Thursday, August 14, 2008

websites on global warming

http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/fcons.asp

This site shows how the rise in average temperature will have far-reaching effects on the Earth's climate patterns and on all living things.


Http://climateneutralnetwork.org/

Climate Neutral Network-A coalition that works to develop a competitive marketplace for products and services that have little or no effect on the Earth's climate.


Http://www.climatenetwork.org/eco/

Eco-The Climate Action Network Online-Newsletter published at the UN Climate Talks by a worldwide network of non-governmental organisations working on strategies to combat climate change.


Http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/goes.html

GOES Satellite imaging Technology-This site offers advanced satellite imagery of the Earth's surface, wind, and water patterns.


Http://www.greenplaybook.org/

Green Playbook-This online tool offers tips, tools and strategies to help local governments take immediate action on climate change by rapidly advancig green buildings, neighborhoods and infrastructure.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Wishing the grey skies away

WebSights
Wishing the grey skies away

THE Olympic Games finally kicked off with a blast in Beijing after days of being shrouded in a muggy haze.

It was a relief for the world's athletes who congregated in China for the biggest event of the year when the Beijing skies cleared up - there were moments last week when the quality of the ah- seemed too hazardous for the Games to go on.

It is definitely a relief for the organisers, as the air quality in the Chinese capital has been their most pressing problem for a while now.

The Chinese government reportedly spent US$17bil trying to clean it and since July 20,
it had banned half of the city's three million cars from the streets, closed factories, and halted most construction, hoping it would reduce the levels of pollution.

Despite all its efforts, clear skies remain an elusive target. In the end, it will come down to the wild card of weather: rain and wind, To stay abreast with China's fickle air quality throughout the Games, especially if you are going to Beijng or waiting lot your favourite outdoor event to begin, check out AIRNow at http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=where.world

The website offers daily air quality index (AQI) for different countries ill the world, so once you've checked on China, you can check the air quality in other parts of the world, including Malaysia.

The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you, The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.

While all the world's environmentalists are coming down hard on China for its AQI, it is good for us to try and understand the circumstances that are causing the air pollution. To learn more, go to http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2008/02/chinas_air_poll.html

This website provides not only the various sides of the story but also a wider context of the issue.

Malaysia may be thousands of miles away from China, but we have our own persistent haze problem. Only last Sunday, we woke up to hazy skies triggered by forest fires in Indonesia's Sumatra island. Forest fires from Indonesia caused by traditional farming
methods created a choking haze, which shrouds the region annually.

In Malaysia, air quality is described as the Air Pollutant Index (API), The API is an
indicator of air quality and was developed based on scientific assessment of the presence of pollutants and its impact on health. The API system of Malaysia closely follows tile Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA).

To learn how the API scale and terms are used in describing the air quality levels, go to the official website of Malaysia's Environment Department at http://www.doe.gov.my/v2/en/content/air-pollutant -index-api-reading-0

Daily readings of the API index can be obtained at http://www.doe.gov.my/apims/

It will tell you if the API exceeds 500, which is a state of emergency,

Usually, this means that non-essential government services are suspended in the affected areas. Sometimes all the ports, offices, shops and restaurants will be closed too.

For the latest news on global incidences of air pollution and its effects, the best site
to visit is http://www.airpollutionnews.com/

If you are wondering what the effects of air pollution are, try
http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/asthma/triggers/085.html#ArticleParsysMiddleColumn0002

According to this medical depository, different people can react very differently to air pollution; some people may notice chest tightness or cough, while others may not notice any effects.

Even a healthy, high-performance athlete in much better physical condition than the rest of us will be physically affected from days or weeks of working out in an environment with a high API.

Another useful website for pointers on staying healthy in a hazy environment is
http://healthandenergy.com/air_pollution_health_effects.htm

Although stakeholders - scientists, environmentafists, economists, politicians -are still debating about how to control air pollution, many agree that one of the main causes is the rapid population growth and development in countries like India and China.

Rapid development will also lead to a higher release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These gases contribute to other environmental problems such as global warming and climate change. Read about it at http://www.ucsusa.org/giobal_warming/

If you don't want to be bogged down by facts, check out the map of the warming world and other changes in the climate system at http://www.climatehotmap.org/

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sightings of hornbills in the forest are no longer as common as before.

