The carving of the tiles is totally different from what I see around in the building today. It really amazes me and makes me spend more time around the building to enjoy the arts of the building.

When I was small, I had a friend with a unique name, ended with ‘De Souza’. I was so curious why is her name so special and different from many of us. From her stories, I learnt about a new culture - Baba and Nyonya. In Malacca, the most popular living culture from the ancient time is Baba and Nyonya, or often used to be substituted by the term ”Peranakan”. Baba and Nyonya are from Chinese descendant who adopts some Malay customs and cultures into theirs and this makes them a unique heritage unlike any other. In Malaysia, we share a diverse culture while living together in harmony.

Besides culture, Malacca also has many historical relics lined up namely St. Paul’s Church where tourist can admire many old tombstones, Christ Church inspired by the Dutch architectural ingenuity with interesting features include the church’s handmade pews, ceiling beams constructed without joints, A’ Famosa building, Jalan Tokong where many Chinese traditions trade can be found and the most popular street in Malacca which is the Jonker’s Street where the night market crafted item, antique, door-like shoes and many more come alive.

City Hall, Penang

The arrival of the British to Penang, the Pearl of Orient, has left this island with legacy buildings. In the19th and early 20th century, George Town, the capital of the Penang, has one of the largest collections of buildings in the Southeast Asia. Penang is a living historic city, with inner city communities, places of worship, guilds, wet markets and bazaars, traditional trades and retail shops, trishaw peddlers and hawkers. Alice, a friend of mine from Australia once asked me about the attractions in Penang. She is so impressed with these sites after visiting them. She learns a lot about Malaysia’s history from these precious sites. As a Malaysian, I am proud to share with her about our history.

Sadly, these sites are disappearing slowly. We are slowly losing our treasure without us realizing it. Together, we as a part of the future history, need to put our hands together to conserve the heritage that we have now. We can help to protect what we have now for the future. Besides, the historical sites serve as cultural centers and also educational resources. The state's historic properties are major tourist attractions, that will boost our country’s economy. With help from Our Ministry of Culture, Art and Heritage, our historical sites have high hope to continue living in the country, for the present to admire and the future to remember. My little or perhaps huge hope for now, is that I am able to continue sharing the history of our country to all my friends around the world.
Credits: Picture of Malacca River taken from

How the Rivers in Malaysia are Dying

By: Tan Poh Ling

Rajang River, Sarawak

Sitting at the river bank behind my grandma house, the memory when I was small swimming in the river flew across my mind. The fishes were swimming up and down together in the crystal clear water with my cousin and I. Now, the memory will remain in my mind forever. The only view along the river now is floating rubbish. The scene of fishes swimming can no longer be seen. Who shall we blame for this? The answer is clear in everybody’s mind - humans.

Rivers has been an integral part of human civilization. In many instances, civilizations were formed on river bank itself. It is evident in Nile River which became the reason of existence to a successful Egyptian civilization. Besides being the source of water and easiest form of transport, rivers also provide food and revenues from trade. In today world, the advancement in technology, has threatened the value of rivers in human being. Such pollution caused by man's activities is an issue of growing concerns.

According to the National Resources and Environment Board (NREB), the trends for some parameters in the rivers in Sarawak showed a gradual decline in the quality of water from 1999 to 2006. The results of the 2006 state river water quality monitoring showed that the total coliform bacteria values for all the 39 rivers has rise and exceeded the upper limit of Class IIB of the National Water Quality Standard for Malaysia (NWQSM). Research by the Department of Enviroment (DoE), 1 litre of waste water pollutes about 8 litres of freshwater. There is an estimated 12,000 km3 of polluted water worldwide, which is more than the total amount of water contained in the world’s largest river basins.

This eye soring results are rooted by the urbanisasion along the river and also by the name of development. The existence of squatters and factories along the river reserves is detrimental to the river in a many ways. Humans are often selfish and always wanted to do things in the easiest way. At such, most of the sewage generated by the people living along the river bank find their way disposing the wastage directly into rivers without knowing the harm they bring to the river.

Another killer to the river is the logging activity where it causes soil erosion and high silt loads in the rivers. Logging activities are said to be the major activity, especially in the upper reaches of Rejang river in Kapit caused siltation in Rajang river. While humans greedily earn money in various way, they have totally forgotten on how important and how much the river have contributed to them.

