Archive for September, 2011

MP files complaint with Aussie commission

Posted on September 28, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-Free Malaysia Today-

According to Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, Australian mining giant Lynas is attempting to mislead investors.

KUALA LUMPUR: The anti-Lynas movement’s leading lady Fuziah Salleh claimed that the Australian mining giant is defrauding investors.

In view of this, she lodged a formal complaint with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

In the letter dated Sept 27, the Kuantan MP said there were contradictions in Lynas’ Q2 report on its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) which she regarded “as an act of corporate fraud to mislead the investing public”.

In her letter, Fuziah said that Lynas had, in its Q2 report for the period ending June 30, 2011, had outlined strategies to satisfy the 11 IAEA recommendations, including claiming to have submitted the permanent waste disposal plan to AELB on July 18, 2011, and the remaining documents in August 2011.

Fuziah, when contacted, however said none of the residents or the affected parties have been informed of Lynas’ long-term waste disposal plan.

The assurance that the Australian mining giant produces a solid waste management plan to address concerns of radioactive leaks was the first recommendation made by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its review of the LAMP.

Lynas claimed to have submitted the permanent waste disposal plan to the Malaysian regulatory agency, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), only on July 18, 2011.

It added that the safety case work was underway and was planned to be submitted with updated Radiation Impact Assessment report to the AELB in August.

Right to correct information

Fuziah said the silence on Lynas’ part over its long-term waste management plan was a direct attempt to mislead investors over its failure to follow recommendation 10 of the IAEA.

The recommendation stated that Lynas, as the party responsible for the safety of the proposed rare earth processing facility, should be urged to intensify its communication with interested and affected parties.

This was to demonstrate how it would ensure the radiological safety of the public and the environment.

“But until now none of us have seen the plan or have been informed when Lynas is supposed to intensify communication with residents or affected parties,” Fuziah told FMT.

She added that the investing public had the right to correct information to facilitate their decision making.

“Therefore, we urge the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to compel Lynas to issue a correction to its quarterly report or to disclose all submitted documents to the public,” she said.

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No More Indiscriminate Dumping Of Garbage- Part 2

Posted on September 28, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

By Sakini Mohd Said

The following, the second of two features, is the outcome of an interview by Bernama with Director-General Datuk Dr Nadzri Yahaya of the Department of National Solid Waste Management.

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 27 (Bernama) — When a report says the country today generates 27,000 tonnes of solid waste a day, various questions arise.

The first is: Is it possible that the initial estimate of 30,000 tonnes a day of solid waste generated in the country has to be revised based on the report?

Secondly, are there enough garbage disposal sites in the country to meet the increase in generated solid waste?

Some people may say this matter has no significant impact on the country’s economy.

To them, only activities that spur economic and technological growth deserve attention in the effort to achieve developed status for Malaysia.

However, the fact remains that every industrial activity — and domestic ones — contribute to the generation of solid waste.

The Malaysian population is reported to have reached 28.3 million (based on the Population and Housing Census in 2010), where more solid waste will be generated.

But there are still many who believe that the management of solid waste disposal has got nothing to do with them.

Why is that so?

STILL BACKWARD The national campaign on recycling was launched close to 12 years ago with the involvement of various parties, including local authorities, garbage disposal concessionaires and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The nation’s current recycling rate is reported at only a mere five percent, however.

When compared with other nations – such as Germany (74 percent), Belgium (71 percent), Austria (67 percent) and Holland (66 percent) — Malaysia is a long way behind.

Where has the country gone wrong? “The fact that people have to look for a recycling centre, and send the recyclables themselves, is a factor in why the public is not keen enough to recycle,” Dr Nadzri told Bernama.

“The lack of awareness of how to recycle, where many still put all the garbage into one bin, is another reason,” he said.

The Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Act 2007 Act 672), in force since Sept 1, is seen as having huge potential in educating the public about recycling.

The act makes it a requirement for the public to separate recyclables from solid waste. A penalty will be imposed on those who fail to do so.

TRANSFORMATION OF NATION’S SOLID WASTE MANAGMENT Even though the act was approved in 2007 and came into force on Sept 1, it is seen as opening a new chapter in the nation’s solid waste management.

The act is expected to improve public awareness and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to disposal sites.

With the act, the government expects to implement the privatisation of household solid waste collection.

