Archive for January, 2011

What we do for environs is SAFE, says Najib

Posted on January 30, 2011. Filed under: Forestry/Wetlands |

-The Star- MALIAU BASIN: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said certain Western critics of Malaysia’s oil palm industry were taking a narrow view of the issue when they ignore the benefits of the industry to those who depend on it for their livelihood.

“The critics fail to understand we have a responsibility to our people who depend on oil palm and this does not include smallholders and companies.

“Compared to others, we are doing better in sustainable development and preservation of the environment,” Najib told reporters after launching the Maliau Basin Studies Centre and the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project that is set to become the world’s largest ecological experiment.

The 10-year study costing RM30mil is sponsored by Sime Darby and is undertaken by the Royal Society’s South-East Asia Rainforest Research Programme.

Earlier in his speech, he said the SAFE project was important as it was in line with Malaysia’s commitment to conservation and will help address many issues the world is facing, especially climate change, as a result of deforestation.

“This project will make a major contribution to understanding how biodiversity can be protected and maintained in our plantations.

“It will also assess how to balance the economic benefits of the oil palm industry with the need for environmental conservation and sustainable development,” he added.

Najib said that, to date, there has been no definitive study on the quantifiable impact of deforestation on wildlife, water quality, nutrient cycle and soil stability.

“At best, what we have are educated guesses which are not sufficient to make important decisions that could affect our environment.”

Najib said the project will help address the issue of deforestation and the impact of oil palm plantations properly.

“We need long-term, large scale ecological experiments like SAFE to give us concrete answers that can help guide any modifications in the way oil palm plantations are operated.”

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Cleanliness, Environmental Protection Crucial For Malaysia’s Tourism Industry

Posted on January 29, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods, Environmental Economics |

LANGKAWI, Jan 29 (Bernama) — Cleanliness and protecting the environment are crucial for Malaysia in order to become a major tourist destination in the world, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said many tourists had described Malaysia as a good tourist destination but were not very happy about cleanliness at tourist spots especially toilets.

“Malaysia is nice but “the nose will guide me to the toilets” they say. Therefore, I urge all Malaysians to write directly to the relevant parties especially the operators if they find tourist spots or toilets to be not in good condition in terms of cleanliness,” she said at the Langkawi Tourism Industry Awards 2010/2011 ceremony here Friday night.

She said the ministry introduced the “1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean” initiative to educate and increase tour operators’ and public awareness on the importance of upkeeping cleanliness and pristine state of tourist spots.

Ng said the ministry was working hard to develop a thriving and sustainable tourism industry that did not compromise on the existing biodiversity through e “preservation, conservation and protection” of the environment and the country’s nature and cultural heritage.

“Irresponsible behaviour can affect the environment and outcome is flash floods. This is not good for the tourism industry,” she said.

Ng said cleanliness and protecting the environment would be the main focus of the ministry to attract more tourists to Malaysia.

“We have been selected as one of the world’s top ten countries for 2010 in term of tourist destinations. Out of 10, only two Asian countries. First is China, at fourth place. However, China is huge country with 1.3 billion people. Second is tiny Malaysia at eighth place. We only have 28 million people,” she said.

She said under Malaysia’s Tourism Transformation Plan, Malaysia aimed tp achieve 36 million tourist arrival and RM168 billion in tourism receipts by 2020.

At the function, The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa received the Outstanding Hotel/Resort Award.

Mardi Agro Park, Langkawi received the Outstanding Innovative Product/Programme award while Four Seasons Resort Langkawi for Outstanding Green Effort award.

The Outstanding Restaurant award went to Restaurant Putumayo while AB Motel was given the Outstanding Budget Accomodation award, HBS Evergreen Tour Sdn Bhd (Outstanding Boat Operator), Osman Ayob (Outstanding Tourist Guide), Sala Travel & Tours Langkawi (Outstanding Tour & Travel Agent), Panorama Langkawi Sdn Bhd (Outstanding Tourism Product) and Jetty Point Duty Free Complex (Outstanding Retail Outlet).

Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) Tourism Manager Megat Shahrul Azman Abas was chosen as Tourism Personality.

The Malaysian National News Agency, Bernama was among the recipients of a special award during the tourism awards held at Lada Auditorium.

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Are you pro-nuke or anti-nuke?

