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KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 -- Members of the community have been urged to actively contribute to restoring the environmental ecosystem in the country to ensure it remains stable and conducive to human life.
Universiti Putra Malaysia Faculty of Forestry and Environment senior lecturer Dr Mohd Yusoff Ishak said the COVID-19 pandemic situation has currently placed health issues as a priority for the government, but environmental issues are equally important to be resolved.
According to him, several measures could be taken by the community to help restore the ecosystem, including reducing the use of plastic materials, switching to more energy-friendly electrical appliances and planting trees around the house.
"We (society) need to take seriously the campaigns announced by the government. We need to contribute because the government is currently under pressure with various issues, so (focusing on) the environment may be second to health, so we need to act," he told Bernama in conjunction with World Environment Day 2021 today.
The annual global celebration has been held on June 5 since 1974.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail, who concurred with Mohd Yusoff, said the theme of the celebration this year, namely ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ was the focus as the world was facing a deteriorating ecosystem issue.
He said, for example, deforestation for agriculture and development had caused instability in the forest ecosystem, besides pollutions to river or lake ecosystems due to unsustainable development.
“Thus the issue of declining habitat is a global problem that affects climate change, biodiversity loss as well as global warming that will ultimately impact human health and the economy.
"So the theme of Ecosystem Restoration is suitable for World Environment Day. Ecosystem restoration involves land, beaches and oceans, covering corals and seagrass as well," he said.
Ahmad said the community should think scientifically about ecosystem rehabilitation by reducing pollution to the environment and providing safe havens for wildlife.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Environment and Water secretary-general Datuk Seri Ir Dr Zaini Ujang at today's webinar session said in the context of ecosystem restoration, the most important thing was that any action taken should not exceed the threshold of equilibrium or stability.
"If we have made a mistake, polluted the environment, and its usually like that. For example for the sake of development, we have to cross the Titiwangsa Range, otherwise there will be no road to go to Temerloh, Pahang or Kelantan, we have to cut across (the range).
"What we do is we minimise (the problem) and when the development has taken place, we quickly restore (the ecosystem)," said Zaini.
Meanwhile, Department of Environment (DOE) director-general Norlin Jaafar said during the total lockdown which began June 1, the department had been monitoring to ensure the environment was protected, as well as to prevent pollution from endangering the water supply and people's health.
She explained that in that context, the DOE continuously monitored the automatic air quality stations with all the information accessible to the public, in addition to 30 automatic river water quality stations and 10 automatic marine water quality stations.
"We are also monitoring the generation of clinical waste and found there has been an increase (recently), and this needs to be managed properly and systematically. The people can provide accurate and quality information so that we can track down those who are polluting," she added.
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