It is also expected to take over the management of solid waste and public cleaning services from local authorities.

The act is to be implemented in phases, Dr Nadzri said.

“In the first phase, concessionaires will distribute 120-litre bins to housing estates free of charge in all state capitals, except in states that opt not to fully implement privatisation until next Sept 1 (Selangor, Perak and Pulau Pinang).

“After one year, the garbage bins will be distributed to all municipal and district councils,” he said.

“These bins are for the non-recyclable refuse such as diapers, food leftovers and so forth.

“For recycleables such as glass, bottles and paper, the consumers should separate them from the rest of the garbage, and not dump them together in the same bin,” he said.

The garbage collection schedule will be changed into a 2+1 system, where two days are for collecting organic wastes while the other day will be for recyclable items.

About the new management system, Dr Nadzri said, “There is a difference.

“Now the collection is not according to regulations or schedule. There is leachate dripping from garbage compacter lorries.

“Under the new system, consumers can expect no leachate, as new lorries will be used and garbage will be segregated into non-recyclables and recyclables.”

WILL IT BE EFFECTIVE? Concessionaires will be monitored by the Solid waste Management and Public Cleaning Corporation (PPSPPA) to ensure proper management of solid waste disposal A Key Performance Index (KPI) will be imposed on concessionaires doing the job.

Concessionaires are Alam Flora (central zone), Southern Waste Management Sdn Bhd (south zone), and Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd for the peninsula’s north zone. As the country now has a low recycling rate, enforcement of the act allows two years for people to familiarise themselves with the programme before any action is taken.

Hence, various campaigns, including those in cooperation with NGOs, need to be intensified to boost awareness on the importance of recycling.

Recycling enables more items to be reused, and reduces the amount of garbage sent to dump sites.

“At the moment, we have 296 dump sites and only 166 are still operational,” Dr Nadzri said.

“Of the 166, only eight are sanitary disposal sites. Among them is that in Bukit Tagar, and this site can last up to 50 years.

“Let’s say that one cell at the site can last up to five years before another cell is opened for disposal of solid waste. Under the implementation of this act, the cell can last longer when separation of garbage can be done at home,” he said.

The time has arrived for all in the society to realise that their involvement is crucial in the management of the country’s solid wastes.

Without this awareness, it is going to be difficult for the county to achieve developed status, as effectiveness in managing solid waste is taken into account before a country achieves developed status.

— BERNAMA

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Reality check shows nuclear energy is the wrong path

Posted on September 28, 2011. Filed under: Energy |

Scidev.net

Rising costs and re-evaluated risks make nuclear power a poor choice, even for developing nations that can afford it, says José Goldemberg.

There are 440 nuclear reactors operating around the world, providing about 14 per cent of the world’s electricity supply. Most were installed 30–40 years ago, when the relative cost of producing nuclear energy made it an attractive option.

After 1985, lower petroleum costs, combined with concerns over nuclear safety (raised by the nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island, United States, in 1979 and at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986), stagnated worldwide expansion of nuclear-generated electricity.

But more recently, concerns over greenhouse gas emissions helped spark a nuclear energy ‘renaissance’, stimulated by government subsidies. Unlike thermoelectric generation using coal or other fossil fuels, nuclear-generated electricity contributes little — on a life-cycle basis — to emissions, and could help solve global warming problems.

Now, the most recent nuclear disaster — at Fukushima in March 2011 — has again dampened enthusiasm. Countries are pausing to re-evaluate nuclear power and ask whether it will truly put them on the right track for sustainable energy.

Risk recalculated

It is still too early to evaluate fully what the Fukushima accident means for the future of nuclear energy. But several OECD countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan and Switzerland, among others) have already decided to phase out existing nuclear reactors at the end of their useful life and have cancelled plans for new ones.

Before Fukushima, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) predicted that nuclear plants would add 360 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2035, or the equivalent of over 200 new reactors; it is now reckoning on half as many.

This is due partly to diminishing public acceptance of nuclear energy in many countries, but also to the increased costs of nuclear security improvements and of insurance premiums for accident-related damages.

The estimated probability of major nuclear accidents, which was considered very small in the past, has increased significantly. The pre-Fukushima estimate for the probability of a major nuclear accident was roughly 1 in 100,000 for the 440 reactors in operation over the next 20–25 years.

