Environment – Apa Pun Share

The star of Pixar’s blockbuster “Finding Nemo” may be about to vanish again – this time for good – as its peculiar mating habits put it at risk from climate change, scientists said on Tuesday.

They observed the vibrantly coloured clownfish – which live in anemones – for more than 10 years around Kimbe Island off eastern Papua New Guinea.

A team from France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) along with other scientists established that the fish were picky about the way they choose their mates.

Given that both anemone and their clownfish tenants ultimately rely for their survival on coral, which is under threat from warming seas and threats such as pollution and human intrusion, they may need to adapt quickly.

The scientists say this can be achieved only with great difficulty.

“The reproductive success of a population is what guarantees (its ability) to adapt,” CNRS researcher Benoit Poujol told AFP.

And clownfish have a “very particular” reproductive cycle, dependent on a stable, benign environment.

Each anemone is home to one female fish, a sexually active male and several other males who are not sexually active.

“When the female dies, the male becomes female and the largest of the non-sexually active males became sexually active,” Poujol said.

“The clownfish does not have the genetic variation which will allow it to modify its reproduction (method) if there are environmental constraints.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year warned that under 1.5C of warming Earth would lose at least 70 per cent of its coral reefs.

Under 2C of warming coral, and the vital ecosystems it supports, would be virtually wiped out.


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A new system that solves plastic pollution has just entered our shores and it’s dubbed to be the ‘largest clean-up in history’, thanks to its 25-year-old founder

Boyan Slat from Netherlands, founder of The Ocean Cleanup, invented a boat system called ‘The Interceptor’ that catches plastic and items polluting rivers before it reaches the ocean.

The Interceptor aims to clean-up 1,000 of the world’s most polluted rivers by 2025.And it has begun with none other than our Klang River – said to be one of the top 50 polluted rivers in the world.

According to The Ocean Cleanup, the most polluted rivers of the world contribute to about 80% of ocean plastic pollution.

“To truly rid the oceans of plastic, we need to both clean up the legacy and close the tap, preventing more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place,” Boyan explained.

Four Interceptors have been built to date, with Interceptor 001 operating in Jakarta, Indonesia since 2016, while Interceptor 002 is currently in Klang, Malaysia.

Two others will be installed in Can Tho, Mekong Delta in Vietnam and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

To date, the Interceptor 002 has already collected trash including motorcycle helmets, handbags, and countless bottles and garbage bags in the Klang River.

And it can remove up to 100,000 kg of plastic and trash a day! But how does it work?

Debris collected from the river flows into the system, while still allowing other boats to pass by.

A barrier then directs waste into the mouth of the Interceptor, where a conveyor belt extracts the debris from the water and passes it onto a shuttle.

The shuttle automatically knows when to distribute the waste into six containers on the boat. Once the containers are full, local operators will be notified.

The debris is then collected and brought back to shore to be recycled and the emptied containers are reattached back onto the Interceptor for further collection.

On top of it all, the Interceptor is 100% solar-powered and environmentally-friendly

It uses lithium-ion batteries that enable it to operate day and night without any noise or exhaust fumes.

The system is “anchored to the riverbed to utilise the natural flow of the river and to catch the plastic”.

It is also designed for 24/7 autonomous operation, which removes the need for dangerous manual work.


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Cultivating a green future

October 15, 2019 | Environment | No Comments

PENANG mainland will soon have forest parks that double up as sites to cultivate tree saplings to enrich its ‘tree bank’.

Seberang Prai City Council mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said a pilot project was initiated with the planting of 5,555 tree saplings at 40 forest parks across the mainland.

“We planted 5,555 tree saplings simultaneously in Seberang Prai with the intention of creating forest parks that can act as planting ground for trees to be supplied to other places on the mainland.

“At Setia Fontaines in Bertam alone, 800 saplings were planted at its project site.

“And, this is the biggest tree-planting ceremony that we are holding after Seberang Prai was elevated to a city, ” he said after the tree-planting ceremony in conjunction with the proclamation of Seberang Prai City, in Bertam, Kepala Batas, recently.