To prevent further deterioration of water quality in urban stretches and its potential threat to public health, everyone should hold the responsibilty. We need to restrict people from discharging organic wastes directly into the rivers, otherwise there will be more and more dead rivers. The Government has made it mandatory to all industrial areas to develop their own waste treatment systems or mini oxidization ponds to treat all discharges from factories before they are released into the rivers. We must learn how to love our river before it is too late. Remember, the fate of river is in our hands.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Risk of Sewage Water Contamination in Iraq

By: Omar A. Jassim
The increasing of population in Iraq contributed the increasing demands for the water. During this time, the phenomenon of water scarcity has begun to worry Iraqis and at the same time pollution from sewage by right is a clear threat to millions of people in Iraq.

Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which stretch from the northern to the south of Iraq, are facing a risk of contamination caused by sewage water pollution. These rivers are the main water resources and they provide drinking water to Iraqis without any high liquidation technology and sterilization processes before they reach the people. The Iraqis Ministry of Environment said that studies carried out by them showed that 95 percent of school children are using non-sterile water without any control.

Children age six to 12 years old faced several types of diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever caused by Amoeba and other bacteria. Sometimes, these diseases can be fatal if they are not treated immediately. The children are now facing some environment threats after their “horror lives” during U.S war in Iraq.

Drainage in Iraq comes from several sources, for instance, home, restaurants, schools, rain as well as the groundwater. They contain some elements with high risk pollutants that can harm to human. Iraqis are not completely aware about these polluted water and they do not know the risk of ignoring the threat of sewage water even if the water are treated with chlorine.

The class is the foundation of human sewage water pollution where it connects domestic usage of water with the network of sewage. Then it directly reaches the river without any filter process and then back again in the circulation of water usage. Even after some sterilization processes have been implemented, there are still a lot germs and parasites that can cause deadly threats to humans.

Amoeba dysentery disease is one of the most dangerous diseases which often lead to death if not treated quickly. Dysentery amoeba is a parasitic worm transmitted by human feces that is drained into the river and then back into human in the circulation of water usage. It can cause intestine inflammation, diarrhea, intestinal tumors and sever fever.

Photo by: Omar A. Jassim

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bedouin in Iraq

By: Omar A. Jassim

For generations, Bedouins in Iraq have been using specific methods for the purpose of cooling the place in which they live.These methods cause less pollution to the environment.

Bedouins place leaves which have been sprinkled with some water at the entrances of rooms. This cools the breeze that enters the room, thus reducing the temperature within the room. This method of cooling is not harmful to the environment compared to the use of electrical appliances for cooling, which may cause the emission of gases harmful to human health.

Bedouins in Iraq are nomads and often on the move in search of places for their sheep and camel to graze, as their livelihood depends on livestock. Their modes of transport are camels, and not motorized vehicles. This conserves the environment as no green house gases are emitted, and also reduces health risks that may arise from inhaling dangerous vehicle fumes.
The Bedouin population is dependent upon the treatment of diseases using weeds. This reduces the risk of morbidity compared to the population of the city, where diseases spread quickly.
(Credit: photo downloaded from:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tanah Runtuh! Tanah Runtuh! Tanah Runtuh! … Apa puncanya???

Oleh: Azlan bin Abdul Rahman

Setiap pagi selepas bersiap mandi sebelum ke kuliah, saya pasti tercari-cari naskhah surat khabar untuk mengetahui keadaan semasa dunia serta tempatan. Namun, tiap kali saya mengamati kisah-kisah yang dipaparkan di dada akhbar, kekecewaan dan kekesalan pasti timbul di sudut hati saya. Kekesalan dan kesedihan ini bukan sahaja ditujukan ke atas kekejaman rejim zionis di Palestin yang membunuh kanak-kanak dan golongan wanita yang tidak berdosa bahkan saya turut sedih dan kesal atas apa yang berlaku terhadap alam sekitar semulajadi di Malaysia.