But the likelihood of core melt and containment failure had been underestimated: the accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima amount to catastrophic meltdown in four nuclear reactors over the past few decades, more than originally assumed.

A simple calculation shows that in reality, the probability of any of the currently operating nuclear reactor having a major accident over the next 20–­25 years is 1 in 5000. This means that another major nuclear accident can be expected to occur once every 20 years. Based on the earlier estimate, we were expecting one accident over a 100-year period.

Realistic costs

Only 6 per cent of the worldwide capacity for nuclear power is in developing countries: in China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina and Pakistan. But by the end of 2008 more than 50 developing countries had approached the IAEA with interest in installing their first nuclear plant.

Of these, it is unlikely that countries with a GDP smaller than US$50 billion would be able to purchase a nuclear reactor costing at least a few billion dollars. Countries would also need electricity grids with a minimum capacity of approximately 10 gigawatts to accommodate a large nuclear reactor.

Eliminating the countries that do not meet these criteria leaves 16 serious candidates for purchasing large nuclear reactors: Algeria, Belarus, Chile, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

But a close examination of their other potential energy resources, such as oil, gas, biomass or hydropower, indicates nuclear is not the best option for generating the electricity they need.

In all of them, the cost of nuclear-generated electricity is significantly higher than other options, although estimates vary depending on the availability of gas or hydroelectric sites.

In Brazil, for example, the cost of nuclear energy is at least 50 per cent higher than other options. In Iran, gas is abundant and thus a more cost-effective option.

Mixed motives

In economic terms, nuclear energy should be a ‘last resort option’ for supplying electricity.

So what could motivate developing countries to pursue the nuclear option? Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not a priority for them, as they are exempted by the Kyoto Protocol — only industrialised countries are committed to emissions targets.

The main attraction of the nuclear option seems to be the ‘status’ and prestige associated with mastering nuclear technologies.

In developing countries, nuclear technology has often been viewed as a passport to the first world and to the bureaucratic self aggrandizement of the nuclear establishment.

And since there is no clear distinction between the technologies needed for peaceful uses of nuclear energy and manufacturing nuclear weapons, there are also concerns that new nuclear reactors increase the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation.

Whatever countries’ true motivation, under current conditions, and if the question is how to secure energy supplies for future generations in the developing world, nuclear power is not part of the answer.

José Goldemberg is a physicist and Professor Emeritus of the University of São Paulo, Brazil. He has served as Brazil’s Secretary of State for Science and Technology and Minister of State for Education.

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Nestle To Plant Seedlings Under Reforestation Project Of Kinabatangan River

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

(Bernama) — Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd will plant forest seedlings up to 150 kilometres on both sides of the Kinabatangan river under a reforestation project that will create a landscape where people, nature and agriculture co-exist harmoniously in their need for water.

Managing Director Peter R. Vogt said the three-year reforestation project is targetted to cover 2,400 hectares of riverside vegetation along the river for ecological and environmental functions.

“The Nestle RiLeaf project will see forest seedlings planted on both sides of the river over a 110km stretch of the Kinabatangan river,” he said at the launch of the project on Monday by Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun in Sukau, Kinabatangan.

Vogt said the initial phase would see 100,000 trees being planted over the next one year to commemorate Nestle’s 100 years of existence in Malaysia in 2012.

“This project reflects our global philosophy of creating shared value, as in addition to saving the environment, it will stimulate the local economy by creating jobs and generating income for the local community who are directly as well as indirectly involved in the project.

“We are also looking at how we can engage with our palm oil stakeholders in the Nestle supply chain here to have a meaningful and positive sharing of value for the benefit of all,” Vogt added.

RiLeaf will leverage on the commercial agriculture experience and expertise of Nestle to speed up riverside reforestation and increase the durability of indigenous forest seedlings to ensure greater survivability.

Carried out with the full endorsement of the Sabah government, the Nestle RILeaf project will also have an active role in palm oil sustainability, reduce environmental impact of oil palm plantings through minimisation of chemical fertilisers and promote back-to-basic good agricultural practices.

The 560km long Kinabatangan is Malaysia’s second longest river and is crucial for the survival of wildlife, plants and man.

Rapid change in land-use along the Kinabatangan has led to a degree of deforestation and forest degradation which has a worrying impact on wildlife habitats, forcing some already endangered species into the remaining pockets of jungle, and increasing stress on the ecosystem.

