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: &

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

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.


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.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hillside Development: Exclusive or Destructive?

By: Azlan Abdul Rahman

Bukit Antarabangsa and Taman Melawati in Selangor, Bukit Tinggi in Pahang, Batu Feringgi as well as Penang Hill in Penang and Lojing Highlands in Kelantan are examples of places which undergo the process of rapid development. Bukit Antarabangsa, Taman Melawati and Batu Feringgi rapidly been developed with terrace of bungalows, condominiums and apartments; while in Bukit Tinggi and Lojing Highlands, the implementation of agricultural and logging sectors are high. Kindly to mention, all these places are hillside places.

Hillside is a good, favorable and demanded site to build and develop terrace of houses as well as for the tourism sector. Every developer tends to choose hillsides as their site to build luxurious houses because it represents good fortune and exclusiveness of the owner. However, we need to know that by developing the hillsides, we are actually “inviting” natural disasters rather than to maintain the good exclusive way of life. Why is it so? The answer is because hillside development is just another kind of destruction to the environment. Any action which deals with destruction is leading us to disaster and catastrophe.

Hillside development is just a crime to the environment. We need to realize that by developing the hillside, we are actually being cruel to the environment, to its inhabitants as well as to ourselves. Rapid hillside developments can cause many problems especially in the circle of lives. Considering the ecology of the forest at the hillside, as an example, we need to understand that many flora and fauna depend on the forest. Forest is not just a habitat for floras and faunas but also as one of the important element in the circulation of human lives. The forest serves as water supply, food and home as well. If we ignorantly develop the hillside, we will notice that lots of destruction and problems will affect not only to human but also to the flora and fauna. To mention a few, landslides, floods, water shortage, destruction of animals’ habitat and extinction of several species of flora and fauna are the consequences and impacts of hillside developments. And even if we consider these problems as not serious and not harmful to us, we need to take notice that hillside development can lead to bigger problem with relation to our Earth – global warming and climate change.

Even though Malaysia has planned to come out with a new legislation on hillside development, which seems more on protecting the hillside, but the legislation cannot do anything to conserve it. The implementation of Hong Kong’s Dangerous Hillside Order, which is to reduce the risk posed to the public from known dangerous or potentially dangerous private slopes or retaining walls, seems appropriate but to what extent it will help us in conserving the hillsides? The right method of conservation is for us to treat the hillside as an exclusive, no development zone. As we know, prevention is better than cure.

(Photos courtesy of: &

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kesedaran Pelihara Sungai Perlu


Isu pencemaran sungai bukanlah merupakan satu perkara baru malah sudah acapkali dibincangkan dan sering dibangkitkan oleh pelbagai pihak. Namun keberkesanan mengatasi masalah ini masih lagi menjadi persoalan. Peka dengan masalah pencemaran sungai, kerajaan pernah melancarkan ‘Kempen Cintai Sungai’ dan memperuntukkan sejumlah wang yang banyak bagi membersihkan sungai-sungai yang tercemar dan kotor. Persoalannya, mengapakah setelah begitu banyak wang ringgit dilaburkan namun pencemaran masih begitu berleluasa? Malah, tahap pencemaran sungai semakin hari semakin membimbangkan. Jika diimbau zaman nenek moyang kita dahulu, sungai adalah merupakan punca utama sumber air untuk diminum, memasak, mandi dan sebagainya. Selain dariada itu, sungai turut dijadikan punca mencari rezeki seperti menangkap ikan. Namun, pada masa kini semua itu hanyalah satu memori semata-mata dan kini kita berhadapan dengan keadaan di mana air sungai yang telah tercemar dan warnanya hampir sama dengan warna ‘teh susu’ malah ada yang lebih dahsyat daripada itu.