Menyentuh mengenai malapetaka alam sekitar yang berlaku di Malaysia, kita tidak dapat lari daripada membincangkan peristiwa tanah runtuh yang kini seakan menjadi tajuk hangat dalam pelaporan media massa. Saban hari media massa menimbunkan kita dengan pemaparan kes-kes tanah runtuh tidak kira samada kes kecil yang hanya memusnahkan sebatas kebun sayuran mahupun kes tanah runtuh yang besar sehingga meragut nyawa manusia. Pada saya tiap pemaparan kes tanah runtuh dalam media massa menuntut kerjasama dan keperihatinan semua pihak terhadap permasalahan ini.

Menyingkap kembali sejarah kejadian tanah runtuh di Malaysia, minda dan pemikiran kita pasti akan tertarik untuk membincangkan kembali mengenai kejadian tanah runtuh terburuk di negara ini yang berlaku pada tahun 1993. Kejadian sebuah pangsapuri mewah rebah menyembah bumi pada 11 Disember 1993 di Hulu Kelang menjadi igauan ngeri bukan sahaja di kalangan penduduk di situ bahkan untuk seluruh masyarakat Malaysia. Kegagalan fungsi tanah untuk menyokong struktur bangunan perumahan tersebut menyebabkan ianya runtuh dan mengorbankan 48 nyawa penghuni blok perumahan tersebut. Malapetaka hebat ini dikatakan berpunca daripada taburan hujan selama 10 hari tanpa henti di kawasan terbabit dan menyebabkan struktur tanah menjadi longgar dan runtuh. Persoalannya, adakah wajar di salahkan hujan yang menjadi punca kelonggaran struktur tanah di kawasan itu? Tidakkah kita sebagai manusia yang mendambakan pembangunan yang perlu dipersalahkan? Soalan dari kita yang hendaklah diselesaikan oleh kita sendiri. Pandangan saya mengenai persoalan ini cukup mudah, kegagalan fungsi tanah di kawasan tragedi Highland Towers ini bukan hanya disebabkan oleh taburan hujan tanpa henti namun disebabkan oleh tangan-tangan manusia yang memusnahkan alam sekitar terutamanya kawasan tanah tinggi di kawasan tersebut. Penerokaan dan pemusnahan hutan dan kawasan tanah tinggi tanpa kawalan untuk membangunkan lot-lot perumahan mungkin menjadi punca berlakunya kes-kes tanah runtuh di sekitar kawasan terbabit. Demi pembangunan fizikal dan material, manusia lupa akan perjanjian kita dengan tuhan yang esa iaitu untuk menjadi khalifah yang memakmurkan bumi ini.

Kes di atas hanya merupakan satu contoh mula kegagalan manusia memakmurkan bumi tuhan yang indah ini. Jika kita hendak membincangkan mengenai kejadian tanah runtuh di negara kita, pasti naskah demi naskah surat khabar akan dipenuhi dengan pemaparan kes kejadian seumpama kejadian Higland Towers. Selepas tragedi Highland Towers pada tahun 1993, kita dipaparkan pula dengan rentetan kejadian tanah runtuh di negara kita. Ada yang dasyat dan ada juga yang tidak membahayakan nyawa dan kehidupan manusia. Namun, kejadian tanah runtuh tetap menjadi musibah dek tangan-tangan manusia. Kejadian tanah runtuh di kilometer 34 jalan susur Genting Highland pada 30 Jun 1995 sekali lagi menyaksikan berlakunya korban malapetaka apabila 20 nyawa hilang dalam kejadian tersebut. Punca kejadian kes tersebut seperti yang dilaporkan masih sama iaitu hujan lebat yang berterusan selama beberapa hari. Tidak cukup dengan kes itu, kita dikejutkan pula dengan kes tanah runtuh yang menyebabkan berlakunya banjir lumpur di Pos Dipang, Perak yang meragut nyawa 44 masyarakat Orang Asli dan memusnahkan kawasan penempatan mereka pada 29 Ogos 1996. Menginjak ke alaf baru, kita masih tidak dapat lari daripada membincangkan mengenai kes tanah runtuh kerana kita masih dihantui oleh permasalahan tersebut. Pada tanggal 26 Disember 2007, kejadian tanah runtuh yang memusnahkan sederetan rumah kayu di Kapit, Sarawak pula mengejutkan kita. Dua kematian dicatatkan dan kegagalan perencanaan semulajadi alam sekitar di kawasan terbabit dipersalahkan. Sekali lagi faktor alam sekitar yang dipersalahkan dan bukannya manusia. Dan kes terbaru yang mengejutkan kembali masyarakat di Hulu Kelang ialah kes tanah runtuh dasyat yang berlaku di kawasan penempatan mewah Bukit Antarabangsa. Kejadian pada bulan Disember lalu ini memusnahkan 14 banglo mewah dan menelan nyawa 4 orang mangsa manakala 15 yang lain dilaporkan cedera. Sama seperti kejadian-kejadian sebelum ini, selepas terhantuk baru kita terngadah dan mula mencari formula-formula berkesan untuk menangani permasalahan tanah runtuh di negara kita.

