Sustainability Momentum Sdn Bhd

California Imposes the First Statewide Ban of Plastic Bags in U.S.

Photo Credit: Flickr
California’s governor, Jerry Brown has successfully signed a bill (SB270) that makes it the first state in the U.S. to institute a statewide ban of single-use plastic bags. According to Brown, the new law will greatly reduce the torrent of plastic polluting the environment, and they expect other states to follow in their footsteps. Grocery stores and pharmacies will be required to comply with the law beginning in July 2015. The bill allows grocers to sell paper bags or reusable bags to customers. The law marks a major milestone for environmental activists who have successfully pushed plastic bag bans in cities across the U.S.
Date & Source: October 1, 2014, Treehugger

More Hospitals Incorporate Sustainability Purchasing into Planning

Photo Credit: Environmental Leader

A new survey done by Johnson & Johnson has concluded that more hospitals worldwide are incorporating sustainability into their purchasing decisions. Most of the health care professionals surveyed believe that incorporating sustainability initiatives can help protect hospital staff, improve health outcomes, make good financial sense and are an important factor for patients when selecting a hospital. According to US respondents, the most important sustainability considerations in purchasing health care products are energy efficient devices, latex free devices, multi-use products, devices free from heavy metals, recyclable packaging, reduced packaging size and products with recycled content in packaging.
Date & Source: October 1, 2014, Environmental Leader 

1,000 Trees Planted to Rehabilitate Forest Reserve of Cameron Highlands

Photo Credit: The Star

The Forestry Department recently launched a reforestation program to plant 1,000 trees at the Terla B Forest Reserve in Cameron Highlands. The program recruited the help of 260 schoolchildren and seven corporate bodies. Four tree species were planted, including damar minyak (agathis borneensisi), rhu bukit (gymnostoma sumathranum), podo (podocardpus sp) and meranti bukit (shorea platycalados) on 26 ha of land. According to Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, conversion of forest land to agriculture and infrastructure development and illegal land clearing are the major threats to the sensitive forest reserve. Since 2010, the department has successfully planted 53.13 million trees covering 65,000 ha of land with a target of 80 million trees by 2020.
Date & Source: October 1, 2014, The Star

Organic Battery Made From Seeds and Pine Resin

Photo Credit: Daniel Brandell

Researchers from Uppsala University have developed a new hybrid battery that utilizes organic biomaterials from alfalfa seeds and pine resin combined with lithium that has been recycled from spent Li-ion batteries. The organic-based battery is claimed to deliver as much as 99 percent of the energy output of current lithium-ion batteries and at the end of its lifespan, the components can be recycled using a low energy process and non-hazardous chemicals such as water and ethanol. The concept not only solves the environmental problems of disposing lithium batteries but also enhances the efficiency of lithium recycling and recovery.
Date & Source: September 29, 2014, ScienceDaily

Obama Announces Vast Expansion of Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM)

Photo Credit: Marine Conservation Institute
President Barack Obama has announced that the U.S. will create the largest marine reserve in the world by expanding the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) from 83,000 square miles designated in 2009 to 491,000 square miles. The newly expanded monument covers all the U.S. exclusive economic zones extending 200 miles from the coastlines of Wake, Johnston, and Jarvis Islands, as well as the existing protection areas around the Howland and Baker islands, Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll. Within the PRIMNM zone, all commercial fishing, resource extraction and waste dumping will be prohibited. It is a historic victory built upon compromises with various parties, particularly the tuna fishing industry and gives hope for the Mission Blue target of protecting 20% of the world’s oceans by 2020
Date & Resource: September 29, 2014, Mission Blue

Giant Sunflower Generator Could Help Solve Electricity Shortage and Desalination Problem

                                                                                    Photo Credit:
The Guardian
In Zurich, computer giant IBM has unveiled the prototype of a water-cooled solar panel, a 30ft-high concrete “sunflower” equipped with wafer-thin aluminum mirrors and a network of microscopic tubes. In collaboration with the Swiss company Airlight Energy, the “sunflower” is claimed to convert 80 percent of harvested solar radiation into electricity and hot water, generating 12 kilowatts of electricity and 20 kilowatts of heat on a sunny day, enough to power several homes. In the design, the mirrors function to direct and concentrate the sun’s rays onto the panels while microscopic tubes carrying water flow underneath to prevent the temperature of the panels from reaching more than 1,000°C. The heated water can then be used for desalination and purifying purpose to provide potable water for people who have no access to proper sanitation. The companies are planning to erect two demonstration devices for free in 2016 before its official launch on the market in 2017.  Applications can be made directly to IBM if any town is interested to be the demonstration site.
Date & Source: September 28, 2014, The Guardian 

“Starts from Tioman” Programme Invites Divers to Save Coral Reefs from Crown of Thorns

Photo Credit:
Nik Naizi Husin
Recently, the “Starts in Tioman” (SIT) diving program organized in Kampong Genting has gained the support of some 282 divers, both professionals and beginners in locating and removing the crown of thorns (COT) from local reef areas. With mean locomotion rates of 35 cm/min, adult COTs that feed on coral reefs could destroy large reef areas in a short period. Under the Government’s National Blue Ocean Strategies, the program invites dive enthusiasts from around the world to participate in conserving Tioman island’s reefs and undersea wonders. The program not only conserves the reefs but also sustains the local economy which depends on tourists who come for the marine life.
Date & Source: September 26, 2014, The Star

Revised Formula for Cement Could Help Cut Emissions of Greenhouse Gases

                                                                               Photo Credit: sframe/ Fotolia
New analysis done by MIT senior research scientists have revealed that reducing the ratio of calcium to silicate in manufacturing of cement, could help cut greenhouse gas emissions, as well as produce stronger and durable concrete. The manufacturing process of cement is a major source of greenhouse gas, representing 5 to 10 percent of industrial emissions. By switching the calcium-silicate ratio from the norm of 1.7 to that of 1.5, the end product can be twice as resistant than normal cement in terms of mechanical resistance to fracture and potentially reduce carbon emissions by 60%.
Date & Source: September 25, 2014, ScienceDaily

Five Palm Oil Giants Agreed to One-Year Deforestation Moratorium

                                                                               Photo Credit:
Five palm oil producers have agreed to a temporary halt in the clearance of potentially high carbon stock forests until the completion of a year-long study. These 5 companies - Asian Agri, IOI Corporation Berhad, Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) Berhad, Musim Mas Group and Sime Darby Plantation, were criticized for continuing with logging. The change was a result of intense campaigns ran by green groups and NGOs who are working with other palm oil companies to eliminate deforestation, expansion onto carbon rich peatlands and human rights violations from their global supply chains.

Date & Source: September 20, 2014,

Ancient Chinese Sturgeon at High Risk of Extinction

                                                                        Photo Credit:
Ria Novosti. Elena Visens
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences have revealed that the Chinese sturgeon is on the brink of extinction as no wild sturgeons have been found reproducing naturally in the Yangtze River last year.  Rare Chinese sturgeon has been ranked as “critically endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “red list” of threatened species. Their numbers have decreased rapidly and are estimated at around 100 in the wild compared to several thousand in the 1980s. Heavy pollution, increased boat traffic, dam building and entanglement in fishermen’s nets are the major causes of the dwindling sturgeon population in the Yangtze River.
Date & Source: September 15, 2014, Ria Novosti