Rozali said the programme was in line with the council’s aspiration to turn Seberang Prai into a low carbon city by 2022.

He noted that Setia Fontaines was among the pilot projects to help achieve the feat.

He said MBSP was working closely with SP Setia, which owns Setia Fontaines, to make its 684ha (1,691-acre) site as a model for low carbon city.

Rozali noted that the 40 locations picked for the planting of tree saplings included residential parks and open spaces at government buildings on the mainland.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, who launched the event, described the programme as a step forward in realising the Seberang Prai smart and healthier city.

He also thanked SP Setia for its involvement in the programme, adding that hopefully more private companies would come forward to work with the state to achieve the Penang 2030 vision.

“Penang 2030’s sustainable development mission aims at increasing the quality of life among the locals, without destroying the greenery in the area, ” he said.

Setia Fontaines general manager Ricky Yeo said the mixed development project was launched this year, alongside Seberang Prai’s elevation to city status.

He said it was a pleasant coincidence, adding that the company was honoured to host the first tree-planting ceremony to commemorate the city status.

“We worked closely with MBSP from the beginning in conceptualising the master plan for Setia Fontaines.

“With the help and support of MBSP, we were able to design Setia Fontaines as a world-class development, ” he said.


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‘Dump old mentality, too’

October 14, 2019 | Environment, Living, People | No Comments

EXT year, all business premises in Klang must be equipped with a 120-litre rubbish bin or risk having their operating licence revoked or their application rejected by the Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

This is the council’s way of clamping down on errant operators who contribute towards illegal dumping of rubbish.

It is also MPK’s move towards having a more systematic rubbish collection in the municipality.

Over the years, the royal town has been plagued with illegal rubbish dumping problems, because irresponsible people threw rubbish by the roadside, back lanes and into drains.

Construction and domestic waste can often be seen on road kerbs and empty plots of land as well as playgrounds and open spaces.

Restaurant owner Ang Chin Teong, who runs restaurants in Bukit Tinggi and Port Klang, supported the ruling.

He added that stray animals could often be seen scavenging through rubbish for food, especially in areas that has food outlets.

“This will also stop stray animals from scavenging through the rubbish and help keep the commercial areas cleaner, ” said Ang, who has placed large rubbish bins of his own outside his two eateries.

Another restaurant owner operating in Jalan Tengku Kelana T. Muthusamy said having proper rubbish bins was important to encourage people to dispose of waste responsibly.

“A majority of shops in my area already have rubbish bins and the area is a lot cleaner as compared to a few years ago, ” he said, adding that people must change their attitude and stop littering.

“There can be 100 rubbish bins placed outside shops, but if people’s mentality does not change, Klang will still be dirty, ” he said.

He lauded the cleaning contractors for working tirelessly to keep Jalan Tengku Kelana clean and rubbish-free.

Resident Mohamed Hussain Mohd Maideen said he noticed the lack of rubbish bins in commercial areas around Klang.

“We often see piles of black rubbish bags on the ground outside the shops.

“Commercial areas in Taman Sri Andalas, Sentosa and near MPK are lacking proper rubbish bins.

“I have also seen people dumping the black bins into the drains, ” he said.

He urged MPK to provide rubbish bins to all houses and commercial lots to standardise rubbish disposal and prevent illegal dumping.

“MPK should look into providing leach bins at hotspots to tackle illegal rubbish dumping, ” he said.

In Petaling Jaya, he said, each house is given a rubbish bin by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to keep the city clean.

Taman Klang Jaya Residents Association chairman S. Tilaka said market traders should also be provided with rubbish bins.

“They need to have their own bins to throw rubbish in a responsible manner.

“In my neighbourhood, the market is operated by many foreigners and rubbish is a huge problem here, ” she said, adding that a permanent solution was needed to tackle this problem and urged MPK enforcement officers to carry out their duties more diligently.

Sentosa assemblyman G. Gunaraj was glad MPK was taking a tougher approach regarding rubbish disposal at shops and restaurants.