Rare Sight

In what minght deceivingly seem like an encouraging indicator to the casual bird watcher, hornbills nave oeen spotted flying in clusters over certain areas in Malaysia.

But don't be fooled. Those familiar with the bebavioural tendencies of this enigmatic bird know that the unusual sightings may be a sign of disturbances in the forest ecosystem.

"Hornbills typically fly for miles and miles foraging for food, but now that large tracts of forests have been removed, you see more clusters of them concentrated in specific areas," explains avid birdwatcher Mohd Raft Abdul Kudus.

"This is not agood sign, It suggests that hornbills have been robbed of their food source and large trees that they need for nesting."

Rafi spends his weekends exploring various well-known birding spots in Malaysia, which include Lake Kenyir, Pulau Pangkor, Langkawi, Genting Highlands, Taman Negara and the peat swamps of Lanjut in Pahang.

"I've noticed the number of hornbills dwindling in all these places. It's not easy to see them anymore," he laments.

Malaysia is home,to 10 of 54 known species of hornbills worldwide, eight or nine of
which are found in most parts of the country. Only the plain-pouched hornbill is exclusively seen in Perak's Belnm-Temenggor forest, where all 10 species can be found and five are known to nest.

According to the IUCN-World Conservation Union Red List, the world's main authority on globally threatened biodiversity, six of the 10 species found in Malaysia are classified as "near-threatened", while the more elusive plain-pouched is currently considered to be "vulnerable".

"An experienced boatman told me that you could count up to 15,000 plain-pouched hornbills flying in Belum-Temengor five years ago during the peak season for mass migration, Now the numbers have been reduced to 2,000 or 3,000," says Raft.

Fewer birds
If current trends are anything to go by, the globally threatened birds face a challenging predicament due to Malaysia's rapidly evolving landscape.

Similar thoughts are echoed by Allen Jeyarajasingam, co-author of the essential Field Guide to the Birds of West Malaysia and Singapore.

"We definitely have lower numbers now, especially in Selangor. You could see more hornbills in the 70s, but that was a different time," be says regretfully.

Volunteers with the Malaysian Nature Society's (MNS) Hornbill centred. That lorest is reputed to be one of few remaining frontiers that can support sizable populations of large birds such as the hornbill.

"From my many trips to Temenggor, 1 have seen significant changes to the landscape.
The non-sustainable logging of old-growth forests and increased construction of access roads has opened up more land," says Lira.

"Orang asli villagers are also clearing the forests to plant rubber," he said, reiterating that the sheer size of a hornbill demands large trees with existing hollows or crevices to
nest in.

Lira reveals that the highest count recorded by MNS in Belum-Temenggor was 2,400 plain-pouched hornbills in 1993, but now they count roughly 1,500.

"It looks like there has been a reduction in numbers but we have to continue surveying the area for a few more years before we can conclusively state that there is a decline," he explains. More studies

MNS conservation officer Ravinder highlights the need to better understand hornbills.
"We are currently collecting information about the nesting spots in BeIum-Temenggor
through the ongoing survey, which was initiated in 2004 she says.

She admits that research efforts so far have barely scratched the surface of all there is to know about the birds.

"Our main obstacle is funding but we will soon employ radiotagging methods for a more comprehensive study on the numbers and distribution of hornbills."

Lim says once they have the necessary data, they could inform the state Forestry Department so they logging is prevented in the outlined areas.

"It would also be wise to replant fruit trees and not just timber trees as the hornbills
have lost an important food source due t6 the clearing of forests."

Both could not stress more on the importance of extending gazettement of the Royal Belum State Park to include Temenggor forest reserve.

"We recently sent a delegation to speak with the Chief Minister of Perak about this and response so far has been very encouraging," says Ravinder, offering hope for our feathered friends up north.

But who's taking care of hornbill habitats located outside of Belum-Temenggor?
Raft, who has been actively birding for four years now, spoke peat swamps anG suP-coastal swamps in south-east and midwest Malaysia, where the population of wrinkled hornbills is now concentrated," he said.

Raft cites the work of Dr David Wells, an acclaimed ornithologist from Universiti Malaya who has written several articles on horn- bills. "He reckons that the status of the wrinkled hornbill should be moved up from 'near-threatened' to 'vulnerable'."

MNS senior conservation officer Yeap Chin Aik expresses his own words of caution: "Already one can only find hornbills in well-forested areas. If our forest cover continues to decline, the current 'near-threatened' species will become 'vulnerable', a very unenviable promotion."

