All articles of environment in Sabah

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Sabah gets kudos for protecting forests

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has earned kudos from being the best state in preserving and protecting the forests. Academy Science Malaysia (ASM) Senior Fellow, Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Noor said the Sabah government has done the right thing to protect the state’s forests.

“The continuous protection of the forests in Sabah shows the strong commitment given by the government.

“With its rich biodiversity, Sabah is a unique state that has set examples to others on the aspect of forest conservation and protection,” he said at a lecture on ‘Forestry in Global Climate Change’ at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here yesterday.

Salleh said that the strong cooperation among the parties concerned has seen the protection and conservation of Maliau Basin, Imbak Canyon and Danum Valley.

According to him, the environmental and global changes would occur if population increase and climate change with the loss of biodiversity along the way.

“When natural disaster strikes, destruction will occur and mostly it is the doing of mankind, as the environment has been compromised,” he said adding that it was mankind who will suffer in the end.

On a larger scale of environment destruction, many people would be displaced.

Other factors that will affect the environment is the rise in the use of fossil fuel unless it is changed, he said. In the end, mankind has to strike a balance between protecting and conserving the environment, and yet can go about in their daily activities.

Salleh said that it would be a constant challenge between human development and environment protection. “We must look into development that is needed and important without jeopardising the environment that will have long-lasting effects on the future generation,” he added.

The lecture was organised by the Science and Natural Resources Faculty and Human Resource, Arts and Heritage Faculty.

Source: New Sabah Times

300 divers clean up sea bed around Sepanggar Navy base

KOTA KINABALU: About 5,000 sea urchins were picked up from the sea bed surrounding the Sepanggar Navy base here during a Mega Dive programme this morning.

Organised by the navy’s eastern fleet command, the programme is aimed at creating a healthy marine ecosystem and clean underwater environment.

The event saw 300 participants from Kampung Gentisan, Kota Kinabalu City Hall, University Malaysia Sabah, the Sabah Environment Protection Department, the Marine Department, and the navy working together to clean the area of debris and sea urchins.

Navy eastern logistics commander First Admiral Ow Kiat Bin said there had been too many sea urchins on the sea bed, and their presence could have destroyed the coral reef in the area.

“The collected sea urchins were handed over to fishermen from Kampung Gentisan for consumption. This will further strengthen the relationship between the navy and the local community,” he said.

Ow added that the involvement of villagers in the clean-up programme was in line with the navy’s efforts to enhance awareness among the fishing community of the importance of keeping their water village clean.

He said navy divers had also placed three artificial reefs in waters near the navy’s Yacht Excellent Centre to create a thriving marine habitat.

Source: New Straits Times

RM60 million needed to operate Malaysia’s largest marine park for first five years

KOTA KINABALU: A total of RM60 million is needed to operate the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP), Malaysia’s largest marine park, for its first five years (2017-2021).

WWF-Malaysia, announcing this during a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing with Sabah Parks today, will assist the latter in developing a financial plan which could cover income generation or fundraising strategies, as well as sustainable financing.

The 10-year agreement solidifies the existing cooperation between the non-governmental organisation (NGO) and the conservation-based government body in taking care of the 898,762-hectare TMP.

The TMP, gazetted last year, spans three districts (Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas).

WWF-Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma and Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais signed the MoU, witnessed by State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Dionysius said WWF-Malaysia is committed to co-funding the TMP management and operation office, the TMP regulations development, sustainable financing mechanism and conservation, led by the state government.

“TMP is a global symbol of how we can collectively commit to protecting the environment while local communities continue to live in a sustainable manner.

“People must understand that the gazetting measure is just the first step in a long journey.

“Right now, there are over 80,000 coastal and island folk living in the area. We don’t know how many there will be in the future but the goal is for them to have better life in a sustainable manner,” he said.

WWF-Malaysia Marine Programme’s People and Biodiversity manager Monique Sumampouw said that 85 per cent of locals surveyed indicated that the gazetting measure had a positive impact.

She said the MoU will focus on the protection and restoration of coral reefs, sea grass and mangroves as well as key species like sea turtles, dugong, sharks and commercially-valuable fish.

Meanwhile, Masidi said the gazetting of such parks require political will. Its impact, she said, may not be seen in the short term but will benefit the people in the future.

“I would like to give an example where a few days ago, a massive cleanup was conducted at the Kudat coastline, where many plastic bottles were collected. Surprisingly, some of the bottles came from other parts of the world, even as far as Saudi Arabia.

“So do not think that what we do in TMP only benefits only Kudat and Sabah; it affects people all over the world.

“We should not opt for shortcuts and short-term benefits but make decisions that allow people to prosper, generation after generation.

“I hope that leaders, wherever they are, will do more of what is right instead of what is popular. I hope what we did will encourage others to follow suit,” said the minister.

He also stressed on the importance of being realistic when it comes to gazetting more marine parks.

“I believe the shortest time frame for the next one (to be gazetted) is maybe ten years. I am saying this to keep expectations within limits. There is a lot of work to be done and there are various technicalities involved,” he said.

Masidi had earlier this month said that the government had identified Mantanani Island off Kota Belud and its surrounding areas as the next potential marine park.