“Most shops in Klang are not equipped with rubbish bins and the rubbish ends up on the road.

“The owners are at risk of getting slapped with a RM1,000 compound.

“With rubbish bins, it will be easier to monitor if rubbish contractors are doing their jobs as per schedule.

“If the bins are still full, then we can call the contractors, but if littering continues then we know it is not their fault, ” he said.

MPK corporate communications director Norfiza Mahfiz said all business premises were notified about the new ruling.

“We have issued notices to business owners about the regulations for next year’s licence renewals and they all must have a rubbish bin to get it approved, ” she said.

Kumpulan Darul Ehsan (KDEB) Waste Management Sdn Bhd managing director Ramli Mohd Tahir lauded the move as it would keep the area cleaner.

“Traders nowadays simply throw their waste by the roadside and it looks very dirty.

“The bins will make it easier for us to collect rubbish, ” he said.

KDEB Waste Management took over rubbish collection and cleaning operations in the state since July 2016.


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Residents of Taman Megah Ria flats now have a cleaner environment, thanks to volunteers from the Calvary City Church who helped clean up the area and make it safer and better for them.

One of the residents, Stella Jungan, 32, said the block was a sorry sight with rubbish left lying around, including old mattresses and broken furniture.

“After the gotong-royong, the pathway is clear and in general the area is clean.

“The volunteers also conducted free medical health checks and many of us took the opportunity to get ourselves tested, ” said the mother of two.

Security guard S. Rajan, 44, who has lived in the flat with his wife and daughter for the past four years, said he was happy the premises was now cleaner and nicer.

“Some of the residents here have tried to clean up the area but found it difficult. Soon after a cleaning session, it will be dirty again.

“Hopefully, all will be more responsible and help keep our area clean, ” he said.

The gotong-royong was organised by Transformation Welfare Society, a missionary arm of Calvary City Church.

Project manager Pastor Reuben Vincent, 27, said the flat houses some 500 underprivileged families, with about 90% of them coming from Sabah and Sarawak.

“I saw the condition at the flats when I visited one of the families living here and decided to mobilise help to make it a cleaner and healthier environment for the residents, ” he said.

He added that a feeding programme was also held previously, where food was given out to some 50 families.

“In March, we held a health carnival where we provided free medical checks and held health talks as well as conducted games for the children living here.

“The gotong-royong this time involved volunteers aged between 13 and 70 years old, ” he said.

He added that the group also goes door-to-door to create awareness on the need for proper disposal of rubbish.

Event operations manager Sebastian Benjamin, 33, said besides rubbish the flats had water and electricity issues.

“We cleared a lot of rubbish along the corridors of the flats which were also flooded.

“This place was also listed as one of the hot spots for dengue fever and we hope this activity will help to reduce such health risks, ” he said.


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LA PAZ: Fires have destroyed 1.2 million ha of forest and grasslands in Bolivia this year, the government said on Wednesday, though environmentalists claim the true figure is much greater.

The news comes after leftist President Evo Morales suspended his re-election campaign on Monday to direct the government’s response to a growing environmental disaster in the Bolivian portion of the Amazon rainforest, where wildfires have been raging since May.

Morales has faced mounting fury, both over his failure to act and over policies his critics say favor greater deforestation.

Bolivia’s total forest area has been steadily shrinking in recent years, from 47.3 million ha in 2005 to 43.8 million ha in 2017, according to a study published by Bolivian environmental and human rights organization the Solon Foundation.

The Friends of Nature Foundation NGO says the true extent of forest destruction this year is 1.8 million ha.

Ecologists have attacked a law promulgated by Morales that offers incentives to burn forest areas to transform them into pastureland.

A group of 80 environmental and professional institutions are demanding that Morales recall the 2016 law.

The government, though, blames dry weather and strong winds for the voracious wildfires.

Morales’s government has plans to plant 4.5 million ha by 2030, to comply with commitments given to the United Nations, but environmental activist Marielle Cautin, also cited by the Solon Foundation, says that over the last three years “not even 50,000ha” have been planted.