Contoh-contoh yang diberikan di atas merupakan malapetaka alam sekitar yang meragut nyawa dan memusnahkan harta benda manusia. Belum diceritakan lagi kejadian-kejadian tanah runtuh berskala kecil yang berlaku di negara kita. Mengambil contoh kawasan penempatan saya, Balik Pulau dan Bayan Lepas, tiap kali musim hujan pasti akan kedengaran kes-kes tanah runtuh yang menghalang laluan kenderaan seperti di selekoh Balik Pulau dan di beberapa kawasan di Paya Terubung juga Teluk Bahang. Namun semuanya seakan tidak mampu menyedarkan pihak terbabit dan pembangunan di kawasan yang sering berlaku tanah runtuh ini masih giat dijalankan. Apakah punca berlakunya kejadian tanah runtuh ini? Apakah langkah wajar yang perlu diambil? Bak kata pepatah, mencegah lebih baik daripada mengubati. Pepatah ini sesuai untuk digunakan dalam perencanaan jalan penyelesaian permasalahan tanah runtuh dan malapetaka alam sekitar lain di negara kita. Langkah pencegahan awal seperti mengharamkan penerokaan kawasan hutan dan tanah tinggi dapat mengelakkan daripada berulangnya kejadian-kejadian tanah runtuh di negara kita. Langkah pemeliharaan dan pemuliharaan hutan dan kawasan tanah tinggi yang baik wajar diterapkan oleh pihak yang berkenaan demi melihat generasi yang akan datang hidup dalam alam sekitar yang menjaminkan kesejahteraan.

Kesedaran dan keperihatinan awal daripada semua pihak amatlah dituntut dalam merealisasikan impian ini. Semua pihak haruslah berkerjasama dalam menyedarkan diri sendiri, komuniti sekeliling dan masyarakat sedunia akan peri pentingnya alam sekitar dalam kehidupan manusia. Alam sekitar yang baik menjamin kelestarian hidup manusia pada masa kini dan juga yang mendatang.

(kredit: gambarajah dimuat turun dari:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pelihara Alam Sebelum Musnah

Oleh: Afra Fardillah Zai Mustapar

Ada banyak teori tentang bagaimana alam semesta ini wujud. Setengah-setengahnya sekadar andaian sahaja, sementara dakwaan yang lain ialah berasaskan sains kaji bintang. Menurut Al- Hafiz B.A Masri dalam bukunya Islam dan Ekologi salah satu teori menyebut bahawa pada mulanya ruang angkasa tidak wujud. Namun, setelah lebih 15,000 juta tahun lalu, berlaku satu ledakan kuat dan jisim-jisim di langit mulai terbentuk. Teori ini disebut ‘Letupan Besar’. Apa yang dapat difahami melalui teori ini ialah salah satu daripada jisim langit itu telah dinamakan bumi, berkembang secara beransur-ansur hingga memungkinkan kehidupan bermula.

Dalam kehidupan bumi terkandung pelbagai jenis kehidupan dan kaya dengan pelbagai jenis biodiversiti seperti flora dan fauna yang perlu dipelihara bagi memastikan sistem ekologi berfungsi dengan baik. Sistem keseimbangan dalam alam sekitar yang diaturkan Penciptanya ini lebih dikenali sebagai ekosistem yang sangat unik dan sistematik. Seperti mana yang dapat dilihat, matahari dan bulan sudah ditentukan berfungsi dalam ekosistem selaku penyumbang cahaya mengikut kadar yang tertentu.