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‘Indifferent’ Over Waste Disposal- Part 1

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

Despite the many awareness programmes held by authorities on waste disposal, many people are still indifferent to this issue.

The following, the first of two features, looks into the lackadaisical attitude of some toward the importance of proper solid waste disposal.

SERDANG, Sept 26 (Bernama) — Garbage has always been an issue at both night- and farmers’ markets, at other open places, and at covered buildings where buyers and sellers convene for the sale of goods, including daily essentials.

But after the trading has ended, there will no more sellers and buyers. Usually, the marketplace becomes deserted. What is left behind are piles and piles of garbage.

There is nothing new about this in Malaysian life, and similar scenarios can be seen elsewhere, too.

Garbage from food and other leftovers discarded by irresponsible visitors and traders can be seen strewn about at recreational spots, such as waterfalls and picnic sites.

This points to the indifference of some members of the society to the importance of proper management of solid waste disposal, according to Prof Madya Dr Mohd Bakri Ishak, a lecturer in Industrial Waste management and Environment Law at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

DISEASES

Last year, the emergence of leptospirosis and the rise in cases of dengue raised attention to the practice of hygiene and to the cleanliness of some members of the society.

Some remain unperturbed over reports on the prevalence of these diseases.

Does this imply that public concern over the importance of proper solid waste management has gone down to a low level?

Health authorities have pointed out that a lack of cleanliness is a contributing factor in leptospirosis, a disease caused by contact with rat urine.

In the middle of last year, several visitors to recreational sites in the country succumbed to this fatal disease.

It is the same with dengue. Dirty and garbage-strewn surroundings are among the conditions that hasten the breeding of the Aedes mosquito.

Some operators of eateries are indifferent to the proper disposal of food leftovers. Their lackadaisical attitude has invited rats, cockroaches and flies to their premises.

These pests bring diseases, and the patrons of these restaurants risk contracting diseases if they consume food contaminated by the pests.

NOT IN MY BACKYARD

The indifference shown by some members of the society can be seen as a “not in my backyard” attitude.

Some individuals are only concerned over the cleanliness of their homes and do not care what happens elsewhere.

“As long as the garbage is not at my house, I don’t mind,” say some individuals.

Some even resort to sweeping and dumping their garbage on the property of their neighbours. As long as their house compounds remain clean!

“Even though the housing area that we live in is clean, the dirty environment out there still may hold negative consequences,” Mohd Bakri told Bernama here recently.

Mohd Bakri is concerned over the society’s attitude in leaving to authorities the task of proper waste disposal.

He expressed dismay over some individuals who have a “let the authorities worry about it and do the job” attitude.

Some simply throw the garbage at any spot if there are no garbage bins around, he lamented.

“This should not happen when the nation is making brisk steps to become developed,” he said.

RECYCLING

The society’s involvement in recycling programmes is still low – roughly only five percent, compared to other nations.

This reflects a lack of concern over the proper management of garbage disposal.

People tend to mix the various domestic solid wastes into one garbage bin. This has made recycling a difficult process.

Items that can be recycled should be separated from other rubbish, said Mohd Bakri.

While attending a SIRIM-organised conference on waste management in Sarawak recently, he learned that some solid wastes have high water contents.

“I was told (at the conference) that solid waste in our country has much higher water content than that in Germany and other nations in Europe,” he said.

Hence, recyclables need to be dried, and this indirectly hampers the recycling process, he said.

The water content in solid wastes can be transformed into leachate, which has a foul smell, and negatively impacts human health.

(Leachate is any liquid which, in passing through matter, extracts solutes, suspended solids or any other component of the material through which it has passed.)

“In 2006, we are shocked over news that rivers were polluted by leachate,” said Mohd Bakri.

RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL

He said that proper garbage disposal is the responsibility of all, and should not be left to the authorities and concessionaires contracted to do the job.

This attitude has to change.

Mohd Bakri attributes the indifference a lack of awareness campaigns.

“It is not because that the campaigns held earlier were not successful. But more such campaigns are needed. Many people do not know that solid wastes can be recycled.

“This is based on my experience when conducting research on electrical and electronic wastes in several towns. Many people called for more awareness campaigns to be carried out.

