Archive for July, 2011

Leftover food not going to waste

Posted on July 30, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-

THE Rotary Club of Georgetown is donating a new machine which converts food waste into fertiliser to the state government.

Rotary Club of Georgetown past president Don Law said the fertiliser converted from food waste using the machine called Bio-Regen, could be used to nourish plants.

Current president Peter Melissen said that this was part of the Rotary Club’s efforts to raise environmental awareness among the public.

Kitchen friendly: A front view of the Bio-Regen machine which converts food waste into fertiliser

“We are doing our part to save the environment for our future generations,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

The machine, which is the first of its kind in the world, was created by a team of two Australians and one from United Kingdom.

Quantum Water Heaters Sdn Bhd in Penang is working with this team in a joint venture whereby the machines will be manufactured here.

The press conference was held at the Penang Skills Development Centre which has purchased one machine and has been using it for the centre’s daily use.

Also present was Quantum Water Heaters CEO Soh Yew Aun.

Easy to use: Melissen loading the Bio-Regen machine with leftovers to demonstrate how to convert food waste into fertiliser. Beside him is Law.

There will be a two-day demonstration of the machine this weekend at New World Park, Penang, from 11am to 6pm where the public can bring their own food waste to be processed in the machine.

The official worldwide launch and the handing over of the machine from Rotary Club of Georgetown to the state government will take place on Sunday at 3pm at the same place.

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Lynas safety plan for rare earths

Posted on July 29, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/lynas-safety-plan-for-rare-earths-20110728-1i276.html#ixzz1UWDfd4OV

LYNAS Corporation will submit safety plans for its Malaysian rare-earths processing plant by next month, as it races to gain government and regulatory approval to operate by the end of the year.

The safety plan, dealing with the long-term storage of radioactive waste produced by the plant, being built in Kuantan, in the state of Pahang, is one of 11 requirements imposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency last month.

The agency’s review found no breaches of international safety standards. In addition to the IAEA recommendations, Lynas and Malaysia’s atomic energy regulators have agreed to a health study to appease local communities.

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The plant has provoked community outrage over fears of possible radioactive contamination. This has led to sustained protests.

Rare earths are coveted for the role they play in a range of technologies, including hybrid cars, smartphones, iPads and flatscreen TVs. China has 97 per cent of global production but has been restricting exports, prompting a worldwide race by miners to overcome complex hurdles to enter production and meet surging demand.

Arafura Resources said yesterday it had made ”substantial” discoveries at a Northern Territory deposit.

Alkane Resources this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Mintech for a zirconium joint venture. Fledgling rare-earths miner Northern Minerals, in which Lynas has a 7.6 per cent stake, surged as much 15 per cent yesterday on news it had found ”significant” quantities of heavy rare earths at Browns Range in Western Australia.

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New development’s green star rating at risk

Posted on July 27, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-Brisbanetimes.com.au

One of Sydney’s “greenest” new building developments – No 1 Central Park on Broadway – is using rainforest timber logged in Malaysia, putting its advertised “five green star” rating at risk.

Tonnes of plywood from a mill in Sarawak, Malaysia, is being used to help build the concrete foundations of the complex, which developer Frasers Property said would “achieve the highest possible environmental rating for the entire precinct”.

But the wood is not certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council or the Program for the Enforcement of Forest Certification – the two organisations which verify whether a logging operation can be regarded as sustainable.

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Central Park may not live up to its five-star promiseCentral Park Sydney

The Green Buildings Council of Australia, which controls a building’s “green star” rating, requires a project to use timber certified by one of these agencies if it is to achieve timber credits under a five star rating.

Photographs of the wood being used on the site showed a logo that was traced back to the Baramas mill in Sarawak.

The mill has been associated with serious breaches of sustainable logging practices over the past two years. Investigations by Malaysia’s auditor-general and environment groups found that trees had been cut down in an area slated for a national park, protected species habitat had been logged, and other logging in banned areas had caused water pollution.