Sebagai contoh, jika dilihat di Selangor dan Pulau Pinang, sungai-sungai yang terdapat di kedua-dua buah negeri ini telah mengalami tahap pencemaran yang teramat kritikal. Pencemaran ini berlaku dipercayai kesan daripada pembangunan yang tidak terbatas dan pertambahan populasi penduduk. Selain itu, sikap sesetengah manusia yang seolah-olah tidak bertamadun mengambil jalan pintas dengan membuang sampah sarap ke dalam sungai adalah menjadi punca berlakunya pencemaran. Apa yang dapat dilihat, di Pulau Pinang, realitinya, Sungai Pinang yang mengairi ibu negeri, Georgetown terus kekal sebagai sungai paling kotor di Malaysia dan airnya tidak boleh dijadikan air minuman walaupun sudah banyak usaha pemulihan sungai itu dijalankan. Di Selangor pula, dianggarkan sejumlah 1.2 juta tan kelodak terpaksa dipunggah dari Sungai Klang dalam masa setahun. Ini jelas sekali menunjukkkan tahap pencemaran sungai di negara kita berada ditahap kritikal. Jika sungai tidak dipelihara dan punca air semakin berkurangan kejadian yang menimpa rakyat di Selangor pada 26 Mac 2004 bakal berulang di mana mereka dikejutkan dengan masalah ketiadaan bekalan air paip.

Sungai-sungai yang teruk tercemar, bukan sahaja menyebabkan airnya berbau busuk, berkeladak dan kadang-kadang berwarna hitam, malahan pelbagai jenis sisa-sisa domestik turut terkandung di dalamnya. Sungai seolah-olah dijadikan tempat pelupusan sampah. Malah, sikap segelintir pengusaha kilang yang melepaskan kumbahan terus ke dalam sungai tanpa sebarang rawatan juga menjadi punca berlakunya pencemaran. Antara musibah lain yang bakal terjadi kesan daripada pembuangan sampah ke dalam sungai ialah banjir kilat seperti yang sering terjadi di Kuala Lumpur. Seharusnya perkara seperti ini dijadikan peringatan supaya ianya tidak berulang pada masa akan datang. Hakikatnya, walau begitu banyak sekali kempen dan peringatan yang disogokkan, kalau tidak wujud kesedaran dalam diri sendiri adalah mustahil untuk segalanya direalisasikan.

Oleh yang demikian, pemuliharaan sungai seharusnya dilaksanakan secara berterusan dan dikawal secara bersepadu. Pemeliharaan dan pemulihan sungai tidak boleh dipertanggungjawabkan kepada pihak tertentu sahaja. Semua pihak seharusnya bertanggungjawab dalam melaksanakan usaha ini kerana memelihara sungai adalah tanggungjawab bersama. Seharusnya, polisi perundangan dan penguatkuasaan dimantapkan lagi bagi memupuk kesedaran yang berterusan. Sebenarnya, tidak mudah untuk mengubah sikap manusia tambah-tambah lagi di negara kita yang terdiri dariapda lapisan masyarakat dan sosio-ekonomi. Namun, usaha seperti ini diharap dapat mengubah sedikit sebanyak dapat mengubah mentaliti masyarakat di Malaysia tentang pemuliharaan sungai. Apa yang diharapkan pada satu hari sungai yang bakal diwariskan kepada anak cucu kita akan besih dan kualiti airnya menyamai kebersihan Sungai Hudson di Boston, Sungai Seine di Paris dan Sungai Thames di London.

kredit kepada:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Palestine as Ideal Place for Migratory Birds

By: Khalid Abu Fayyad

Palestine is located at a junction of three continents. It is not only a land bridge linking Asia, Africa and Europe but also deemed as a bottleneck and good route for the migrating birds from Africa to Europe and vice versa.

The total land area of Palestine is very small and does not exceed 27027 km2. Nevertheless, it contains various and numerous species of birds compared to those of big countries. Palestinian Wildlife Society (PWLS) has documented the existence of 520 species of birds in Palestine. Four hundred of such species are migratory birds while 120 are residential and breeding birds. The PWLS also estimated the number of migratory birds at 500 million birds coming to Palestine from Europe to stay in Palestine for some times before continuing their trip to Africa.

Migratory birds stay in Palestine for several days or weeks and sometimes for several months. For instance, the prey birds such as White Stork and European Honey-buzzard stay for some days or weeks while other prey birds such as Lesser Kestrel, Lesser Spotted Eagle, and Egyptian Vulture remain for several months.