“I feel it is time for more of such campaigns to be held, in line with the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleanliness Act 2007 (Act 672), which comes into force on Sept 1 this year,” he said.

Under the Act, households are required to separate reyclable items from other garbage before sending them out for disposal.

Mohd Bakri is confident that the Act will be able to raise public awareness of garbage management, as it focuses on separation of garbage right from its source.

It is hoped that with the enforcement of this act, awareness among the public about proper solid waste disposal will improve.

— BERNAMA

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No Plastic Bag day? Customers say ‘I would rather pay’

Posted on September 25, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-

PETALING JAYA: Consumers in the Klang Valley are still using plastic bags when they shop despite the “No Plastic Bag” campaign introduced early this year.

Trader Mohd Noor Mohd Salleh, 32, said the policy was not that effective.

“At 20 sen a plastic bag, people can afford to pay for a few if they don’t bring their own bags,” he added.

Gentle reminder: Signage in hypermarkets urging customers to bring their own shopping bags on Saturdays or be charged 20 sen per plastic bag.

Retired teacher Datin Zainab Karin, 71, said she has been making a conscious effort to reduce her use of plastic bags since the policy was introduced.

“I usually keep a few reusable bags in my car, as I sometimes forget to pack bags when I go shopping,” she said.

Recreational supervisor Mohd Arsat Marzuki, 24, said the policy might change the habits of people, but it still wasn’t effective as many shop on impulse when they are near a hypermarket.

“Those who shop that way don’t mind paying for bags as they don’t usually buy so much anyway,” he added.

Fomca secretary-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah said the campaign should be expanded to more days instead of just Saturdays or Sundays.

In Penang, where the policy has been in effect every day of the week for the past nine months, it has been a resounding success.

“We have noticed that there is less clogging of waterways ever since we embarked on the campaign which later included the ban on the use of polystyrene packaging at council-owned hawker centres,” said Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

Phee said the state government had taken a risk when it implemented the ruling as plastic bag manufacturers opposed it.

He also said the state government has collected almost RM1mil from the 20 sen sale of plastic bags at outlets since July 1, 2009. The fee is imposed on people who insist on plastic bags.

A source said that since the implementation of the ruling first partial, then total in 2009, the state has recorded a reduced usage of at least 33 million plastic bags.

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Panasonic M’sia steals limelight with total energy solutions

Posted on September 24, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-Borneo Post Online-

KUALA LUMPUR: Panasonic Malaysia etched a ‘green’ impression into the mind of visitors to the recent International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM) 2011 with a proud showcase of ‘Green Life Innovation & Green Business Innovation’ under the ‘Panasonic Energy for an Econation’ umbrella.

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHT: One of the biggest thrills was undoubtedly the special appearance of the Tesla Roadster, an Electric Vehicle, in collaboration with Tesla Motors.

At IGEM 2011 held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Panasonic stole the limelight with a whole new concept of total energy solutions and eco products, focusing on four pillars – ‘Create’, ‘Store’, ‘Save’ and ‘Manage’ energy.

The serious involvement of Panasonic in eco solutions further asserted its commitment to green living for this global village.

Building around the concept of ‘Panasonic Energy for an Econation’, the showcase helped create awareness towards a greener future.

There were eight key areas at the Panasonic booth that enlightened visitors on the amazing innovative green solutions by Panasonic.

Visitors were amazed by the ‘Create & Store Energy Solutions’ with the latest solar panels and fuel cells and lithium ion battery storage system; ‘Panasonic LED & Eco Lighting Series’; ‘Eco Navi & Inverter Air Conditioners’; ‘Total Variable Refrigeration Flow (VRF) Air Conditioners’; ‘Kitchen System Solutions’; ‘Total Convenience Store Solutions’; and ‘Panahome Building Solutions’.

One of the biggest thrills was undoubtedly the special appearance of the Tesla Roadster, an Electric Vehicle, in collaboration with Tesla Motors.

This special vehicle ran on Panasonic’s lithium ion battery with the latest charging technology for promoting the green automobile industry.

“The key objective of our participation is to share with the industry and public on Panasonic’s serious commitment towards realizing its eco vision of becoming the number one Green Innovation Company in the electronic industry by 2018,” remarked Jeff Lee, the managing director of Panasonic Malaysia.

“We at Panasonic aspire to champion green revolution with a new era of renewable energy, through two areas, namely Green Life Innovation and Green Business Innovation.