Artist's impressions of the One Central Park development in Chippendale. Click for more photos

One Central Park

Artist’s impressions of the One Central Park development in Chippendale.

  • Artist's impressions of the One Central Park development in Chippendale.
  • Aerial view of the how the development will look.
  • Artist's impressions of the One Central Park development in Chippendale.

Watpac, the construction company building the Broadway development for Frasers Property, sourced the wood from Australian Wood Panels, a distributor which is wholly owned by Malaysian logging company Samling.

Australian Wood Panels labels its wood “Legal & Sustainable Malaysian Resource”. It does hold Forestry Stewardship Council for some of its activities, but not for the wood it supplied Watpac for use in No 1 Central Park.

Frasers Property said it was determined to make the development sustainable and meet the five green star criteria if possible.

“To date Frasers have understood that the timber used at Central Park complied with the Green Building Council of Australia’s requirements for 5 Green Star certification,” said a spokeswoman for the company.

“If this proves not to be the case, we will immediately instruct Watpac to address the issue.”

The Green Building Council said it would assess the No 1 Central Park development on its environmental merits.

“If No 1 Central Park can demonstrate that the timber used in the project has been certified by either FSC or PEFC, it will be awarded the appropriate points under the Green Star Timber credit,” the chief executive of the Green Building Council, Romilly Madew, said in a statement.

“If it cannot demonstrate compliance, it will not.”

Greenpeace forestry campaigner Reece Turner said sourcing sustainable timber is a minefield.

“It is simply a matter of making sure they seek documentation of certification for the source of the product, not simply rely on a company that says it is certified, especially with timber that comes from a tropical rainforest,” Mr Turner said.

“I think this highlights exactly why the government needs to bring in laws to stop the worst of these timbers coming into Australia in the first place.”

There is an estimated $800 million worth of imported unsustainable timber sold in Australia each year. The government is developing legislation for tightening rules around illegal timber exports.

Greenpeace and other environment groups are calling for border checks for timber imports, a ban on unsustainable timber imports, and more resources for policing.

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‘Greenest’ Sydney building using rainforest timber

Posted on July 27, 2011. Filed under: Forestry/Wetlands |

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/greenest-sydney-building-using-rainforest-timber-20110727-1hz71.html#ixzz1UWF3zTvI

One of Sydney’s “greenest” new building developments – No.1 Central Park on Broadway – is using rainforest timber logged in Malaysia, putting its advertised “five green star” rating at risk.

Seven protesters from Greenpeace were arrested this morning after climbing a 50-metre crane at the building site and unfurling a banner saying “Stop Illegal Timber”.

Tonnes of plywood from a mill in Sarawak, Malaysia, are being used to help build the concrete foundations of the complex, which developer Frasers Property said would “achieve the highest possible environmental rating for the entire precinct”.

Advertisement: Story continues below

But the wood is not certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council nor the Program for the Enforcement of Forest Certification – the two organisations that verify whether a logging operation can be regarded as sustainable.

The Green Buildings Council of Australia, which controls a building’s “green star” rating, requires a project to use timber certified by one of these agencies if it is to achieve timber credits under a five-star rating.

Photographs of the wood being used on the site showed a logo that was traced back to the Baramas mill in Sarawak.

The mill has been associated with serious breaches of sustainable logging practices over the past two years.

Investigations by Malaysia’s auditor-general and environment groups found that trees had been cut down in an area slated for a national park, protected species habitat had been logged and other logging in banned areas had caused water pollution.

Watpac, the construction company building the Broadway development for Frasers Property, sourced the wood from Australian Wood Panels, a distributor that is wholly owned by Malaysian logging company Samling.

Australian Wood Panels labels its wood “Legal & Sustainable Malaysian Resource”.

It does hold Forestry Stewardship Council for some of its activities, but not for the wood it supplied Watpac for use in No.1 Central Park.

Frasers Property said today it would conduct a thorough audit of all timber on the site, and find out where it was sourced from.

The company said yesterday it was determined to make the development sustainable and meet the five green star criteria if possible.