Birds migrate from their permanent residence area in Europe to Africa owing to the European cold weather. They depart Europe to African warm weather. On their way to Africa, birds land in Palestine, which has a nicely moderate weather, to stay for some time. After that, some birds do not prefer to leave Palestine while others continue the trip towards Africa making it twice a year where they start returning back to their permanent residence in Europe when the weather gets warmer.

Palestine is a perfect route for migratory birds and most of migratory birds exist at three major areas: Jordan Valley (El Aghwar), Costal Area (Mediterranean Sea Coast and Gaza Valley) and Mountainous areas (Nablus, Jerusalem and Hebron mountains).

Al Aghwar is an unprecedented area in the world. It is such an adorable area to birds. It is the lowest area in world and it is considered as the most suitable environment for endangered birds locally, nationally and internationally. As a result of the presence of Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, springs and artificial ponds, a lot of Plants that grow on salinity are available in this area. In addition, different types of insects grow permanently due to availability of some soil components in which the insects need to live. Moreover, this special place makes many birds such as White Stork, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, and Black-winged Stilt compete with each other to migrate to El Aghwar area.

However, the coastal area that consists basically of Gaza Valley is not less important than El Aghwar area. Gaza Valley is the first nature reserve in Palestine, supported internationally, and the only natural wetlands area in Gaza. The length of the valley is about 160km and its width is 200 m making it the largest and longest Valley in Palestine.

The sandy dunes and salt water which resulted in connecting the valley with the Mediterranean Sea created an ideal condition for growing plants and wildlife in general and reptiles in particular. In addition, the valley is a home to dozens species of fish, alga, crustaceans, and mollusks which is a varied and vital food source for many kinds of residential and migratory birds such as ducks, Glaucous Gull, Blackbird, Blackcap and Greater Sandplover.

Besides, mountainous areas are also vital areas for birds. They are characterized by raising 900 m above sea level and having dense natural jungles as well as a varied wildlife. Moreover, birds benefit from characteristics of those areas in their migration which, occurs during the night or the day.

Thanks to Allah, the God of the worlds, for granting us such a unique and vital location with various and numerous birds. This requires from us protecting and conserving these birds from some greedy people. Those people want to take advantage of such birds only for themselves and deprive other people of enjoying them. The excessive and unregulated hunting activities by people endangered some species of birds such as Ostrich and Brown Fish Owl. Thus, those wrong behaviors necessitate raising public awareness towards the importance and the aesthetic values of birds in order to enable all people to live in a beautiful environment with the impressive colors, sounds and movements of birds.

Air Mata Penyu

Oleh: Tan Poh Ling

Mengimbau kembali saat-saat bercuti di Rantau Abang tahun lepas, hati saya begitu pilu dan sedih. Hati saya terpukul apabila melihat sebilangan manusia kejam “merampas” nyawa dan kehidupan makhluk kerdil yang tiada daya melawan iaitu penyu.

Bayangkan, dalam keadaan sarat mengandung zuriat untuk dilahirkan, penyu mengembara beribu batu semata-mata untuk kembali bertelur di kawasan kelahiran mereka. Namun, sedih terpalit di hati kita apabila telur-telur yang baru dikeluarkan “dirampas” tangan-tangan manusia. Telur–telur itu kemudiannya dijual kepada para pelancong untuk dijamah. Lebih buruk lagi apabila terdapat penyu-penyu yang ditangkap dan dibunuh tanpa belas kasihan semata-mata untuk mendapatkan cengkerangnya untuk dijadikan perhiasan. Adakah nyawa penyu-penyu ini langsung tidak berharga pada kita? Tidakkah kita sayu melihat linangan air mata penyu setiap kali mereka naik ke darat untuk bertelur? Persoalan yang hanya boleh dijawab oleh manusia yang dikurniakan akal dan kudrat untuk membantu makhluk kerdil ini.

Penyu Lipas (Lepidochelys olivacea)

Kita seharusnya bersyukur dengan kurniaan tuhan di mana bumi kita kaya dengan pelbagai sumber semulajadi serta keunikannya. Malaysia antara negara yang menjadi pilihan kumpulan beberapa spesis penyu untuk bertelur. Terdapat empat jenis penyu yang singgah bertelur di sini antaranya spesies Penyu Belimbing (Dermochelys coriacea), Penyu Agar (Chelonia mydas),Penyu Karah (Eretmochelys imbricata) dan ). Kesesuaian keadaan laut, pantai serta fizikal penyu-penyu tersebut menjadikan kawasan perairan Malaysia sesuai untuk mereka bertelur.