“In other words, we are making a statement that Panasonic is serious in promoting green innovation in Malaysia.

“And, inspired by last year’s participation, we have established a new sales channel partners and secured several milestone projects for our green frontier products such as the HIT solar panels,” he said.

This year’s participation sees more aggressiveness in Panasonic’s energy solutions and eco products’ presentations.

“We believe the market or industry keeps demanding for better green solutions and this is where Panasonic comes into the picture.” At the showcase, Panasonic presented a new business and green living concept called Panasonic Environmental Systems, in partnership with Mitsui Sumitomo Bank.

Panasonic pursued to drive a green revolution through both product showcase and the Econation campaign.

The soon-to-open Econation Centre featured sustainable living in the future, revolving on a zero CO2 emission concept energy management solutions.

Every product of Panasonic falls under a respective pillar that emphasises the company’s commitment towards environmental stewardship.

“By leveraging our product showcase alongside our new business direction, we hope our aim in promoting total energy solutions paves way for a greener future,” said Lee.

“Prospective business partners and government bodies can always come to us for energy solutions.

“Panasonic’s total energy solutions and eco products provide B2B, B2G and B2C easy understanding to everything a project needs when preparing their business options,” he added.

The IGEM 2011 was injected with the glamour of international stardom when Sarah Brightman made a special appearance.

Sarah Brightman is the brand ambassador for Panasonic Corporation who sings the Panasonic Global Eco Song ‘Shall Be Done’.

The multi-talented English classical crossover soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer is now a green icon for Panasonic’s eco solutions.

She is the one of the two joint singers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

At IGEM 2011, Panasonic expects to make a strong and impactful impression to the trade and public in its commitment towards energy and green innovations, based on the touch points of Create, Store, Save and Manage energy in its total energy solutions concept.

The entire concept consists of hardware and technical options, and commercial viabilities,” Lee added.

In order to capture sufficient input for Panasonic’s future development, planning and strategies, Panasonic will communicate and share its initiatives and intensions with a diverse group of visitors, including representatives from the government sector, corporate, service providers, system integrators, GLCs, international delegates and the general public.

“Panasonic would like the public to explore and learn about the new era of renewable energy that will soon be the way for green living through Panasonic’s advanced technologies that help enrich life and conserve earth’s valuable resources for a sustainable living,” he said.

GOING GREEN: Panasonic Malaysia etches a ‘green’ impression into the mind of visitors to the recent IGEM 2011 with a proud showcase of ‘Green Life Innovation & Green Business Innovation’ under the ‘Panasonic Energy for an Econation’ umbrella.

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‘Dr M has vested interest in Lynas’

Posted on September 23, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-Free Malaysia Today-

NGO alleges former premier supporting Lynas to shore up his son Mokhzani’s sizeble stake in the rare earth project.

PETALING JAYA: Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has an ulterior motive for supporting the Lynas rare earth project, claimed an NGO.

“Mahathir’s eldest son Mokhzani Mahathir, the CEO of Kencana Petroleum has a large stake in the Lynas rare earth refinery project, said the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL).

Its spokesperson, Steven Hang, said: “Kencana Torsco Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of Kencana Petroleum that won lucrative contracts from Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

“Kencana Torsco is involved the design, fabrication, lining, supply, installation, and commissioning of carbon steel and stainless steel tanks worth RM9.1 million for the project.”

Hang made this claims based on facts obtained from Bloomberg Businessweek, a US-based business website portal.

On Wednesday, Mahathir wrote in his blog that groups opposing the rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan had political interest in opposing the project.

“The Lynas contracts are a windfall for Mokhzani since his return to the corporate world in 2007. Back in the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, he was written off,” said Hang.

Hang also speculated that these lucrative contracts signaled a return of Mokhzani into the corporate world, and the timing of Mahathir’s article was intended to boost Lynas shares.

“Perhaps daddy decided it was time lend his weight to the deal to make sure Lynas is healthy enough so as boost shareholders’ confidence in their investments,” said Hang.

“It is no co-incidence that Mahathir decided to blog on Lynas to give it a leg up when its shares are tumbling by the day.”

Bank pulls out

Lynas share value plummeted by 13.67% yesterday, the steepest in two years according to FIN News Network, an Australian news agency.