Source : New Straits Times

Mantanani Island may become Sabah’s next marine park, says Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: Mantanani Island, a well-known site for recreational diving off Kota Belud, and its surrounding areas have been identified as Sabah’s next potential marine park.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the state government aims to turn 10 per cent of Sabah’s waters into protected marine areas.

He said the government has identified several potential areas to achieve that goal.

“The United Nations has invited us to gazette at least 10 per cent of our ocean and we have gazetted 7.6 per cent, with the current size of protected marine parks in Sabah at two million hectares.

“I’ve asked my assistant minister (Datuk Pang Yuk Ming) to form a committee to look into the possibility of increasing the size of these marine parks so that we can comply with the 10 per cent requirement.

“We have ample amounts of areas that we can eventually turn into parks and we have identified several. This reflects the good conservation policies that the state government has started and continued to implement.

“We are actually looking at Mantanani and we are seriously considering turning (Mantanani) into a protected marine park,” he told reporters after launching the Maritime Environmental Security Workshop 2017 here, today.

Masidi, however, said this would take some time as the plan depends on the government’s engagement with local residents, district office, and other relevant quarters.

He said the ministry is in the midst of preparing the necessary technical requirements before bringing the proposal to the state government’s attention.

“It’s not something we have to do in a hurry. We have to take into account the current status of Mantanani as an agriculture area but we believe the island is an excellent candidate to be considered as a marine park,” he said.

Last year, the state government gazetted Tun Mustapha Park off Kudat. Spanning approximately 898762.76 hectares, it is Malaysia’s largest marine park.

Sabah’s two other marine parks are Tun Sakaran Marine Park off Semporna and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park off Kota Kinabalu.

Speaking on the maritime environmental security workshop, Masidi described the conference as important to Sabah.

He also extended his gratitude to the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for organising and sponsoring the event.

The four-day workshop, which starts today, will see participants made up of ministers, officers, and military personnel from the US and Malaysia, as well as non-governmental organisations presenting talks and ideas related to the subject.

“This workshop reflects the strong partnership between Sabah and the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. I am pleased that the US embassy has acknowledged Sabah’s uniqueness in the field of marine protection.

“I believe participants will make use of this workshop to share views and find ways to protect our marine treasures while getting input on suitable methods to be used in Sabah to allow us to increase our ability to protect marine resources,” said Masidi.

Meanwhile, US Embassy’s environmental officer Todd Hannah said the US was committed to global environment conservation.

She also said the workshop speaks volume of the importance of Malaysia’s relationship with the US.

“That is why we have this sustain this relationship and we will continue to have such relationship with Malaysia on environmental issues.

“One of the most important outcomes of this workshop is to convene like-minded people in the same room to have conversations on the way forward.

“On resources, the US has to make a decision on where to put its money and the fact we are here doing this (workshop) now shows how important our relationship is with South East Asia, including Malaysia.”

Source : New Straits Times

Trash Hero group cleans up waterfront area

KOTA KINABALU: There was an unusual sight in Tanjung Lipat, the State capital’s popular waterfront area here yesterday.

Alongside couples taking romantic walks and families lounging under the afternoon sun were scores of people happily combing the sandy beaches for rubbish.

Many donned a yellow t-shirt proclaiming themselves as a ‘Trash Hero’.

It was a fitting name for individuals selflessly taking it upon themselves to keeping our beaches trash-free.

The leader Monica Chin said they started out with six to 10 people in their first initiative here in Sabah and now there were 125 volunteers.

Monica is the co-founder of Trash Hero Borneo, which is a local chapter of the international non-governmental organisation. During her travels in Thailand in 2014, she was amazed by the fact that everywhere she went, Trash Hero volunteers were tidying the places.

“I thought, why not start this in Sabah?” she said, embarking on various environmental talks and gathering supporters before finally launching the chapter’s first cleanup operation in March.

But not all the volunteers at Tanjung Lipat were locals. Swiss national Roman Peter stuck out like a sore thumb with his towering height and sandy brown hair.

Roman in fact is the co-founder of the original Trash Hero World that has taken the world by storm – with nothing more than plastic bags and a willing pair of hands.

“We could take pictures of the rubbish, show them to people and say ‘someone should clean this up! This is someone’s job!’

“But that is not true. This is everyone’s job,” said Roman, who was visiting Sabah for the first time to personally take part in the beach cleanup.

In just a little over three years, Trash Hero has evolved from a small project into 42 chapters worldwide.

“Trash Hero’s concept is that we do not blame anyone, or just simply talk about problems. We want to provide solutions and actions because ultimately, actions speak louder than words.

“Furthermore, we are not getting any money from this as it is fully supported and funded by the volunteers and local communities themselves,” said Roman, who believes this was the reason for the NGO’s success.

At the end of the day, rubbish weighing a total of 252 kilogrammes was collected from Tanjung Lipat – a proud achievement for the passionate group, which consisted of Trash Hero crew members, students, and other volunteers.

While Trash Hero has undeniably made an impact here, many more Malaysians will need to contribute in order to ensure that the environment stays clean.

For those interested in volunteering, check out Trash Hero Borneo’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TrashHeroBorneo/), where they post the latest updates on their next cleanup activity.

Source : New Straits Times