Posted on January 29, 2011. Filed under: Energy |

-The Star-

SEVEN decades of charged-up fears and vehement polemic over civil nuclear energy in countless parts of the world has landed in our backyard following the Government’s plan to harness nuclear energy to meet future energy needs. If executed to plan, we will have a nuclear plant in the country by 2025, maybe even earlier, by 2021, if the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) gets its wish.

Malaysians who were lulled into thinking that this was a plan far and away from being executed must have received a rude awakening recently when it was announced that a Malaysia Nuclear Power Corp has been set up to study tapping nuclear energy to meet future energy demand. (Wasn’t there already a Nuclear Power Development Steering Committee headed by the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry set up in June last year tasked with doing exactly the same thing?)

The option, intimidating and all, has drawn the “not-in-my-backyard” mentality from concerned citizenry.

Let’s cut out all the ballyhoo and get some basics straight before I go further.

* First. WHY?

Fossil fuels such as gas and coal, which fire up 90% of our electricity now, are finite. So, they’ll someday run out. These fuel prices are also volatile, which leaves the utility and end users vulnerable to the vagaries of market prices (note: for now, end users are protected for as long as the Government lacks the will to introduce an electricity tariff that’s tied to market prices of fuel).

* Second. HOW do we tackle this dilemma? WHAT are the options?

Renewable energy (such as hydro, wind, solar, biomass, biofuel) is one way to go, but the world stage is littered with examples that no matter how much you build and install renewable supplies, it simply can’t match up to the capacity needed.

* Third. WHEN? Industry participants as well as the national utility TNB have pointed out that the critical point would be after 2020 as locally-churned natural gas, which powers up 64% of our juice now, could run out by 2019. Importing gas is an option but the headache of volatile prices will still persist.

Simply put, there are several factors that make a strong case to plug nuclear into our grid, unless some brainbox can find a safer and less-controversial alternative we can warm up to.

Many countries, some 50 according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, have already taken the radical step to consider introducing nuclear power. Some others are powering it up China wants to ramp up its nuclear capacity five-fold and Russia two-fold by 2020.

France’s 58 nuclear plants meet 80% of its energy demand, the UK gets 25% of its electricity from nuclear energy while the United States has over 100 nuclear plants generating 20% of its energy capacity.

What pro-nukes won’t tell you is that there are some countries who are doing the exact opposite. For one, Germany, in 2000 had decided to shut down 19 of its nuclear power stations, which meets one third of its power needs, by 2021. That move has since been extended, but one thing for sure building new nuclear power stations is not on the cards for the Germans.

Back home, in a poll conducted by The Star last year titled: “Would you consider the building of a nuclear power plant as the best option to cater for Malaysia’s energy needs in the future” which drew 18,472 responses, interestingly, 56% said “Yes” while 32% said “No” and 12% said they “Need more information on the proposal.”

Could there be more sympathetic listeners to the power dilemma faced by the country than we think?

Nuclear energy is frowned upon for two reasons possible contamination due to high radiation level and the issue of hazardous waste disposal. The risks involve the environment, social, security and economics.

For those reasons, plants need to be carefully constructed to contain radiation and well thought-out emergency measures need to be in place. For Malaysians, apart from these weighty issues, there appears to be another added layer of concern the lack of confidence on whether the administration, the utility and contractors can meet the high safety, storage and security measures if a nuclear power station were to be built in our home base.

Lest you forget, the Chernobyl disaster, which caused fatalities, was attributed to human failings (badly maintained reactor). Pro-nukes will tell you that far more people die digging coal out of the ground. What they don’t tell you is that the risks associated with a nuclear plant can last many generations.

The World Nuclear Association, in a report dated September 2010, pointed out that there have been two major accidents in the history of civil nuclear power Third Mile Island, US, in 1979 (it was contained so no deaths) and Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986 (led to 56 deaths as it involved an intense fire without provision for containment).

But here’s the point it is keen to make “These are the only major accidents to have occurred in some 14,000 cumulative reactor-years of commercial operation in 32 countries. The risks from Western nuclear power plants, in terms of the consequences of an accident or terrorist attack, are minimal compared with other commonly accepted risks,” concluded the association.