Hang also revealed that HSBC bank Australian had sold off its shares in Lynas worth millions due to the negative publicity over the plant and to safeguard its (HSBC’s) reputation.

“It is hardly surprising, given the publicity generated in Malaysia and in Australia over the plant,” Hang said.

The group also brushed off Mahathir’s allegations that opponents to Lynas’s plant had a political agenda.

“The only agenda the people have is for a clean and safe environment to live in,” charged Hang.

He added that like-minded people should team up and exercise their democratic to reject hazardous projects against politicians with vested interest in Lynas

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Sanitary landfills suit our needs

Posted on September 22, 2011. Filed under: Energy |

-The Sun-

WE REFER to “Burning trash for energy” (News without borders, Sept 15), and wish to clarify several issues.

The article is essentially on technology to manage municipal solid waste, focussing on incinerators. In examining the plausibility of using incinerators in Malaysia, the writer mentioned that the adoption of technology to treat solid waste is especially pertinent in Selangor where the availability of land is a pressing matter.

Compared to many places such as Tokyo, Vienna and other cities which are often cited as examples on the safe and successful use of incinerators, Selangor has plenty of land. Hence, the availability of land in Selangor (and Malaysia in general) does not warrant the use of incinerators, when more cost effective alternatives are available.

What is required is proper planning and infrastructure to optimise land use, such as developing regional sanitary landfills with supporting transfer stations to cater for larger catchments of waste.

Where technology is concerned, there is a common misconception that landfills are bereft of technology, and all landfills are the same. Nothing can be further from the truth. We must draw a distinction between a full-fledged, engineered sanitary landfill and regular dumpsite.

An engineered sanitary landfill allows final disposal of solid waste in a secure manner through development of modern facilities and environment protection systems. Hence, a regular dumpsite cannot be compared to an engineered sanitary landfill equipped with modern facilities.

Properly executed, sanitary landfills can present the most suitable, sustainable and socially acceptable method of waste disposal for the long-term. An engineered sanitary landfill is an efficient and cost-effective method of waste disposal, and is capable of having minimal impact on the environment.

The efficacious use of sanitary landfills as a method of choice for waste disposal is well known. It is used as a primary method of domestic waste disposal in Hongkong, Australia, New Zealand, the US, and even environmentally conscious European countries such as the United Kingdom and Italy.

With growing awareness and concern over environmental well-being, the advent of the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 is a testimony of the government’s commitment towards developing proper means of regulating solid waste management, including building engineered facilities to replace improper methods of handling solid waste.

The Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill is one such project developed by the federal government to handle waste from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. It is designed to handle in excess of 3,000 tonnes of waste a day, with a total capacity of about 120 million tonnes, providing a solid waste management solution for Kuala Lumpur and Selangor for more than 50 years.

As for incinerators, we must not be hasty to implement them without first establishing the basic infrastructure, and studying the impact that may arise from their introduction, in terms of safety and cost. It is imperative that adequate laws are in place to govern and protect against possible emission of harmful substances from the incinerator, as well as subsequent disposal of waste materials generated from the incineration process.

As incinerators are costly to build and to maintain, the authorities should also ensure taxpayers are not overly burdened.With regards to the incentives offered by the government for companies to adopt waste-to-power generation technology, namely the feed-in-tariffs, to offset the high cost of adopting technology such as incinerators, we must bear in mind that such incentives are not perpetual, and the feed-in-tariff under the new Renewable Energy Act is for about 20 years only, while solid waste management is a long-term issue. Even then, the public is paying for the cost indirectly via higher energy tariffs.

If incinerators are used, most municipal councils will find it impossible to pay the tipping fee as it’s too expensive for them without having to raise local taxes.The tipping fee would have been in excess of RM200 for a tonne of waste, a figure well beyond most municipal councils. In contrast, at a sanitary landfill, it only costs around RM50 to treat a tonne of household waste.

The government scrapped the proposed incineration project at Broga about five years ago due to its exorbitant cost and negative public perception. It would have cost the government RM1.5 billion to build the Broga incinerator, capable of handling only 1,200 tonnes of waste a day, and with a lifespan of about 15 years.

In comparison, with its ability to treat in excess of 3,000 tonnes of waste a day, Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill is more than capable of solving the burgeoning waste situation in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, with enough capacity to last well beyond 50 years.