“To date Frasers have understood that the timber used at Central Park complied with the Green Building Council of Australia’s requirements for 5 Green Star certification,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

“If this proves not to be the case, we will immediately instruct Watpac to address the issue.”

The Green Building Council said it would assess the No.1 Central Park development on its environmental merits.

“If No.1 Central Park can demonstrate that the timber used in the project has been certified by either FSC or PEFC, it will be awarded the appropriate points under the Green Star Timber credit,” the chief executive of the Green Building Council, Romilly Madew, said in a statement.

“If it cannot demonstrate compliance, it will not.”

The Greenpeace protesters were taken to Redfern police station where they are expected to be charged with criminal offences.

Greenpeace forestry campaigner Reece Turner said sourcing sustainable timber was a minefield.

“It is simply a matter of making sure they seek documentation of certification for the source of the product, not simply rely on a company that says it is certified, especially with timber that comes from a tropical rainforest,” Mr Turner said.

“I think this highlights exactly why the government needs to bring in laws to stop the worst of these timbers coming into Australia in the first place.”

An estimated $800 million worth of imported unsustainable timber is sold in Australia each year. The government is developing legislation for tightening rules around illegal timber exports.

 

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Lynas plant owner gets rapped for secrecy

Posted on July 21, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

Malaysiakini.com
As the Lynas Advance Material Plant (Lamp) at the Gebeng industrial area, Kuantan gets set for the second phase of the construction of the plant, the local Anti Rare Earth action body (Badar) slammed the Australian mining company for keeping the project’s progress under wraps.

NONEBadar secretary Mohd Prasal Hanif said that the company had struck an agreement with a Thai company for the construction of the plant’s second phase without informing the public whether they had complied with all the phase one requirements laid down by the Atomic Licensing Board (AELB) and the International Trade and Industries Ministry (MITTI).

He said this after meeting with MITTI secretary-general Rebecca Fatima Stamaria today.

Describing the Lynas attitude as arrogant for ignoring the country’s laws, Prasal added that they also did not address the status of the plant.

Million ringgit deal sealed

Also present were the chairman of the group Andansura Rabu and its advisor Zulkefly Mohamad Omar.

azlanAccording to the Australian Associated Press, Lynas Corp had signed a RM630 million deal with a Thai engineering firm Toyo-Thai Corporation to complete phase two of the plant.

The RM700 million plant, which has stirred fear in Kuantan and Balok residents over its radioactive waste, is facing strong opposition from them

The first phase of the plant is expected to be completed by end of this year, while the second is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012.

According to Zulkefly, Rebecca admitted during the meeting that MITI and Lynas had made a serious mistake by approving the project without prior consultation with the public.

“She admitted the mistake of no communication and engagement with the local people,” he said.

“They should have done this from day one,” added Prasal.

However, they stressed that the ultimate goal of the group is to stop the project before it starts operating.

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Sinar Harian bolot Anugerah Kewartawanan Hijau 2011

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |


GEORGETOWN – Empat wartawan Sinar Harian Edisi Utara, berjaya membolot dua anugerah dalam Pertandingan Anugerah Kewartawanan Hijau 2011 anjuran Kerajaan Pulau Pinang.

Wartawan Ibu Pejabat Pulau Pinang, Mohd Iskandar Othman, Syajaratulhuda Rosli dan Gokina Morganan berjaya merangkul Anugerah Hadiah Cemerlang bagi kategori Bahasa Melayu dengan membawa pulang wang RM3,000 berserta sijil.

Manakala Anugerah Hadiah Khas 1 pula, dimenangi Skuad Tanjong, Siti Nadiah Ahmad Zamlus dengan membawa pulang wang RM1,000 berserta sijil penghargaan.

Hadir sama Editor Sinar Harian Edisi Utara, Azwani Abdul Ghani dan Ketua Wartawan Sinar Harian Edisi Utara, Mohd Idros Mohd Ali.