Manusia mempercayai bahawa ruang bumi yang terbentuk ini tidak terbatas dan sumber-sumbernya tidak akan kehabisan. Anggapan seperti ini sememangnya tidak benar sama sekali dan bertentangan dengan lumrah kehidupan alam. Ini terbukti apabila ada diantara manusia yang rakus dan tidak menghargai alam semesta telah menyalahgunakan dan menghabiskan apa sahaja bagi memenuhi tuntutan kehidupan tanpa memikirkan kesan apabila ianya akan pupus pada suatu hari nanti.

Sebagai contoh, ciri-ciri kerakusan manusia dalam mengejar pembangunan pada zaman yang serba moden ini adalah dengan melakukan penggondolan hutan. Seperti yang diketahui, hutan adalah merupakan sebuah kawasan yang diliputi dengan tumbuh-tumbuhan terdiri daripada pebagai jenis saiz pokok serta didiami oleh pelbagai jenis tumbuhan dan haiwan serta habitat-habitat lain. Malah, hutan turut berperanan penting dalam kehidupan manusia dengan membekalkan sumber bahan mentah serta penyumbang kepada sosioekonomi dan kestabilan ekologi.

Dalam pada masa yang sama, hutan juga berperanan dalam mewujudkan peredaran ekologi. Sebagai contoh, unit asas dalam sistem ekologi adalah ekosistem di mana semua benda hidup termasuk manusia, haiwan dan tumbuhan saling berinteraksi kerana mereka memerlukan antara satu sama lain untuk terus hidup. Justeru manusia perlulah peka dengan keadaan tersebut. Manusia tidak boleh dengan sewenang-wenangnya melakukan sebarang pembangunan tanpa memikirkan kesan yang bakal terjadi terhadap ekosistem pada masa akan datang. Ini kerana kesan daripada pembangunan yang dibawa oleh manusia akan memberikan impak kepada perkhidmatan ekosistem dari pelbagai sudut termasuk kemusnahan terhadap muka bumi juga peningkatan terhadap pencemaran alam sekitar seperti pencemaran air dan udara.

Apa yang lebih menakutkan, apabila pemusnahan hutan berlaku secara berterusan ia turut menjejaskan faktor-faktor lain seperti air, iklim dan tanah. Pengeksploitasian yang tidak terbatas oleh manusia terhadap hutan telah menyebabkan kepupusan serta berlakunya bencana alam yang tidak diigini. Sebagai manusia kita perlulah peka terhadap alam sekitar. Ini bagi memastikan kita tidak sewenang-wenangnya menceroboh hutan tanpa memikirkan kesan kepada kita pada masa kini dan pada masa akan datang. Sememangnya kesan daripada kerakusan manusia menceroboh hutan tidak dapat dirasai dalam jangka masa pendek tetapi kesan jangka masa panjang amat menyusahkan dan sukar untuk dikawal.

Jika diihat dengan mata kasar adalah mustahil untuk kita merealisasikan pembangunan yang lestari kerana pertambahan kepada populasi manusia pada masa kini yang semakin pesat. Maka pembangunan lestari seharusnya dijadikan panduan dalam melaksanakan pembangunan supaya setiap apa yang manusia lakukan terhadap alam sekitar tidak berlebih-lebihan. Ini bagi memastikan generasi pada masa akan datang tidak mendapat kesan daripada kezaliman kita pada masa kini. Perlu diingat bumi bukan milik manusia untuk dibuat sesuka hati tetapi adalah milik Allah yang dipinjamkan kepada manusia untuk dijaga sebaik-baiknya.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Impact of Sea Reclamation on the Environment

By: Gowri Sritharan

Industrial, recreational and residential projects have been booming throughout the nation, a driving force being advancements in technology and simple human greed. People seem to have been so frantically involved in the pursuit of a progressed tomorrow that the effects of urbanization on the environment has been paid little attention to. Is development still applaudable when it is at the expanse of the environment?

Over the years, stretches of coastline ecosystems throughout the world have diminished due to foreshore development, a process which involves sea reclamation. The hype over beachfront bungalows, sea view apartments, backyard watersports and infinity pools have driven property purchasers to the brim of lands. Developers answer their demands by creating such lands through reclamation.