On Tuesday, Morales mocked a G7 pledge of US$20 million (RM84.4 million) to help fight the Amazon fires as “tiny.”


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SHAH ALAM: The high tide phenomenon with a tide level of 5.7m is forecast to hit the coast in five districts in Selangor this September and October.

The Selangor Disaster Management Unit in a statement said the high tide phenomenon is expected to occur on specific dates, beginning this Sunday and Monday, and Sept 29 and 30 as well as Oct 1, 2, and 27 until 30.

According to the statement, the five affected areas are Klang, Sepang, Kuala Langat, Kuala Selangor and Sabak Bernam involving 49 high-risk areas to be hit by floods if the phenomenon is accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds.

Some of the areas most likely to be flooded include Pantai Bagan Lalang and Tanjung Rhu in Sepang, Pantai Kelanang and Tanjung Sepat in Kuala Langat, Kampung Tok Muda and Port Klang in Klang, Pantai Remis and Bagan Tengkorak in Kuala Selangor as well as Pantai Bagan Sungai Besar and Politeknik Sultan Idris Shah in Sabak Bernam.

“Residents in high-risk areas are advised to comply with the directives of the authorities and security agencies from time to time,“ the statement said.

In the event of any possible flood disaster, the unit is ready to open 21 evacuation centres if necessary.

Among the relief centres available are the Maahad Integrasi Tahfiz Selangor in Sepang, the Kampung Kelanang hall and the Sri Kundang hall in Kuala Langat, the Sungai Serdang Multipurpose hall and the Pandamaran Sports Complex in Klang, Farmers Management Institute and the Jeram hall in Kuala Selangor, as well as the Sri Sekincan hall and Sri Bernam hall in Sabak Bernam.


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Sehingga 800,000 hektar hutan kering Chiquitano di Bolivia musnah terbakar antara 18 Ogos dan 23 Ogos lalu ketika dunia memberi tumpuan terhadap kebakaran dahsyat yang melanda hutan hujan Amazon sejak minggu lalu.

Menurut pakar, sistem ekologi hutan kering tropika terbesar di dunia itu yang musnah akibat kebakaran itu mengambil masa kira-kira dua abad untuk pulih.

Selain itu, kira-kira 500 spesies termasuk jaguar, tapir dan armadilo gergasi juga berisiko terancam akibat bencana tersebut.

Sebahagian spesies di Chiquitano dikatakan tidak terdapat di tempat lain.

Kawasan terbakar juga meliputi tanah pertanian dan bandar hingga memaksa ribuan penduduk terpaksa dipindahkan manakala ramai yang alami sesak nafas akibat asap tebal.

Kebanyakan penduduk tidak mendapat bantuan kemanusiaan diperlukan kerana kebanyakan media terlalu memfokuskan keadaan hutan terbakar di Brazil.

Ketika ini, penduduk Bolivia merayu bantuan masyarakat dunia untuk membantu mereka mengawal kebakaran tersebut.

Difahamkan, kebakaran itu yang pada mulanya untuk membersihkan kawasan pertanian, namun api merebak secara tidak terkawal.

Bencana itu berlaku kira-kira sebulan selepas Presiden Evo Morales mengumumkan dekri tertinggi bertujuan untuk meningkatkan pengeluaran daging lembu untuk eksport.

Sebanyak 21 pertubuhan awam bagaimanapun menggesa pemansuhan dekri tersebut atas alasan ia boleh mencetuskan kebakaran dan melanggar undang-undang alam sekitar Bolivia.

Pegawai kerajaan menyatakan kebakaran itu adalah aktiviti biasa dan ia tiada kaitan dengan dekri tersebut.

Morales dalam satu kenyataan berulang kali memaklumkan bantuan antarabangsa tidak diperlukan walaupun kerajaan hanya mengerahkan tiga helikopter untuk mengawal kebakaran tersebut.