Indonesian homemakers turn trash into fashion frills.

Flash from trash

USED detergent labels and toothpaste tubes from Indonesia are going from landfills to fashion frills on bags and wallets sold in Singapore, Australia and the United States.

The fad known as "trashion" has gained mainstream acceptance with chic, urban designers worldwide now posting big profits by using leftover, discarded and found materials to create jewellery, clothing and housewares.

But in Indonesia, where half the population of 235 million live on less than US$2 (RM6) a day, homemakers, disabled workers and local entrepreneurs are the ones embracing the eco-ftiendly fashion. The goal, they say, is to reduce pollution while providing jobs to the poorest of the poor,

Aswin Aditya, founder of the Jakarta-based company Plastic Works, buys plastic packaging from trash scavengers for US$0.66 (RM2) a kilogramme. His nine employees cut, sew and craft it into wallets, umbrellas and shower curtains that sell for between US$25 and US$85 (RM7S and RM255).

One of the destinations is Monsoon Vermont, an lntemet-based eco-shop in the United States that receives around f,O00 products a month, be said.

Recycling facilities are virtually non-existent across most of Indonesia, where landfills
are spilling over and where uncollected rubbish is often burned or ends up clogging streets and waterways. For some, the trashion industry is seen as a tiny but viable solution to unmanaged, growing consumer waste.

"What we do is small, but every little bit helps," said Aditya, who trains homemakers to produce goods suitable for export.

Indonesian designers, meanwhile, are showing their support for eco-fashion on the
catwalk.

Computer-chip dresses and frocks made from plastic wrap wowed audiences in March,
when models strutted their stuff during Eco Chic, an Asia-wide fashion show launched in Jakarta to help transform trash into brute couture.

Ann Wizer, director of the Jakarta-based non-profit design venture XS Project, says her
goal is to raise awareness about waste production and environmental degradation. But as
the potential for profits increase, prominent designers and corporations also are adopting
earth-friendly measures.

She urged consumers to be aware of businesses that appear green but are actually business ventures.

"This isn't about making money, it's about positive change," the former designer said.

That means providing jobs to a country suffering from widespread unemployment.
Regardless of the model, the money from the sale of trashion products goes back to the
communities that craft them. Both Plastic Works and KS also support local projects in
health and sanitation.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Saving is rewarding - Tips to save water

1. Shorten your shower by a minutes or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month. Even better if you bathe using water caught in a pail. Consider bathing young children together.

2. Turn off the tap when lathering soap, brushing teeth, shampooing, shaving and washing face. Place a bucket to collect excess water when showering. This can be used for other purpose, such as for toilet use.

3. Bathe your pets outdoors in an area in need of water. Do the same when washing your car.

4. Use a toilet bowl with a half flush option and minimise the number of flushes in a day.

5. Do not use running water to wash vegetables, dishes, clothes and cars. Use water collected in a sink/pail instead. Do not flush water to wash the driveway and sidewalk. Use a broom instead.

6. Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.

7. When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load. When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments, they're more water and energy efficient.

8. Do not over-water the lawn and avoid watering during rainy season. Best to water the garden early in the morning of late evening to avoid evaporation from heat and wind. Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money. Collect rain water to be used for the garden.

9. Repair leaking taps and toilets and always ensure taps are tightly closed. Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks. Cjeck internal water piping regularly and report main distribution leakages to the relevant authorities.

10. Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults. Make suggestions to your employer about ways to save water and money at work. Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbours.

>> The right way to recycle rainwater

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Uses of Garbage Enzyme

Garbage enzyme has many uses for the environment, agriculture and even in homes.
In agriculture, garbage enzyme is used:
- to reduce the usage of chemical fertilizers
- to keep the farm free from insects and infections
- as a soil fertilizer for vegetable growing
- as a natural pesticide and herbicide
- to convert sandy land to fertile farm land
- keep the air cool and clean in the farm atmosphere
- clean the dirty and impure water in the farm
In homes, garbage enzyme is used:
- as a household cleaning liquid
- to remove foul odours, molds and grime in the kitchen and toilet
- as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent
- to drive away insects
- to clean carpets and remove ticks
- for laundry washing and ironing
- for mopping floors
- for cleaning cars

The enzymes not only chase away the insects but also reduces foul odours and infections.