This act of gaining land from what was originally marsh or water has left devastating effects on the environment, not just to flora and fauna but also immense alterations to sea condition and topographic changes to the surrounding.

Mangrove forest along coastlines received the hardest blow as a result of reclamation. It is believed that over 50% of the worlds mangrove forest has been decimated in the name of progress and development, a worrying fact considering mangrove forest once covered over 75% of the tropical coast globally.

The role of mangroves in a healthy balanced ecosystem has been underestimated, and the realization of its importance came a little too late. In the 2004 tsunami, death tolls soared up to hundred thousands, a figure that could have been far lower had the mangrove forest been preserved. Mangroves act as buffers to tsunamis, hurricanes and raging storms. In Penang for example, tsunami affected areas along Tanjung Tokong were originally mangrove forest which were reclaimed for urbanization purposes. About 66 people lost their lives to the tsunami in Malaysia.

Filling material required for reclamation include marine sand from deeper sea deposits. The process of extricating this sand can leave unimaginable damage to seabeds, from threatening lives of sea organisms to the destruction of their habitats.

Coastal boundaries lined with coral reefs have also been at threat as sea reclamation is carried out by directly dumping sand and dirt onto coral reefs in shallow waters. In Singapore alone, it is estimated that 60% of its reefs have been destroyed as a result of reclamation. China also experienced intensive reef degradation due to sedimentation from coastal constructions and infilling for reclamation purposes.

As boundaries of coastal areas are filled and stretched, the hustle and bustle of inhabitants are soon to follow. A major problem at this stage is pollution. Sedimentation of sand and cement during construction and the disposal of industrial, domestic and human waste after occupancy pollute surrounding beaches and seas. The increased turbidity in polluted waters poses a threat to marine vegetation which cannot survive without sufficient sunlight. Pollutants are also highly chemical in nature and could alter the salinity and acidity of sea water, making conditions unsuitable for marine organisms.

Extensive sea reclamation in China had caused the destruction of 70% of mangrove forests nationwide and the extinction of the sea cucumber. As measures to prevent further damages, the State Oceanic Administration of Beijing has implemented a new regulation to restrict sea reclamation activities. Projects involving infilling and sea enclosures are not approved unless hearings are held and the projects are thoroughly discussed. Violaters of this regulation would be fined a minimum 50,000 Yuan (US$ 6,300). Such regulations should be implemented in Malaysia, where coastline ecosystems are fast diminishing due to extensive sea reclamation activities.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been made mandatory to anyone intending to develop land commercially or agriculturally in Malaysia. Law and guidelines governing land development and soil conservation are available to ensure that critical activities, such as the construction of high-rise buildings, development on hillslopes and clearing of land, are implemented with proper safeguard and control. Yet, how effective are such assessments when the issue in question is sea reclamation and coastline destruction?

In certain countries, however, land reclamation has been used for remediation purposes and has proven beneficial, not only to humans but to the environment as well. For example, the Grande Cache Coal Corporation is currently using land reclamation and revegetation processes to restore lands to their natural state once mining activity at the Grande Cache Mine, Canada, comes to an end.

For countries where necessary environmental policies do not exist or do exist but are not strongly implemented, sea reclamation may come at the price of the environment. With the recent trend in lavish lagoon-themed lifestyles, more people are dumping cash into coastline properties. Rightfully, we should be investing in our environments. Unlike properties, it cannot be rebuilt, renovated or refurbished, but it has to be preserved while it still exists.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pulau Pinang Semakin Hilang Kepelbagaian Faunanya

oleh: Azlan Bin Abdul Rahman
Pernahkan anda melihat kongkang (nycticebus coucang) keluar mencari makanan semasa anda bersiar-siar di Taman Kebun Bunga, Pulau Pinang mahupun anda ternampak sekumpulan lotong cekong (presbytis obscures) [gambar] bergayut riang semasa anda bercuti di kawasan peranginan Bukit Bendera? Pasti jawapan yang akan diterima ialah tidak! Kedua-dua haiwan yang dinyatakan sebentar tadi merupakan antara mamalia yang mudah ditemui di Pulau Pinang suatu ketika dahulu namun sedihnya pada masa kini mereka seakan ‘berhijrah’ keluar dari Pulau Pinang.