Selain Sinar Harian, The Star turut mengungguli kategori Bahasa Inggeris dengan merangkul Hadiah Cemerlang dan juga Hadiah Khas 2.

Wartawan Sin Chew Media Corporation Berhad dan The China Press Berhad merangkul anugerah bagi kategori Bahasa Cina.

Ketua Pengadil, Ng Miew Luan juga Pensyarah Kolej Damansara Utama (KDU) berkata, pihaknya menerima 14 penyertaan, namun hanya tujuh menerima anugerah bagi tahun ini.

Menurutnya, setiap karya yang dipertandingkan memaparkan isu alam sekitar di negeri ini.

Selain Miew Luan, juri terdiri daripada Pensyarah Pusat Pengajian Komunikasi Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Profesor Madya Mustafa Kamal Anuar; Pensyarah New Era College, Wong Kock Hoo; wakil Malaysian Nature Society dan Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM).

Hadiah disampaikan Setiausaha Politik Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Ng Wei Aik.

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Illegal dumpsite resurfaces in Kampung Sungai Kertas

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-

HARDLY a year after the authorities cleared the illegal dumpsite in Kampung Sungai Kertas, Batu Caves, another has resurfaced half a kilometre away.

A resident, who only wish to be known as Ahmad, noticed that lorries have been going to the site especially at night in the past few months.

“Residents have complained that lorries carrying construction waste entering the site to unload their cargo.

Illegal spot: A tractor pushing the rubbish at the site.

“The new site is located about 200m away from SMK Sungai Kertas,” he said.

Four years ago, 60 students were affected by smoke from another dumpsite and sent to hospital.

“They burn the rubbish at night and we fear that the health of the students and villagers would be affected.

“Two years ago, a dumpsite in Jalan Mangga was ordered to close for burning the rubbish,” he said.

A worker at a makeshift shed at the site, said he took RM15 from each one-tonne lorry to dump the rubbish.

Not a deterrent: A signboard near the site showing a RM50,000 fine for throwing rubbish at the dumpsite.

He said the dumpsite was open round the clock and lorries could come in at any time to dump rubbish.

Batu Caves assemblyman Amirudin Shari said he had also received complaints from residents on the matter.

“I want the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) and Gombak District Land office to monitor the lorries going into the dumpsite.

Amirudin said a MPS van with enforcement officers was stationed at the entrance to the dumpsite yesterday.

“We are unable to guard the place round the clock. When we have our enforcement officers stationed there, the garbage trucks will go to another dumpsite,’’ he said.

There is also a MPS signboard near the site that says that those caught dumping illegally would be fined RM50,000.

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The Star bags two inaugural Green Journalism awards

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-The Star-

Recognised: Chin (right) and Tan with their prizes for coming up tops in both categories of the English section of the awards.

The Star bags two inaugural Green Journalism awards

THE Star won two of the state’s Green Journalism Award for articles on environmental issues in line with the state’s efforts to make Penang a ‘greener’ place.

Journalist Christina Chin won the Excellence Award for her write-up ‘More Turtles Needed, Saving Turtles One Egg At A Time’ while The Star former reporter Ann Tan took home the Special Award for her write-up ‘Pollution A Grave Matter/ For The Dearly Departed’.

Chin, 33, and Tan, 24, took home RM3,000 and RM1,000 respectively.

They were among 10 journalists from various print and online media, who were recognised by the state for their effort.

An elated Chin said the award was in recognition of the efforts of the Pantai Kerachut Turtle Conservation Sanctuary to preserve, conserve and promote Penang’s natural heritage.

Tan’s article was on pollution issues affecting cemeteries, especially during the Qing Ming festival.

Chin and Tan emerged winners in both categories in the English language section.

In the Malay language section, Sinar Harian’s Mohd Iskandar Othman, M. Gokina and Syajaratulhuda Rosli won the Excellence Award while Siti Nadiah Ahmad Zamlus won the Special Award.

Sin Chew Media Corporation’s Crystal Chiam and China Press Berhad’s Goh Wai Fong bagged the Special Awards.