Enzymes are added to the animal feed to aid in their food digestion.


Enzymes are also added to the drinking water in the farms.



The animal waste are used as organic fertilizers for growing crops in the fields.


Odours from the pigs and their waste are greatly reduced through the use of enzymes.



The animal waste are flushed into this pond and duckweeds grow and flourish due to the rich nutrients present.


A closer view of the duckweeds in the pond.



Kitchen or garbage waste when added with enzymes make good fertilizers for the soil.



Even sandy land can be converted into a piece of useful farm land!



After 4 months, the plants on this piece of sandy land have grown to a considerable height.

Animal waste is carefully packed away to be used as organic fertilizers.


Now we get abundant crops of organic fruits with the use of enzymes!

Use Enzyme to Reduce Global Warming

What is Garbage Enzyme?

Dr Rosukon's Garbage Enzyme is a complex organic substance of protein chains and mineral salts and juvenile hormones.


Functions of Garbage Enzyme
- resolve / decompose
- transform / change
- compose / make up / combine
- catalysis

As a result of catalysis, ozone is produced which can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this in turn reduces global warming.

This enzyme can be produced easily with the organic waste from our kitchens.

During enzyme production, O3 + NO3 + CO3 are generated and these could help purify and whiten the clouds in the sky. Those clouds that trap lots of heavy metals appear dark. Those dark clouds cause more heat to be trapped on earth due to the greenhouse effect. O3 (ozone) from the garbage enzymes could reduce the heavy metals in the clouds and this would reduce global warming.

More NO3 (nitrite) in the air is useful as nutrients for the plants and soil.

Nutrient for Plant & Enviromental Friendly to Earth

If every household makes and uses enzymes, it would help tremendously in the reduction of global warming.

How to Make Garbage Enzyme

Uses of Garbage Enzyme



Source: www.o3enzyme.com

How to Make Garbage Enzyme


Black sugar is one of the ingredients needed for making garbage enzyme.



This kitchen waste is another ingredient used for the production of garbage enzyme.


These bottles contain kitchen waste with black sugar and water. Fermentation will take place in the bottles for 3 months. Then after filtration and removal of the residue, garbage enzyme is obtained. The residue can be used again for a new batch of production by adding fresh garbage. The residue can also be dried, then blended and buried in the ground as a fertilizer.

These bottles of garbage enzyme are ready for use.


Use Garbage Enzyme to Save Our Earth




Ozone has been recognised as effective bleaching agent and a powerful disinfectant, killing bacteria and funguses more rapidly than chlorine. Ozone helps clean the air and give higher oxygen level in the environment


The solution: use Enzyme
Save the earth with the waste product from our kitchen

House Hold, Non-toxic & pollution free kitchen, Remove the foul odour, mold and grime

Garbage Enzyme

This morning, a friend told me of a garbage enzyme workshop workshop which contributes to a better earth friendly environment.

I was my first time hearing of such thing. With the changes in the climate and the many waste thrown into garbage, I was listening attentively to her, when I found out that we can contribute to the climate change through a simple DIY formula using kitchen waste (fruits' skin and unwanted vegetables).

This not only helps in protecting our ozone layer and lower global temperature, but actually provides a natural and environment friendly way to use the enzyme liquid as a household cleaner, air purifier, laundry and floor detergent, shampoo (yes, shampoo!!), body care, car care and or course as an organic fertiliser.

It removes odor, molds and grime, it's antibacterial and anti-viral.

It's all natural, and in fact, it doesn't even smell and actually acts as an insecticide as well!

The dilution ratio for usage is approximately 1:1000 to use enzyme as insecticide, 1:100 for pesticide, diluting it 200X to be used as air-refreshener and 500x as hormones for plants to get more fruits or flowers.

1 Tbp of enzymes for 1 litre of detergent water/dish washing liquid/shampoo (or 1tsp for 500cc) will help reduce the side effects in chemicals and enhance the nutrients.

The ratio of making this would be mixing 3 parts of the unwanted fruits and vegetables to 1 part of brown sugar (not sure whether this is gula melaka or that special brown sugar for making desserts) with 10 parts of water.

Keep these in an airtight container and leave it unopened for 3 months. After that, you can pour them into individual containers for your daily household usage and personal care.