Penyu Agar merupakan spesis yang paling banyak mendarat di pantai negara kita terutamanya Terengganu. Kebiasaannya, Penyu Agar akan singgah di pantai-pantai Malaysia dari bulan Mac sehingga September. Dalam tempoh ini, bulan Julai menjadi waktu puncak pendaratan spesis penyu ini. Namun begitu, kehadiran mereka ke sini semakin berkurangan akibat sifat kerakusan manusia sendiri apabila kerap kali mencuri telur-telur penyu ini. Malahan habitat atau tempat mereka bertelur juga tercemar dan dimusnahkan. Pembangunan pesat untuk pelancongan di kawasan perairan dan pantai menjadi punca kemusnahan habibat serta kawasan bertelur penyu-penyu ini.

Mengikut statistik dari Jabatan Perikanan Malaysia - Penyu dan Ekosistem Marin (Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre), pendaratan Penyu Agar ke Malaysia semakin berkurangan iaitu hanya lebih kurang seribu ekor penyu sahaja yang singgah di pantai Terengganu pada 2006 berbanding dua ribu ekor seperti yang direkodkan pada tahun 1997. Statistik ini sudah cukup menggambarkan pada kita yang penyu semakin terancam dan berkemungkinan boleh pupus sekirannya tidak diberikan perlindungan sewajarnya.

Anak Penyu

Kebimbangan ini seharusnya menyedarkan semua pihak untuk sama-sama membantu memelihara kehidupan spesis ini. Kita pastinya tidak mahu generasi akan datang hanya tahu mengenai penyu melalui buku atau ensiklopedia, sebaliknya mereka berbangga kerana lahir di negara yang mempunyai haiwan unik ini. Semua pihak haruslah berganding bahu untuk memperjuangkan kehidupan spesis yang semakin terancam ini. Aktiviti konservasi harus dilakukan untuk memastikan generasi masa hadapan dapat melihat serta mengamati keunikan haiwan ini dengan mata mereka sendiri.

Illegal Trade of Turtle Eggs

by Gowri Sritharan

Throughout the month of May last year, 4000 Hawksbill turtle eggs were stolen from over 30 nests along the Kuala Sungai Baru and Linggi coastlines in Malacca.

The Fisheries Act 1985 clearly defines that offenders found guilty of “illegally” collecting turtle eggs without a permit from the State Fisheries Department are liable to fines of up to RM1000 per egg.

Although laws exist to prosecute offenders of illegal collection, possession, sale, poaching and smuggling of turtles and their eggs, questions arise on whether these laws are being implemented and thoroughly enforced. The profitable trade of turtle eggs is still rampantly occurring and very few cases are recorded where offenders are prosecuted and fined.

The increasing demand for turtle eggs on the Malaysian market and the subsequent price rise from RM1 to RM2.50 per egg has not only driven insensitive individuals to nesting shores, but also fueled the smuggling in of turtle eggs from neighbouring countries where such sales are prohibited by the law. Traders find lucrative, convenient and unrisky markets in Peninsula Malaysia.

In Malaysia, turtle conservation efforts are a far cry from the currently existing enforcement. Rantau Abang in Terengganu was home to 10,000 turtle landings 50 years ago, but fewer than 20 remain today (source: The National Recovery Strategy for the Leatherback Turtle in Pacific Canadian Waters). The mistreatment of turtles by locals and tourists as well as the development for tourism has left adverse effects on turtle populations.

The same consequence is to be experienced in Kuala Sungai Baru should the state government decide to go ahead with the planned marine tin mining activities. With Malacca having the highest number of Hawksbill turtle landings in Peninsula Malaysia, mining could leave devastating effects on turtle habitats and breeding shores.

Sabah and Sarawak’s efforts in a bid to halt turtle exploitation have proven fruitful, with an increased number of turtles and landing sites observed over the past few years. Acts and laws to prohibit the sale of turtle eggs as well as proper enforcement have helped the conservation of endangered turtles in East Malaysia. In islands like Pulau Selingan, Bakungan Kechil and Gulisan, a high number of turtle landings are recorded each year.