Komtar assemblyman Ng Wei Aik presented the awards to the winners in a simple ceremony in Komtar yesterday.

Ng, who is also Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary, said the awards was the first of its kind in the state to show the state’s seriousness in promoting a greener state.

The state had invited journalists to submit articles last September and offered cash prizes of up to RM3,000 for winning entries.

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States to take out own trash

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-

Instilling the green habit: SMK Datuk Onn students reading the book after the launch of the ‘Excellent Green Students Book’ at the school in Butterworth.

PENANG will get to appoint its own waste management contractors after choosing to opt out of the Solid Waste Management Act 2007, said state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.

“Housing and Local Government Ministry chief secretary Datuk Ahmad Kabit recently wrote to us about the state’s exclusion from the Act which will be enforced on Sept 1.

“This means that the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) will be allowed to appoint their own contractors for waste management and other cleanliness-related functions,” he said.

Chow said under the present system, different contractors were appointed by the ministry for rubbish collection, grass cutting, drainage and road cleaning, but now, a single contractor would be appointed to do these jobs.

“This will enable the local councils to better monitor the contractors. The councils are presently unable to question the contractors when there’s a complaint as it has to be referred to the ministry.

“Selangor has also been excluded as it had asked to opt out of the act,” he told reporters after launching the Excellent Green Students Book programme at SMK Dato Onn in Bagan Ajam yesterday.

Also present were MPSP secretary Rozali Mohamud, councillors Soon Lip See, Oon Neow Aun, Ahmad Farid Md Arshad, S. Chandrase-keran and Abdul Latif Abdullah.

Chow said the councils would call for open tenders in November to appoint new contractors for the job.

Rozali said there are now 41 contractors in Seberang Prai, adding that the number will be greatly reduced after new tenders are called.

He added that the council will also engage its own personnel to take over certain jobs as a cost-cutting measure.

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Nix Lynas plant, says doctors’ association

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-The Malaysian Insider- By Yow Hong Chieh
July 20, 2011

A file photo of anti-Lynas protestors demonstrating in Kuala Kuantan earlier this year.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has called for the Lynas rare earths plant to be scrapped in the absence of evidence that the plant will be “totally fail-safe”.MMA president Dr Mary Suma Cardosa said there were still many unresolved questions concerning the safety and implementation of the Gebeng plant despite assurances by both Lynas and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“We remain deeply concerned that public safety and health concerns have not been adequately met and could not be guaranteed, by whatever reassurances, that have been given,” she said in a statement today.

Dr Cardosa pointed out that neither the long-term waste management nor the possible contamination of surface water and atmosphere by radioactive waste material were addressed in the radiological impact assessment (RIA) report.

She said the open-air waste storage model mooted for the plant would allow radioactive particles to “dust the environment”, increasing the chance of inhalation by the surrounding community.

“The RIA did not include the assessment on internal radiation, which is very crucial as radioactive waste products are mainly alpha emitters,” she said.

External alpha radiation is generally not harmful but alpha particles can cause cellular damage and increase the likelihood of cancer if inhaled or ingested.

Dr Cardosa said these omissions from the report were worrying in light of allegations by The New York Times that the construction and design of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) may have serious flaws.

Current regulatory standards are not tailored to monitor waste containing radioactive elements, which she said was hinted at in the IAEA report, she added.

Pressure from local residents and environmentalists strongly opposed to Lynas’s Gebeng plant forced the government to order a month-long review led by the IAEA that concluded on June 28.

Lynas expects to meet by year-end all 11 conditions put forth by the IAEA review panel and for them to be adopted by Putrajaya.

The Australian mining giant has said that its plant — which will extract rare earth metals crucial for high-technology products like smartphones, hybrid cars and wind turbines — will create a RM4 billion multiplier effect annually and 350 jobs for skilled workers.

Although reports say the plant may earn RM8 billion for Lynas, critics have questioned the real economic benefit of the project, pointing to the 12-year tax break Lynas will enjoy due to its pioneer status.

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