I hope to be able to go and listen more to this enzyme talk in English on Saturday, 9th August, 1-4pm at Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil. I understand there's also a whole day awareness program on climate changes starting from 10am, right up to 8pm.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Imposing giants - Global reef checks show the species have disappeared from even the best reefs over most of its range.

Imposing giants

HUMPHEAD wrasses (also known as Napoleon or Maori wrasse) are among the most beautiful, yet bizarre-looking, fish in the sea. With their bulbous lips, prominent forehead humps and a body pattern consisting of swirls, spots and lines in shadesof electric blue, grey and green, humpheads rank high on recre ational divers' "must see" list - yet they are being eaten out of existence,
Global reef checks show the species have disappeared from even the best reefs over most of its range. In Peninsular Malaysia's east coast, in islands such as Redang, Tioman and Tenggol, divers report that humpheads have vanished from reefs. Thefe is little information on humphead trade in the peninsula.
Humpheads occur patchily through- out the lndo-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Though widely distributed, they are not abundant in the wild. Late sexual maturity (they breed only in the fifth year or later), slow growth, predictable spawning sites, hermaphroditism (sex reversal) and rarity make them highly vulnerable to over-exploitation.
Humpheads can grow up to 2.3m in length and 190kg in weight, and live up to 40 to 50 years. Once a female reaches a size of 20 to 22kg, it turns into a male and thrive to be the dominant male. In Pulau Layang-Layang, Dr Steve Oakley has observed the dominant male mating with over 100 females in one day.
Adult humpheads are usually found at reef slopes while juveniles, at the reef top. Their colours change with age - from silver-grey with yellow spots in juveniles to a deep olive green with black spots in adults. The males have prominent humps on their foreheads and are greener in colour.
Humpheads are omnivores and feed on molluscs, fish and crustaceans, among others. Oakley says as humphead numbers decline, the reef ecology will change. He says spiny sea urchins and crown-of-thorns starfish have invaded many reefs simply because humpheads, which prey on them, have declined in numbers.
Unlike some species of groupers, humpheads have not been commercially bred yet. Farming efforts have failed to go beyond the larval stage.
Apart from the humphead wrasse, various species of groupers are also netted in large numbers for the live reef fish trade, triggering yet another worry.
IUCN-World Conservation Union has listed eight species of groupers as "endangered" and intends to propose some for inclusion in the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species.

The Asian craving for a particular reef fish is emptying our seas - Eaten to the brink

Eaten to the brink

The Asian craving for a particular reef fish is emptying our seas.

HUNDREDS of fish cages bob up and down in the waters of Marudu Bay, off Kudat in 5abah. In these cages are sought-after marine delicacies such as groupers, lobsters and crabs, as well as a staggering number of humphead wrasses.
From the massive number of humpheads holed up in the floating pens, it is impossible to tell that this is a fish species classed as "endangered" by the IUCN-World Conservation Union and whose trade is governed by the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
In Kudat, like in the Sabahan coastal towns of Tawau, Sandakan and Lahad Datu, fishermen continue to haul in humpheads
(Cheilinus undulatus). Several times a week, these fish and the popular groupers, are bundied alive into air-filled plastic bags which are then packed into polystyrene boxes, transported to Kota Kinabalu, and sent on the evening flight to Hong Kong or Singapore. It is a time-perfected technique which gets seafood, alive and swimming, into restaurants.
Sabah exported 27,000 tails of humphead last year - an alarming figure since scientists believe wild humphead stocks in Sabah waters are almost exhausted and aggressive fishing can only doom the species."
Once a normal table fish, humpheads (or su me/) somehow acquired a luxury tag in the early 1990s. Those who want to flaunt their wealth and success would indulge in this pricey fish in restaurants in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Malaysia. What used to
sell for RM30 a kg in 1980 now goes for RM250 to RM300 a kg. Soon a scramble for the fish ensued.
Before long, fears of over-fishing pushed humpheads onto Appendix II of Cites in October 2004 - the first coral reef fish m be listed. Everyone thought all would be well since trade would now be controlled through import and export permits.
On the contrary, the Cites listing has done little for humpheads in Sabah as trade quotas remain high. Many are stumped by the export ration set by Sabah Fisheries Department last February - a monthly.200 tails for each of the 19 exporters. This works out to 45,600 tails annually, a figure deemed excessive by many, considering that it is five times Indonesia's annual quota of 8,900 tails.
"There is concern over how the export quota was set as the amount of humphead wrasse exported last year is even higher than
that before the Cites listing," says Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) senior researcher Tan Kim Hooi, who has written a
policy document on humphead wrasse fisheries.
Doubts also arose over the scientific ratiohale behind the quota. A Cites Appendix II listing requires a non-detrimental finding (NDF) study to determine that trade will not threaten survival of the species. This study is only now being done.
Sabah Fisheries, World Wide Fund for Nature and wildlife trade monitoring body, Traffic, are assessing wild humphead populations in Pulau Lankayan, Kudat and Sempoma. They are expected to recommend a new export quota when the present one
expires in June.