Based on data, the association also points out that there has been more accidents in coal-fired power generation than nuclear reactors over the past 40 years in the United States and UK. “All show that nuclear is a distinctly safer way to produce electricity,” it said.

Still, who would dare give a guarantee that nuclear power plants are 100% secure?

Malaysians are being told that to guarantee steady future energy supply, we need to consider nuclear energy. That was the same rationale used back in early 90s following the nationwide blackout, which led to the creation of fat cats in the form of Independent Power Producers. The plan met one objective steady power supply but it came at a cost the utility’s pocketbooks. The patchy progress of the multi-billion ringgit Bakun dam mooted decades ago, deferred several times, weighed down by massive cost overrun and tweaked umpteen times should also serve another lesson on the importance of clear planning with protective provisions.

But, like it or not, nuclear energy is part of the agenda. The Economic Transformation Programme, released last October, explicitly states that.

Meanwhile, there is barely a coherent, energy policy to guide the country’s future energy needs and consumption. Malaysia needs a whole portfolio of energy measures. It also needs an electricity tariff formula to guide the rates TNB sells its power to end users.

How can we build a RM21bil nuclear power station that takes 10 years to build that can last up to 50 years, when we have yet to cross these fundamental hurdles?

l Business editor Anita Gabriel wonders if the billions of dollars planned for nuclear energy would be better off ploughed into sustainable energy technologies and energy efficiency efforts

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The mosquito that may be our dragon

Posted on January 27, 2011. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Sun-

IN some countries, locals have since time immemorial harboured fears of mythical dragons in their midst, that are said to bring ills and dangers to the people. There are no such creatures known in Malaysia, but events of late may just alter that perception, with the feared dragon being none other than a tiny mosquito.

In October 2010, the National Biosafety Board approved an application from the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) to conduct a field experiment on a special kind of mosquito. What the experiment entailed was the release of several of the male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at sites in Bentong, Pahang, and Alor Gajah, Malacca, for them to be recaptured later.

The first trial was reportedly conducted in December with the release of 6,000 genetically modified mosquitoes, purportedly designed to comb at dengue fever.

And Malaysia is said to be the first country to release this particular strain of Aedes aegypti mosquito which is labelled OX513A (My1).

It was no wonder then that the application by IMR – which developed the genetically modified mosquitoes in a joint research with a UK-based biotech company, Oxitec Ltd – caught the attention of certain scientific circles around the world.

GeneWatch UK, a science-based not for profit organisation, conducted an investigation of Oxitec’s role in the genetically-modified mosquitoes. It also published its comments on a risk-assessment report of the Malaysian Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) for the application to conduct the limited “Mark-Release-Recapture” of the mosquito.

This is what GeneWatch UK said: “We are concerned that the novelty of this application of GM (genetically modified) technology has made regulators in several countries too dependent on advice provided by the company, which has a vested interest in speeding its products into the market place to generate financial returns for its investors. In GeneWatch’s view this means that a number of potential risks have been omitted or downplayed.”

GeneWatch was not the only organisation that expressed its concern. Inevitably, NGOs in Malaysia also jumped at the approval, becoming alarmed at any possible impact the release of such mosquitoes would have to public health and the ecology at large.

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) submitted a memorandum to the government last Dec 20.

“The GM mosquitoes will be released into a complicated ecosystem, involving other mosquito species, predators and prey, the dengue virus, and the humans who are bitten,” they said in a joint statement. “Because this system is poorly understood there remain unanswered questions about the impacts of the proposed releases.

“The outcome of this experiment is thus unpredictable and largely unknown. If the unintended occurs in the environment, these releases would be impossible to monitor, contain or mitigate and they are irreversible.”

Similar field releases in the Cayman Islands in 2009 and 2010 have also been greeted with controversy, with calls made for transparent assessment of the full impact they would bring – for long-term health and the environment.

The National Biosafety Board was urged to review the application, and revoke the approval for the field release of the mosquitoes. The Biosafety Act 2007 allows for this.

“Given the unpredictable consequences and potential risks, the chances of things going wrong cannot be overstated. Why are we allowing ourselves to be guinea pigs for this doubtful technology?” the NGOs said in their statement.

“What if the experiment does not go according to plan and something goes terribly wrong with the release?”

Mind you, there is also the fact that the mosquitoes do not respect national borders, and any undetected spread of the mosquitoes may affect neighbouring countries.