The Sarawak Forestry Corporation has also played a major role by initiating the turtle adoption program for the purpose of creating awareness about turtle habitats, activities and conservation. Such programs have exposed the general public to wildlife behaviour, thus forming respect for such creatures.

Immediate efforts are necessary in Malacca and Terengganu, and Peninsula Malaysia as a whole, to conserve the endangered turtles. Prosecution and harsher penalties should be imposed upon all offenders caught stealing, selling, buying or in any way possessing turtle eggs, meat and products.

The Malaysian Fisheries Department, the Ministry of Tourism and animal conservation organizations should work hand in hand, to provide education and initiate programs to create awareness among the general public, especially the younger generation. Protests against the sale and consumption of turtle eggs by every individual is the main step in addressing this issue, as the exploitation will eventually stop when the buying does.

Turtle landings and nesting shores are not just part of the Malaysian environment, but a unique testament of the nation’s beauty. As Malaysians, we should be proud that the turtles chose to walk our shores, and do all in our effort to welcome and care for them.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gaza Environment Under the Siege

By: Khalid Abu Fayyad

The issue of sewage water is one of the most serious problems that threatens the environment and health of the Gaza people since long ago. It is a primary contamination source of Gaza Sea’s beach, the only resort for Gazan people after the Israeli strangulating siege on Gaza Strip. Apart from being contamination source for aquifer, the only water resource for drinking causing many chronic diseases that Gazan people suffering from, such as kidney, liver and other diseases.

Sewage water problem dated back to the fall of Gaza strip under the Israeli occupation in 1967. The Israeli occupation constructed three sewage water plants for Gazan people, who did not exceed more than 380,000 people at that time; whereas Gaza population nowadays over 1.5 million and live in very small area (360 km).Those three plants function as a treatment lagoon and with gradually increasing of Gaza population; these plants have become unable processing the whole sewage they receive.

Nowadays, Gazan people get rid of sewage water either by using sewage net connected with the three treatment plants, or through draining the sewage water away by using open canals ending up in beach of Gaza or using absorbing wells and when the wells are full, people discharge the sewage water in some remote areas of Gaza strip.

The issue of sewage waste badly exacerbated. It has got worse after imposing the deadly siege on Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupiers and the international community. The imposed siege is as kind of painful collective punishment on Gazan people, for electing Islamic Hamas Movement, which has won in January 2006, as international observers reported, in the fairest and the freest general election in the Middle East.

Therefore, the blockade affected negatively the working of sewage treatment plants, since the Israeli occupation imposed severe restrictions on equipments, fuel and imported food supplies. Subsequently, lack of necessary equipments and spare parts led to freezing the plants work. Further, the treatment plants cease working from time to time as result of fuel shortage and electricity cuts causing sewage to overflow into the Gaza beach.

The overflow of untreated sewage water from the treatment plants polluted Gaza sea shores, which is the only outlet and resort for Gazan people. Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority reported that there are 11 areas of Gaza beaches as polluted and unfit areas for swimming. Furthermore, Gaza Coastal Municipality Water Utility estimated that 30,000 cubic meters of partially treated sewage seeps and pollutes the ground water, which is the primary source for drinking water for one and a half million population.

The pollution of sea shores and ground water is definitely poisonous and causes deadly diseases. Besides, the pollution of beaches leads to the death of marine turtles which is considered a good environment for the increment of jelly fish. In the mean time, the mosses grow up remarkably and consume oxygen the fish needs to breathe.

Conclusion, the forgotten dangers that threaten Gaza Sea and aquifer necessitate urgent action by officials for rescuing Gaza from imminent environmental catastrophe. The question which is still raised when the officials and public will pay the attention to these dangers surrounding them while they are still engaged with consequences of the last criminal war on Gaza. These environment dangers could make mankind massacres more than the Israeli war machine did.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

White Phosphorus Kills life

By: Khalid Abu Fayyad

A few days ago, several studies by human rights organisations and medical experts have confirmed the use of White Phosphorus (WP) by Israeli occupation in its last aggression against Palestinian civilians in Gaza strip.