Dwindling stocks
There are already signs that Asians' taste for steamed su mei is depleting wild stocks.
"Sabah's export of the high-value fish last year, although high, was just over half of the allowable quota. This can mean two things -either humphead populations are not really that big or the species has been over-fished," says Tan.
Also, Sabahan fishermen and traders all tell the same tale about the fish they call mameng: the catch has dropped as have fish sizes, when compared to the 90s.
"Ten years ago; i can get several fish of lOkg to 15kg in a week. Now, not even one in a month," says Kudat fish trader Wong Sin Hin. Today, the harvest is mostly juvenile fish which have to be fattened up in pens over three months or more, to reach the preferred plate size of 500g to lkg (about 30-40cm in length) before shipment.
Marine scientist Dr Steve Oak!ey warns that netting young fish before they have had a chance to breed will curtail future stocks of the species. Insisting on size restrictions for humphead harvests, he says breeding adult fish should be left in the sea. Better yet, he adds, humphead fisheries should be closed until it can be proven sustainable.
Oaldey, whose group the Tropical Research And Conservation Centre (Tracc) has surveyed reefs in Sabah and Sarawak, believes hump-heads are locally extinct over most of the South China Sea. Viable breeding populations exist in two islands protected by dive tourism: Sipadan and Layang-Layang. Another healthy group exists off Brunei - but only because it is within the Champion oil held, a protected "no fishing" zone. Tracc surveys of Layang-Layang between 1996 and 2002 found a big humphead population of 300 females, 21 males and 100 sub-adults. However, the fish were not seen last year. The reason, Oakley fears, could be because a Chinese vessel was allowed to fish there.
For now, Sabah's humphead catch figures remain impressive only because stocks are coming from the Philippines, which does not trade in the fish. Traders and fishermen in Kudat attest to this and the fact that Filipino fishers use cyanide to stun the fish, a destructive fishing method that can kill them as well as harm other marine life and the fragile coral reef habitat.
Lax enforcement, together with difficulties in patrolling Sabah's 1,600km of coastline and extensive fishing area of 51,360 sq km, share the blame for the prevalent fish smuggling.
As humpheads from foreign waters are traded as Sabah's, Tan of Mima says a generous export quota will deplete humphead
stocks not only in Malaysian waters, but also in Indonesia and the Philippines. Already, high demand and lucrative prices have fuelled poaching.
In December 2006, a Chinese vessel was detained at Tnbbataha Marine Park in Palawan, the Philippines, with 800 live fish
onboard, including 300 humpheads. In the same year, the Bunaken Marine Park in northem Sulawesi saw three cases of poaching
involving 207,450 and 36 humpheads.
Indonesia had set an annual export of 8,000 tails in 2005 but revised it to 8,900 tails last year, and only allows harvest from specified areas, namely Papua, Maluku and Nusa Tenggara.