For this reason, the Malaysian NGOs went as far as to stress that letting out a genetically modified mosquitoes would effectively be a “worldwide release”.

Questions have been asked if countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand had been officially informed about the release.

The Institute for Medical Research said in a statement yesterday that it released 6,000 sterile male lab mosquitoes in a forest area in eastern Malaysia on Dec 21.

But the controversy is now bound to linger on and even gather heat, as the eyes of concerned individuals and the scientific community are set on this unprecedented trial, with fears of whether it may end up releasing a new and little-known dragon within our midst.

Himanshu is theSun’s Penang bureau chief. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

 

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Dompok: Oil palm sector under pressure

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Forestry/Wetlands |

-The Star-

PUTRAJAYA: The current and future expansion of oil palm plantations is limited due to the unavailability of suitable land and this problem is further compounded by campaigns by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to stop oil palm expansion, according to Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

“We are still fighting the anti-palm oil NGOs and explaining to them that land occupied by oil palm is only 0.22% of the total world agricultural area. Our country has enough permanent forests for conserving biodiversity,” Dompok said at the seminar called Reach and Teach, Friend of the Industry: Challenges and Opportunities in 2011 yesterday.

Within the European Union (EU), he noted the constant pressure from NGOs regarding the usage of palm oil in their products, as a result of which Malaysia had witnessed a drop in the quantity of palm oil consumed within the EU.

“I have led a mission to the EU in November last year to explain our stand and approach on sustainable oil palm cultivation. Malaysia will continue to undertake such efforts this year by engaging various sectors of the EU policy makers and European members of Parliament,” he said.

Dompok said the Malaysian palm oil industry had set high standards for quality in products and services which was reflected in its export growth. Malaysia exported palm oil products valued at RM59.77bil last year, an increase of RM9.77bil or 19.5% compared to 2009.

He said a new record could be achieved following the highest value of RM65bil in 2008 for exports of palm oil products, if the crude palm oil (CPO) prices stayed at a buoyant level and there was no sudden plunge in the current market prices.

“The industry has been a constant contributor to the country’s export earnings and I sincerely believe that it will continue to do so in the long term as well,” Dompok said.

Malaysian palm oil is currently exported to more than 150 countries globally.

Today, palm oil is the leading edible oil traded and consumed globally with a share of 56% and 26% of the total oils and fats respectively.

“Palm oil is expected to remain as an important product in the global oils and fats markets in years to come. Among the countries that are not self-sufficient in oils and fats, China remains the biggest importer of Malaysian palm oil,” he said, adding that India, Pakistan, the Middle East and Africa could not be overlooked either.

Furthermore, Dompok said: “We need to work even harder this year as the production of local palm oil is expected to be around 17.6 million tonnes, while Indonesia’s production is estimated at about 22 million tonnes.”

In 2010, CPO production was 16.99 million tonnes, a decline of 0.57 million tonnes or 3.3% compared to a production of 17.56 million tonnes in 2009. This was partly contributed to the short El-Nino period, according to Dompok.

The industry has been identified as the second priority sector under the Economic Transformation Programme. The sector is projected to contribute a gross national income from its current level of RM52.7bil to RM178bil by 2020.

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6,000 GM mozzies released in Bentong

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Star-

PETALING JAYA: The Institute for Medical Research (IMR) released about 6,000 genetically-modified (GM) Aedes aegypti mosquitoes last month in a test to detect the insects’ flight range and survivability in the wild.

IMR said in statement that the the mosquitos were released in an uninhabited forest near Bentong, Pahang on Dec 21.

“The experiment was concluded on Jan 5 and fogging was done on Jan 6. IMR will monitor the area for up to 2 months,” the statement said.

The field trial had raised concerns from NGOs. The Government approved the trial after several tests were carried out.

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‘Power tariffs in S’wak cheaper than in Penang’

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Energy |

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=89756

LIMBANG: Power tariffs for commercial and industrial use in Sarawak are relatively cheaper than those in Penang.

Besides that, the state government has absorbed the cost of domestic use for about 80,000 poor Sarawakians.

Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, who is also Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management, said this in response to allegations that power tariffs in the state were more expensive than in Semenanjung Malaysia.