Using the WP for military purposes is controversial issue. While Geneva Convention on chemical weapons does not include the white phosphorus use as one of chemical weapons, some international organizations consider it as a chemical weapon. Regardless of these differences, our concern here what is White Phosphorous? What its effects on the health and environment?

WP is a waxy and transparent substance, with a yellowish colour and a smell similar to garlic odor. It is made of phosphates and reacts rapidly with oxygen, resulting in dense white fire and smoke.When phosphorus exposes to air, it generates a huge amount of heat that detonates phosphate element. Such explosion caused by this heat, produces a yellow flame and becomes aglow in dark.

WP can be used for many purposes. By virtue of the smoke that the WP could create, it can be used as signal to determine the army location. It can be also used to make a smokescreen to mask the enemy vision and its movements. In addition, WP is used to destroy the enemy’s weapons such as vehicles, oils, and petroleum and ammunition storage. Little amount of WP also used in fireworks and pesticides.

Health Effects

Due to extensive burns which WP can cause, it could result in kidney, heart and liver damage. Further, the use of WP can burn the human being body from flesh to the bone.

The inhalation of WP smoke for long period causes illnesses such as breaking jaw bone and injuries in the mouth while the inhalation of smoke for short period does have the possibility to cause irritation of the eyes and the respiratory system.

Environmental Effects

Moreover, W P pollutes air, soil and water and destroys biodiversity. Air becomes polluted with gases which results in burning of the phosphorus. These kinds of gazes are dangerous and poisonous. They can cause damages for respiratory and nervous systems of children and old people in particular.

Contamination of water and soil can be resulted in deposition of WP on the ground and bottom of seas and rivers. Thus, people are exposed to WP by eating polluted fish and swimming in contaminated water.

Finally, the spread of WP substance doses have massive destruction to the natural ecosystem of plants and animals and contamination of agricultural products that can be consumed later in the food chain.

Captive Breeding is not the Right Method to Conserve Animals

By: Azlan Abdul Rahman

“I was born in Sungai Petani, Kedah. My mum was an incubator which hatches me for about 48 days. I was born with my seven other siblings. We live, eat and play together in a small house named cage” … This is a story of a cockatiel bird (nymphicus hollandiscus) which undergoes the process of captive breeding.

Based on WWF Policy Statement 2007, captive breeding is the process of breeding animals outside of their natural environment in restricted conditions such as in farms, zoos or other closed facilities. The total methods and processes of captive breeding are controlled by humans. There are several points and reasons on why captive breeding is important to be implemented. Obviously, captive breeding is carried out to produce animals for commercial purposes, for instance, pets, food, medicine and other human uses. It is also meant to produce animals for zoos, aquaria, research institutions and other public facilities. And lastly, captive breeding is also being implemented to increase captive population numbers of threatened and endangered species.

However, there are many arguments and debates on the effectiveness of captive breeding especially if we touch on the way of conserving the animals. For instance, captive bred animals mostly pets like birds and reptiles are being produced in large numbers and without any control. This situation looks good where it can help us to enlarge the population of animals but, for me it is just a crime. Why is it so? I have the answer based on my own experience with my pets.

I have a couple of cockatiel bird (nymphicus hollandiscus) which I bought last eight months. This bird is commonly found in Australia and being widely popular pet around the world. I bought this bird as my own pet because I like their behavior, physical appearance as well as their tameness. I named this couple of cockatiel as fawkes (male) and flior (female). They are very beautiful with white in colour feathers for the whole body and yellow-orange crest. However, after two months I rear and live with them, I realized that they are not a “real bird” because they lost their own ability as a bird. What does it means??? For sharing the experience, my fawkes and flior were losing their own ability as a bird as they cannot fly and even find their own foods. Sadly to know that they are actually birds which were produced under the method of captive breeding. Until now, they are still in the small cage because they are hardly to live and survive with my other birds in the large cage. They are still hanging and rely much on their peck to move from edge to edge of the small cage. I labeled this method as a crime to animal.