Bukit Tagar, the largest sanitary landfill in Southeast Asia, incorporates state-of-the-art facilities such as the fully automated leachate treatment plant that treats 1,000 cu m of leachate a day, and “green” completed cells that allow high-level methane capture for power generation.

Equally important is that it was developed at less than 15% of the cost of the proposed Broga incinerator, while offering a much larger volume capacity, as well as being a safer, cheaper and socially acceptable solution for a much longer duration.

Another problem associated with incinerators is the risk of dioxin production. It is not confined to any one area as air currents can distribute the toxins around. Studies confirm that it is virtually impossible to eliminate dioxin, which affects the immune and neurological systems in our body.

Apart from dioxin, both air emissions and incinerator ash include heavy metals and chemicals, such as cadmium, mercury, sulphuric acid and hydrogen chloride, which require expensive technology to treat.

All these put a damper on the use of incinerators in emerging economies such as Malaysia.

On the other hand, methane gas emitted from sanitary landfills can be easily treated and converted into green energy as is being done at the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill via its comprehensive landfill gas management system which supplies green energy to the national grid.

Recognising the cost-effectiveness and efficacies of sanitary landfills, the government has embarked on plans to develop more sanitary landfills, including 11 new sanitary landfills under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

This is an endorsement that sanitary landfills are the most suitable method of solid waste disposal for the country in terms of cost-effectiveness, reliability, safety and social acceptance.

Green Technology
Kuala Lumpur

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Malaysia State Launches Eco Conference to Champion Country’s Green Issues

Posted on September 22, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

Sep. 22 /PR Newswire Asia/ — The Terengganu State Government in Malaysia is embracing the country’s drive towards a sustainable environment by launching the inaugural 2011 Eco Terengganu Conference to debate the issues and development plans for a more sustainable nation, in particular Terengganu. The event will be staged alongside one of the country’s biggest sporting occasions, the Monsoon Cup, which itself has strong ecological and commercial links to the State.

The four key pillars of the Malaysian government’s Green Technology policy – energy, environmental, social and economic sustainability – is the inspiration behind Eco Terengganu’s three conference themes — Business, Environment and Social. The sustainability conference aims to increase the awareness of environmental issues and educate the public and relevant state and private agencies on the gaps, opportunities and challenges in developing a sustainable state. The conference will also highlight renewable energy and green technology options that need to be urgently pursued to achieve sustainable development.

Spearheaded by EcoKnights and T-Best Events with the support of the Terengganu State Government and 1Malaysia PROGRES (Program Green Solutions), the conference will be staged on the 23rd and 24th November 2011 at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa in Terengganu, Malaysia.

The main focus of this year’s conference is to alert all relevant stakeholders on the situation of the current environment and the various initiatives and technology available that can be optimised for local businesses and enterprises to grow towards balancing the economy, the environment and the people.

YB Dato’ Toh Chin Yaw, Terengganu Chairman of Industry, Trade and Environment Committee said, ‘Terengganu provides the perfect backdrop for an amazing programme that will examine the best green practices that support local businesses to operate in a sustainable environment. Eco Terengganu 2011 is important because it will showcase green innovations, community programmes and research that can benefit the lives and livelihoods of people nationwide and in particular Terengganu.’

Each theme will be presented by notable speakers. The Business Case will demonstrate green business tools, opportunities and technology that will enhance the economic future of Terengganu without further stress on its natural resources. The Environment Case will inculcate awareness of environmental degradation, deficient sanitation services and poor urban conditions to encourage the proper planning and management of its natural resources for the future of sustainable development.

‘Corporations with green technology, solutions or initiatives can get involved in Eco Terengganu in various ways. This is a great opportunity for them to exhibit and promote their products, services or expertise,’ added YB Dato’ Toh. Support for Eco Terengganu can be made via monetary or product contributions.

Dato’ Seri Dr. Izmee Che Ismail, Group President of Avenion Group of Companies and head of 1Malaysia PROGRES said that ‘In line with the Malaysian government’s commitment to ensuring sustainable development and conserving the environment for future generations, steps must be taken now to ensure the safeguarding of the environment of Terengganu. This conference is unique and a good first step for states to adopt and practice sustainable living. I am happy to be involved with Eco Terengganu 2011 and congratulate Terengganu for their efforts in creating awareness and promoting a green agenda.’

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