“The government absorbed the cost of RM 9.6 million to enable between 70,000 to 80,000 people enjoy free electricity if their consumption was RM 20 or below monthly,” he said.

Awang Tengah also pointed out that the state’s vastness and scattered population is the biggest challenge in keeping costs low and the state’s average tariff per kilowatt-hour is cheaper although distribution cost is higher.

“In Sarawak, it is 26 sen per kw/h compared to 29 sen per kw/hr there and to say that the tariff is more expensive here is an allegation not based on facts,” he said.

He also slammed the opposition for twisting the facts on land premium in the state.

“It is between eight to 14 times cheaper than Penang,” he said.

He said this when met after presentation of land titles and compensation to villagers of Kampung Ipai and Kampung Telahak at Kampung Meritam in Limbang yesterday.

In his speech, he said the opposition ignored the fact that Sarawak’s land mass and scattered population is a big challenge in providing basic infrastructures and amenities to everyone.

“Although the federal government has allocated billions of Ringgit in funds under the NKRAs for Sarawak for 2010-2012, the big allocations are still not enough to provide the infrastructure to everyone overnight,” he said.

The Prime Minister has recently approved the allocation of more funds for Sarawak state assemblymen to meet the various needs peculiar to their respective state constituencies following a request from the state.

“The state is as large as Semenanjung Malaysia excluding the state of Malacca, and although the billions of Ringgit allocated under the NKRA for Sarawak, a considerably huge amount, it is still insufficient to meet the needs of everyone in one go,” he said.

On political stability, he said unity among the people is vital for continued development.

Tengah said states ruled by PR after the 2008 election were in disarray and failed to fulfil their election promises.

“They shout about RM100 for the elderly in Penang which is not much if you divide it by 12 months and try comparing it to the BN in trying to bring up the state, including sending our children for education all the way to university,” he said.

He described the new economic model which is encapsulated in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) to generate higher income as reflecting the direction of the BN government which focuses on development and progress.

“BN is about politics of development whereas the opposition’s brand of politics is about instigation,” he said.

He said that Sarawak is fortunate to have an experienced leader in Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who maintains a good relationship with the federal government to tap into the full potential of her resources.

He warned that the opposition would come offering promises when election is around the corner while BN had delivered the goods.

“BN if returned to govern the state after next election does not promise that it can solve every issue but will work hard to resolve them,” he said.

Awang Tengah urged locals to be rational and not emotional over petty or personal issues of bread and butter during elections, saying unity among them is the most important factor for a bright future.

“Sarawak will continue to remain the bastion of BN which delivers while the opposition is only good at propaganda and politicking,” he said.

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Alam Flora steps up effort to promote recycling

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-
ALAM Flora collects an average of 5,800 tonnes of waste each day within its concession areas, namely Selangor, Pahang and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur as well as Putrajaya.

In 2009, the company collected approximately 2.1 million tonnes of waste. Now, that’s a lot of waste; most of which could have been reduced if Malaysians recycle their waste more.

According to statistics provided by the Housing and Local Government Ministry, Malaysians recycle less than 5% of their waste.

Starting somewhere: Two bins were distributed to each house in Kota Kemuning to encourage them to segregate waste at source.

Hence, most of the plastics, metal, paper and other recyclable items have been ending up in landfills.

With space in the landfills running out fast, we could soon run out of land for our garbage if we don’t make an effort to recycle more.

In view of the need to increase the recycling efforts in Malaysia, Alam Flora has been putting in efforts to promote the 3R concept — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — through public education and awareness programmes, which are conducted through dialogues and meetings with residents associations, parliamentarians, politicians and schools.

In doing so, they also aim to educate the public on the company’s role, as well as the public’s role in proper waste management — which includes proper disposal methods, waste separation at source and recycling.

Alam Flora has conducted a pilot project in Kota Kemuning to encourage the residents to segregate their wastes at home into two types — food waste and recyclable items — before throwing them away into the bins.

So far, such R&D project has received positive response from the residents, but a lot more work is needed to educate the public about the concept of waste minimisation and separation at source.

Alam Flora believes that by educating our children and youth about recycling, we will be able to ensure that the next generation of Malaysians will take more care to recycle their waste.

With that in mind, the company has set up a special education and awareness programme for schools on recycling — namely the Kits programme which has been implemented in about 700 schools so far.