My own experience with my pets makes me agree on the statement declared by WWF where they said that captive breeding process is the last idea or a “last resort” strategy to conserve animals. Even though there are some captive breeding activities which succeed such as breeding the endangered animals like Iberian Lynx (lynx paradinus), Peregrine Falcon (falco peregrines) and Golden-Lion Tamarin (leontopithecus chrysomelas), this process is still need to be think twice before it be implemented. By taking apart the animals from their own habitat, environment, preys as well as their predators are not the effective actions because we need to know that their natural environment and surrounding is the best place to learn and live as an animal. So what is more important is not breeding them in “artificial way” but conserving and taking care of their habitat and natural environment. By taking care the natural environment, we are not only conserving the animals but also our own live for the next generation.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Elak Kemusnahan Khazanah Laut

Oleh: Afra Fardillah Zai Mustapar
Bingit dengan deruan enjin kenderaan di kesibukan kota, kadangkala membuatkan kita terfikir untuk menikmati deruan ombak menghempas pantai disamping dapat merehatkan minda yang sesak dengan bebanan kerja. Kebiasaannya, pulau peranginan akan menjadi pilihan utama pelbagai jenis lapisan masyarakat bagi menikmati keindahan laut Malaysia yang sememangnya kaya dengan khazanah laut dengan lebih 400 spesies batu karang dan lebih 1,000 spesies ikan. Namun begitu, keseronokan hanya sebentar sahaja kerana apabila sampai di tempat yang tujui, harapan musnah dan mata semakin sakit melihat air laut yang semakin tercemar dan bertukar warna serta pantai yang sudah tidak lagi terpelihara. Akta Kualiti Alam Sekitar 1974 mendefinasikan pencemaran adalah sebarang perubahan samada secara langsung atau tidak langsung kepada sifat-sifat fizik, kimia, biologi atau aras-aras radiasi mana-mana bahagian alam sekeiling dengan melepaskan, mengeluarkan atau meletakkan buangan hingga menjejaskan kegunaan-kegunaan berfaedah, yang menimbulkan sesuatu keadaan berbahaya atau mungkin berbahaya kepada kesihatan, keselamatan atau kebajikan awam atau organisma-organisma lain seperti tumbuhan dan haiwan.

Akibat kerakusan manusia yang tidak pernah puas merompak hasil perut bumi, khazanah laut turut menjadi mangsa dek kerana sikap manusia seperti ini. Di Malaysia, pencemaran sisa industri yang mengalir ke laut terutama di negeri-negeri perindustrian seperti Johor, Pulau Pinang harus diberikan perhatian sepenuhnya. Ini kerana pencemaran seperti itu dipercayai boleh menjejaskan hidupan marin dan seterusnya sumber makanan dan ekonomi nelayan yang menangkap ikan secara tradisional. Berbeza pula dengan pulau-pulau peranginan yang terletak di pantai timur Semenanjung Malaysia seperti Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Redang dan Pulau Lang Tengah yang dikatakan kaya dengan pebagai jenis biodiversiti laut seperti terumbu karang yang telah diwartakan sebagai Taman Laut dalam beberapa kajian. Pulau ini juga dikatakan sering menjadi tumpuan pelancong kerana pantainya yang bersih dah masih terselamat dari pencemaran dan aktiviti manusia. Kawasan ini perlu dipelihara memandangkan ianya terdedah kepada ancaman kemusnahan sama ada secara semulajadi atau kesan daripada aktiviti manusia. Langkah mewujudkan Taman Laut Malaysia sebagai kawasan perlindungan laut sejak 1994 melalui Akta Perikanan 1985 merupakan satu permulaan yang baik dalam usaha untuk memulihara khazanah laut.

Di samping itu, pembangunan baru seperti chalet dan resort harus dikurangkan bagi mengelakkan berlakunya pencemaran seperti di Pulau Langkawi dan Pulau Pangkor. Bagaimanapun, dalam usaha untuk meningkatkan sektor pelancongan, perlu ada keseimbangan antara langkah pemuliharaan dan pelancongan. Ini bagi memastikan dengan kehadiran pelancong tidak akan menjejaskan terumbu karang dan menjejaskan usaha-usaha pemuliharaan yang diusahakan oleh pelbagai pihak yang terbabit.