Ia kini dilaporkan telah merebak ke bandar terbesar, Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Keadaan yang semakin meruncing dengan asap tebal hingga menjejaskan pernafasan menyebabkan aktivis mula mengadakan demonstrasi menuntut bantuan pihak asing.

Kumpulan terbabit juga meminta Morales menuntut bantuan antarabangsa walaupun pasukan bomba dan sukarelawan kini sedang berusaha untuk mengawal kebakaran tersebut dengan suhu persekitaran mencecah 55 darjah Celsius.


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Waste not, want not. This seems like a fitting adage for much of the waste problems plaguing the world now.

In Finland, though, there are start-ups and enterprises that actually want the world’s waste as they seek opportunities to make money from garbage.

The Nordic country’s government has embraced the circular economy where the lifespan of items is prolonged through recycling and reusing multiple times. This has encouraged several companies to step up and embrace the idea.

Replacing Plastic

Finnish start-up Sulapac is proposing to replace plastic altogether.

The firm is touting its product as a completely biodegradable material made of wood and natural binders that is capable of solving the world’s dependency on plastic and its deeply destructive waste products like micro-plastics.

Sulapac straws, which is made of wood chips and binders. The company claims that its material can replace plastic altogether.

Micro plastics, the scourge of the oceans and capable of infiltrating into the most remote places, are any type of plastic fragments that are small and barely visible. A Greenpeace East Asia study with South Korea’s Incheon National University found that over 90% of table salt used in kitchens contains micro plastics – with salt sourced in Asia having the most.

Sulapac’s marketing and communications head Antti Valtonen says with almost 300 million tonnes of plastic produced every year – and increasing – microplastics are a real challenge.

“Mechanical recycling is not enough and when plastic is reused, it rarely can be used for the same application,” he says during a presentation in Helsinki last month.

Recycled plastic, for instance, cannot be used to manufacture medical supplies or food containers. It’s usually remade into a lower quality product that cannot be recycled again.

Unlike conventional plastic, Sulapac’s materials can be digested by naturally occurring microorganisms and will biodegrade quickly – in 21 days under industrial composting – into safe CO2, water and biomass.

The material has the feel and density of plastic and can be used as packaging for cosmetics, foodstuffs, gift boxes and even single use items like cotton buds and the ubiquitous drinking straw. It also comes in a variety of colors and designs.

Best yet, production lines manufacturing the material can take advantage of locally sourced materials.

Sulapac reportedly attracted investment from luxury fashion house Chanel in 2018 after it won the 2017 Green Alley Award, Europe’s startup prize for the circular economy, and the Sustainable Packaging category at the 2017 Sustainable Beauty Awards in Paris.

Tackling Oil

Some of the raw materials – aka feedstock – gathered at the Neste refinery, to be converted into renewable fuels.

Neste was originally founded in 1948 to secure Finland’s oil supply but has transformed itself from being mainly a fossil fuel refinery into the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel from waste and residues.

It claims to be the only company in the world to produce renewable fuels from more than 10 different raw materials such as palm oil effluent, plastic scraps, animal and fish fat waste, and even used cooking oil.

Vice-president for research and development Petri Lehmus says Neste’s transformation, which began in 2005, is showing results.

“Neste’s renewable fuel produced in 2018 has reduced carbon emissions by 7.9 million tonnes, which is equivalent to permanently removing three million cars from the roads,” he said during a press tour of the company’s refinery in Porvoo, some 50km from Helsinki in Finland recently.

The company pours some €48mil (RM223mil) annually into research and employs over 1,000 people in research and development, primarily looking at raw material research and testing.

Lehmus says Neste has developed and already started commercialising its renewable jet fuel, which he claims is capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The company’s renewable diesel is also selling in pumps in California, Sweden and Finland as well as a blend in other fuels.

“Climate change defines the future of the energy sector,” says Lehmus, which is why there is a need to innovate circular solutions where carbon would be reused again and again.

The Neste MY Renewable Diesel is touted to be produced 100% from renewable raw materials.