Over-dining
But high exports of humpbeads is not the only concern. Equally worrying is their being eaten in large numbers in local restaurants. Chinese and Hong Kong tourists to Sabah routinely feast on su mei as it is cheaper than back home.
Cites. however, only regulates internationalm trade of wildlife. At the airport in Kota Kinabalu. frozen humpbeads are going for RM75 a kg. The sales personnel look puzzled when asked about the need for Cites permits.
To curb local consumption. Oakley wants national and state rules tightened to bar humphead fishing and give it the protected status that it needs.
"Humpheads are even more endangered than orang utans because there are more orang utans in Sabah forests than humpheads
in its waters. But you can still eat the fish in a KK (Kota Kinabalu) restaurant. We are decimating this species for a poor reason ... merely to put a fish on the table."
He adds that humpheads, being a major draw of the dive industry in Seychelles and Maldives, are totally protected there,
"Malaysia needs to realise that tourists bring in more money than selling the last few humpheads would."
Apart from harvest restrains, marine sanctuaries can further raise hope for humpheads. "With these protected areas, you will guard the habitat not only for humpheads but for other marine species too," says WWF marine scientist Dr Annadel Salvio Cabanban.
She says the recent survey of Pulau Lankayan off Sandakan, a popular dive destination, uncovered 23 juvenile humpheads,
with the largest one measuring 25cm. "With long-term protection of Lankayan, we might get a breeding population there in 20 years' time." And because humpbead larvae travel with ocean currents, Cabanban says those produced in other protected areas might reach our waters. SQ she is hopeful for the, species if more such sites are found.
Protection efforts should also not ignore seagrass beds and mangroves as both are important habitats for humpheads, serving as nursery ground for many reef fish. It is also crucial to safeguard the humphead's breeding grounds. Humpheads display aggregate spawning behaviour by gathering at specific sites to breed. Fishermen can target such sites, so Mima researcher Siti Nazatul lzura Mohd lshak recommends that they be documented and managed, such as by having a closed season during spawning period.
To safeguard humphead trade, Sabah Fisheries has held several workshops to inform traders about the risks of over-fishing
and Cites requirements. Come July, a new and most likely lower - export quota is expected. But are there enough humpbeads
left in the wild to repopulate our reefs? In the end, the fate of this fish hangs on just one simple gesture from people - don't order su mei for dinner.

Industrial pollution in China


Chinese farmers collecting dead fish hauled from a pond polluted by nearby factory discharges in south-west China's Chongqing municipality last month.

China faces a daunting task reaching its own goals to curb profligate energy use and serious pollution due to stubborn resistance in the booming industrial sector.

The Philippines expressed alarm over the commercial hunting of the thresher shark



File photo of fishermen transporting a load of harvested shark fins aboard a small outrigger from the port of Jolo town in the southern Philippine island of Sulu.

Last month, the Philippines expressed alarm over the commercial hunting of the thresher shark, considered a vulnerable species worldwide. philippine wildlife officials said there had been a wholesale slaughter of the 3m-fish for Chinese restaurants.

Dry spring in the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir river in Cordoba





View of the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir river in Cordoba, southern Spain.The 331m bridge was built by the Romans in the first century AD and remodelled last year. Records show Spain is experiencing one of its driest springs.

Water woes in Kampala




Water woes

A woman filling jugs with water at a water distribution point in the Nuguru Go Down Slum in Kampala.

The United Nations declared 2008 the international Year of Sanitation, and it made use of international Water Day on March 21 to highlight the issue.

"In teh world today, there are 15 million deaths caused by infectious diseases," said David Heyman, World Health Organisation assistant director general for health security and environment. "if we had good sanitation today, and good water supplies,we could decrease that immediately by two million-those children who are dying unnecessarily from diarrhoea diseases."

Clogged canals in downtown Jakarta



Clogged canals


Scavengers collecting polythene and other recyclable items from a polluted canal in downtown Jakarta.

Jakarta's water supply has suffered from regular cuts in recent years as pollution enters its main source of water through canals where communities live alongside, as well as from rivers that cross it on their way to the Java Sea.

an estimated 220 of the Palos Verdes blues butterflies existed in the wild in California




Males are largely blue, Females appear grey
CAPTIVE-breeding has raised the numbers of a rare butterfly species. Trouble is, there are not many places to release them.

Last year, an estimated 220 of the Palos Verdes blues butterflies existed in the wild in California, so few that experts feared they could be wiped out by a single hillside brush fire.

Yet in 12 days earlier last month, 2,400 blues - three times more than forecast - emerged at a laboratory housed at Moorpark College, about a 45-minute drive to the north-west from Los Angeles. But with a life span of three to 38 days, hundreds of the butterflies may die in captivity.

Biologists can't simply release the butterflies in any nice-looking garden or park. This is a federally protected species, and there are regulations to follow. Also, landowners must be willing to accept the butterflies with all their
protections. Permits ean take months. Officials fear publicity could attract butterfly poachers.

A coastal bluff on the Palos Verdes Peninsula was approved for release recently but with the large number of blues, federal wildlife officials are scrambling to identify more sites on the peninsula for the butterflies.