Oleh yang demikian, bagi mencapai objektif sebenar pemuliharaan laut, pelbagai pihak seperti orang ramai, Jabatan Perikanan, Jabatan Taman Laut, Kementerian Pelancongan dan Jabatan Alam Sekitar perlu bekerja sama mengurus dan mengekalkan keaslian laut secara tegas dan lestari.

Stop Cruelty to Animals

By Gowri Sritharan

Humans have always been regarded as the supreme species in the animal kingdom. Besides being the most intelligent and civilized, the trait that sets us apart is the fact that we’re able to effectively express feelings, feelings such as compassion and thoughtfulness.

We saw just how true this was in the recent events of war and catastrophe that unfolded across the world, following which people from miles and miles away, whether they were directly involved or not, felt so strongly for the misfortune that had descended upon their fellow humans. From building shelters and new homes to burial sites and memorial grounds, men did all in his power to help the living and honour the dead. All this warmth and compassion for mankind during times of destruction and devastation was moving, for it was a real comfort that people were not selfish but put the needs of the less fortunate before theirs. Yet, is this the case when the less fortunate we’re talking about are not humans, but animals?

In Spain, at the end of the hunting season when dogs are of no further use to the hunters, they are hanged to death from trees and left to rot. In laboratories all around the world, animals are abused for the purpose of research. For example, the legs of dogs are deliberately shattered for reasons of studying psychological stress, with no medical treatment given even once the experiment is completed.

Is this considered human compassion and warmth? No. Cruelty to animals is what it’s called.

Although these may be minor incidences of abuse to pets, in actual fact, animal cruelty has been pushed to such extents that for most it is an occupation, a way to make a living. Wildlife crime is the second most profitable illegal trade after that of drugs. It is estimated to be worth 25 billion US dollars annually, a huge sum of which comes from the sale of animals as food. Commonly known as “gourmet cruelty”, it reveals just how man’s greed for self-satisfaction and wealth has driven him to such atrocious exploitations.

The dog: man’s best friend? To most yes, but to a certain few it’s food. Moran Market in Sungnam City boasts one of the largest dog markets in Korea. At the entrance of this market are guards who prevent foreigners and animal activist from entering, as dog meat dealers have become hostile to those who disapprove. Dogs throughout Korea are bred and transported to the market in tightly crammed cages, where the selected dog is then dragged away to its death. A fire torch is used to burn the fur off the dog before they are stripped off their skin and slaughtered.

In the Philippines, dogs are usually sold whole while still alive. Their front limbs are dislocated and tied painfully behind their backs, and a tin can is jammed over their jaws to make them easier to handle.

Sharks are one of the many animals threatened to extinction because of man’s greed. Sharks are dwindling in population throughout the world due to sharks fin soup, a symbol of wealth and a meal of honour in uptown China. Finning sharks is a brutal practice carried out all over the globe. After a shark is caught, its fins are sliced off and packed away. The bleeding, limbless shark is then thrown back into the sea, in most instances still alive. They later die as other sharks and fishes feed on them, or die through suffocation as they can no longer swim. Is a bowl of soup worth the survival of the sharks?

It is not only in Asia that animals are exploited for food. The famous French culinary delight, “foie gras”, is not the liver of just any duck or goose, but it is the grossly enlarged liver of these birds. Birds raised for this gourmet are fed enormous amounts of food through a long metal pipe three times a day. The painful feeding continues for over a month, during which time the bird’s liver swells up to over 12 times its actual healthy size. In some cases, ducks literally burst open because of overfeeding, or choke to death on their own vomit.

Why are people allowing themselves to be driven by greed? What is money earned over the suffering and death of another life? This injustice has to stop! Law enforcements and education alone are not sufficient to end animal cruelty. People need to set aside their arrogance and realise that between humans and animals, none is dominant. People have no right to take control over the lives of animals they co-exist with on this planet. The authority to do that still lies with mother nature.

An appeal to fellow humans: The next time you sit down to a meal, take a good look at what is on your plate. Do your bit by making sure it didn’t get there through torture, suffering and cruelty. Your disregard to do so would make you no better than those actually involved in the act of killing. Have some compassion, and remember, when the buying stops, the killing can too.