The company has operations in 15 countries, including Malaysia from where it sources sustainable palm oil effluent as one of its raw materials, and a new plant in Singapore, one of the world’s largest renewable diesel refineries.

“Palm oil is a high-yield crop, higher than even rape seed,” says Neste senior communications manager for emerging businesses and sustainability Sari Lehmuskallio.

Palm oil effluent, she explains produces renewable biofuel with 69% less emissions, which is way better than many other types of vegetable oil raw materials.

Sari adds that Neste engages with its suppliers in Malaysia to ensure that the source of its raw materials is both sustainable and not involved in deforestation.

A worker converting cardboard and textile waste into Infinited Fiber textile at a plant.

Cotton Solution

A worker overseeing the conversion of cardboard and textile waste into Infinited Fiber textile at a plant.

Unlike the other two companies that deal with problems caused by waste, textile company Infinited Fiber uses waste to plug the gap in the supply chain for cotton.

Its CEO Petri Alava explains that the fashion industry has long struggled with sustainability issues: textiles require a huge water supply at pre-manufacturing and manufacturing stages; microfibres are released during washing; and a huge chunk of textile waste eventually ends up in landfills.

And clothes are hardly recycled and reused multiple times: Alava says statistics indicate that in the United States, many people wear an outfit for an average of merely five times – some even wear things once for their Instagram shot!

“Fashion, the price we pay to look good, is the second most polluting industry,” he says.

“Also, a global challenge is the lack of material like cotton, due to increases in population and consumption from the rise in the purchasing power of the middle class,” he adds.

Alava feels people won’t mind paying more for sustainble clothing.

Infinited Fiber, he claims, is a new biodegradable and sustainable fibre made from textile and cardboard waste that has the look and feel of cotton, with better colour uptake from dyeing. It also uses less water and is 20% cheaper to produce than cotton and the semi-synthetic fiber viscose.

The company further claims that its technology allows textile waste to be used again and again without any reduction in its quality.

All this, says Alava, from using “pretty old technology” from the 1930s.

He is convinced that consumers won’t mind paying more for clothes or products that they believe are sustainable.

“Millennials are 12 times more responsive to sustainability and are willing to pay for it,” says Alava.

In April this year, the start-up announced that it had raised 3.7mil (RM17mil) in funding from investors such as Swedish fashion giant H&M Group, the Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum and digital marketing firm Virala.

Infinite Fiber is currently running a 50-tonne pilot plant in Finland with hopes of eventually increasing output to 500 tonnes.


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Roman Fedortsov, 39, has posted his incredible finds after spending a lot of his time on fishing trawlers, coming into contact with a wide variety of sealife.

Bright orange blobs, slug like lumps, fish with teeth and bulging eyes – these are the terrifying alien-like finds a Russian fisherman has come across in his job.

Roman Fedortsov, 39, spends a lot of his time on fishing trawlers, coming into contact with a wide variety of sealife.

Mr Fedortsic, from Murmansk, Russia, works as commercial fisherman catching cod, haddock and mackerel – but the bizarre critters pictured below make an appearance too.

These aquatic curiosities were mainly found in the Norwegian and Barents seas while some of them came ashore from the Atlantic Ocean.

In one image of a mushroom-like orange creature, he wrote: “Oh my God! They killed Kenny!” in reference to the phrase from South Park about character Kenny that dies in every episode.

“At the pole of the body is a slit-shaped mouth, surrounded by a nimbus of tentacles. Their tentacles have gills that are poisonous.

“Although sea anemones are mainly poisonous only for their prey, some species are toxic to humans. There are more than 1000 varieties.

“They feed on zooplankton, mussels, fish and shrimps. Sea anemones feed on food and excrete waste products through the same hole.”

In another post featuring a picture of an angler fish, he wrote: “I am very sorry I did not take more pictures of this sea creature” to which someone replied: “Who needs aliens when you have an entire f****** ocean of them.”

Roman said he set up his social media accounts to share the pictures with people who otherwise might not get to see them.

And while people are fascinated by the images, they have certainly put a lot of people off going near the sea.


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