Monday, October 12, 2009

Of Earthquakes and Conservation

Our local news never fails to amuse me. I must clarify – Statements, by those who govern our home called Malaysia, never fail to amuse me. It is like a daily dose of humour.

On 5 Oct 2009, BERNAMA reported that our Deputy Prime Minister advised Malaysians to conserve the environment. After advocating the importance of conserving and preserving the biodiversity of our flora and fauna, the DPM went on to say, I quote, “…the recent earthquake in Padang, Indonesia is also a reminder of how important it is to preserve and conserve the environment…”

I am intrigued that the DPM should put preserving and conserving the environment BEFORE earthquakes. Have I missed something? Have seismologists made some important discovery that our pilferage and rape of Mother Earth could somehow trigger earthquakes? How will preserving and conserving our biodiversity prevent earthquakes from occurring?[1] To prove my point, I searched the net for “earthquakes and conservation of the environment”. It yielded articles which put rehabilitation of the environment AFTER earthquakes. The DPM would be better off quoting the Ketsana wreaking havoc in the Philippines and Vietnam as a reminder of how our disregard of the environment has led to storms and drought that are getting ever more severe.

The DPM also said that “…people nowadays are less (emphasis is mine) concerned about preserving the environment, not only in Malaysia but throughout the world.” I would have thought that generally people nowadays are more concerned and more aware about preserving the environment – you just have to look at activities carried out by Greenpeace, PETA, Earth Hour, No Plastic Bags Mondays, to get an idea. It is just that the businesses and activities that profit from pilfering the environment is also on the increase and there is a lack of political will to address this issue.


[1] But note that there is induced seismicity, explained in as “In seismology, induced seismicity refers to typically minor earthquakes and tremors that are caused by human activity that alters the stresses and strains on the Earth's crust. Most induced seismicity is of an extremely low magnitude, and in many cases, human activity is merely the trigger for an earthquake that would have occurred naturally in any case.

The full report is reproduced herein :

05/10/2009: PUTRAJAYA: Environmental conservation and preservation must be given priority not only in terms of policy and programmes but also in the efforts implemented, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today. The deputy prime minister said although Malaysia had an action plan for this, the levelling of hills and mountains and pollution of rivers and lakes still occurred because of the irresponsible attitude of some parties.
"Malaysia is said to be one of the 10 top nations rich in biodiversity, with such high value, and special attention should be given to ensure that the environment is constantly protected and preserved," he said at the monthly gathering of the Prime Minister's Department (JPM) here.

He said the JPM was the most important department involved directly and indirectly in ensuring that conservation and preservation of this biodiversity was carried out and in raising the awareness of the society and those responsible of the importance of protecting the country's treasure.

Putrajaya, he said, could serve as a model after attracting tourists by the droves with its beauty not only in terms of its infrastructure but also its environment, especially the clean and unpolluted lakes.

Muhyiddin said not only must beauty and environment be maintained, it must be upgraded, especially parking facilities, which cause traffic jams that should not occur in Putrajaya.
"Environment is a serious issue and world leaders are expected to discuss serious issues like climate change because people nowadays are less concerned about preserving the environment, not only in Malaysia but throughout the world," he said.

He added the civil servants can set an example by becoming role models for the future generation through the preservation of Fiona and flora.

"We must safeguard the serenity and cleanliness of the environment, reduce green house gas, reduce pollution, conserve energy, especially in government buildings, and that can help reduce the expenditure of the government," he said.

The issue of collection and disposal of rubbish and solid waste effectively has yet to be resolved and many are still not aware of the importance and value of keeping their places clean.
Muhyiddin said the recent earthquake in Padang, Indonesia is also a reminder of how important it is to preserve and conserve the environment and how fortunate Malaysians are for not living in fear of earthquakes because Malaysia is not situated in the 'Ring of Fire' (the Pacific Islands arcs where most of the world's volcanic action is involved). - BERNAMA

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