Jika disoroti kembali 30 tahun yang lepas, Pulau Pinang dihuni oleh pelbagai spesis flora dan fauna yang unik dan mungkin sukar untuk ditemui lagi pada waktu kini. Namun atas usaha pembangunan infrastruktur dan ekonomi yang pesat, pulau ini semakin kehilangan khazanah alam yang tidak ternilai iaitu kehidupan faunanya. Dahulu Pulau Pinang 30 diserikan dengan kepelbagaian hidupan termasuklah manusia dan pelbagai jenis haiwan. Antara kumpulan-kumpulan haiwan yang menghuni pulau ini termasuklah dari kumpulan insektivora seperti cencurut, primates (kera dan monyet), karnivora (memerang, kucing batu, musang), pholidota (tenggiling), artiodaktila (babi hutan, pelanduk, kancil) serta beberapa lagi kumpulan haiwan yang lain.

Mengambil kumpulan haiwan primates sebagai contoh, haiwan yang tergolong dalam kumpulan ini adalah dari keluarga monyet, tupai dan juga kongkang. Haiwan-haiwan dari kumpulan ini hidup bertaburan di sekitar Pulau Pinang dan mudah didapati di hutan-hutan di negeri ini. Namun kehidupan mereka kini semakin terancam dek pembangunan pesat yang memusnahkan alam sekitar dan kawasan habitat mereka. Contoh terbaik ialah kongkang ataupun juga dikenali sebagai “slow loris” yang merupakan spesis tunggal dari kumpulan primates yang ada di semenanjung Malaysia. Jika dahulu ianya mudah ditemui di kawasan hutan di sekitar Pulau Bentong dan Ayer Itam, namun kini berkemungkinan besar tiada seekor pun lagi haiwan ini di dua kawasan tersebut. Nasib yang sama turut menimpa haiwan-haiwan lain seperti tupai terbang ekor merah (iomys horsefieldii), tupai terbang hitam (aeromys tephromelas) dan lotong cengkong (presbytis obscurus) yang kehilangan kawasan habitat dan kemandirian spesis semulajadi mereka yang seterusnya mungkin menjadi faktor kepupusan haiwan ini jika tidak diberikan langkah pemuliharaan dan pemeliharaan sewajarnya.

Selain itu, kubung (cynocephalus variegatus) dan kucing batu (felis bengalensis) [gambar] dilihat berpotensi untuk pupus berdasarkan faktor kemusnahan habitat serta sumber makanan disamping faktor kelahiran spesis yang sedikit. Kucing batu sebagai contoh merupakan antara haiwan yang membiak dalam jumlah yang kecil dan ancaman terhadap kelangsungan hidup mamalia ini memungkinkan berlakunya kepupusan terhadap haiwan ini. Begitu juga yang berlaku kepada kumpulan haiwan artiodaktila seperti babi hutan (sus scrofa) dan pelanduk (tragalus javanicus). Kedua-dua jenis haiwan ini mungkin akan diancam kepupusan jika kawasan hutan yang menjadi kawasan habitat dan sumber makanan mereka dimusnahkan untuk pembangunan dan kepentingan manusia. Kesemua hidupan ini memerlukan hutan dan sistem ekologi yang baik untuk meneruskan hidup yang seterusnya boleh dijadikan khazanah alam untuk kehidupan generasi pada masa hadapan.

Jadi, semua pihak termasuklah diri kita sendiri hendaklah bersama-sama menggembeleng tenaga dan usaha untuk memastikan kesemua haiwan dan hidupan yang pernah dan masih menghuni pulau bertuah ini untuk terus hidup dan mewarnai kepelbagaian kehidupan di sini. Langkah pemeliharaan dan pemuliharaan wajar dipratikkan supaya generasi yang akan datang dapat menikmati dan mewarisi khazanah alam ini. Keperihatinan dan kesedaran menyeluruh mengenai kehidupan haiwan-haiwan ini dapat membantu kita meneruskan hidup dalam sistem ekologi yang baik dan bermanfaat untuk semua hidupan di muka bumi.