Besides educating students, Alam Flora also takes the effort to create awareness among the general public.

The company runs extensive awareness programmes in other sectors of society; including the Waste Wise programmes for offices, institutional and industries; and rolling out fixed and mobile recycling centres for the community at large.

Alam Flora also participates extensively in exhibitions and environmental related activities; while at the same time is actively involved in regular dialogue sessions with residents’ associations, and regularly participate in gotong-royong activities and other community cleaning-up activities or campaigns.

It is estimated that Alam Flora supports about 800 gotong-royong programmes each year, providing vehicles, equipments, manpower and disposing all wastes collected.

Despite the fact that Alam Flora continues to make an effort to improve their daily operations and services such as improving waste collection and disposal methods, upgrading landfills and other treatment facilities; they cannot do this alone.

With the help and support of everyone, Alam Flora and the public can all work hand in hand to ensure that we and our children live in a clean and green Malaysia.

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State slams ‘green’ plastics

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-  BUTTERWORTH: The state government believes the use of biodegradable plastic bags is not a better option to counter the state’s policy of reducing the use of plastic bags to protect the environment.State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state disagreed with plastic manufacturers, which claimed biodegradable plastics were more environmental friendly.

“We believe the biodegradable plastic bags may be more harmful to the environment because the particular plastic material would be broken down into smaller microscopic particles. And, when these toxic particles enter our rivers and to the sea, it will cause more harm to the fish and other marine life that consume them,” he said after opening the Green School Awards 2011 competition at Dewan Datuk Haji Ahmad Badawi here yesterday.

Following the state government’s no free plastic bags policy, he said, several plastic manufacturers have introduced oxo-biodegradable plastic bags in the market to replace the non-biodegradable ones.

According to Canada’s EPI Environmental Technologies Inc, which developed the oxo-biodegradable technology, oxo-biodegradable plastic bags, usually underwent chemical degradation by oxidation before being further biodegraded and converted into carbon dioxide, water and biomass by microorganisms.

It said degradable plastics using EPI’s pro-prietary Totally Degradable Plastic Additives (TDPA) technology, could degrade within a few months to two to three years, noting that it could reduce landfill volume and aid in landfill compression.

Chow said it was better to look for other non-plastic alternatives such as baskets, tiffin carriers and cotton bags to reduce dependency on plastic bags.

“We are not saying that plastic bags are completely banned as we still need them to dispose of our garbage. But, we want the people to reduce the use of plastic bags as far as possible,” he said.

Commenting on a Chinese daily report on Tuesday, which claimed the state’s Cleaner Greener Penang campaign had failed to obtain full support from Penangites, Chow said the campaign was on a long-term effort.

“Our environmental awareness campaign is about changing the people’s mindset and behaviour, which cannot be done overnight. Some habitual practices such as using plastic bags may be difficult to change, but people may eventually change their attitudes after a while,” he said.

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Geological wonder now called Rockhaven

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Eco-tourism |

-The Star-

IPOH: A 280-million-year-old, 14-storey-high rock in Tambun is finally getting the attention it deserves.

The geological wonder is one of only four such formations in the world: the others are located in Guilin, China; Halong Bay, Vietnam; and Phuket, Thailand.

“Perakians should be very proud of the fact that you have such a rare species of geology in your own backyard,” said Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) Shell Chair in Petroleum Geosciences Prof Dr Bernard Pierson, who dated the rock.

The rock came to public attention after luxury condominium project The Haven Lakeside Residences was launched here last year.

Geological wonder: The 280-million-year-old rock at The Haven Lakeside Residences, Ipoh, which has been named ‘Rockhaven’.

It has been named “Rockhaven” in the “Name the Rock” contest organised by Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd, developers of The Haven.

Its chief executive officer Peter Chan said the winning name, submitted by teacher Lydia Teh, was selected for its simplicity and the fact that it would be immediately associated with The Haven.

“The contest was inspired by the rare geological find that the rock represents,” he said.

“Every effort is being made to ensure that the natural state of the site and its surrounding areas are carefully preserved.

“The rock and the pristine lake in which it rests will be left untouched so that our residents can enjoy them in their natural state.”

Teh, a Cambridge English for Life Centre manager from Kuala Lumpur, picked up RM25,000 for her winning entry.

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