Sustainability Momentum Sdn Bhd

Fungi Used to Decontaminate Oily Soil

Photo Credit: EcoWatch

New research from Aalto University, Finland has demonstrated a new, low-cost bioremediation method which uses fungi to clean up soil polluted with polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and dioxins. Researchers grew white rot fungi (Trametes versicolor) on pine bark, an ideal medium for the fungi, for 4 to 6 weeks and then transferred it to a treatment plant. The white rot mycelia then grew in polluted soil and broke down the organic pollutants. Laboratory analysis shows that the fungi broke down up to 96% of PAH compounds and 64% of dioxins in 3 months. The findings may help divert polluted soil from being disposed of at landfill sites and make it reusable for other purposes after treatment.  


Date & Source: May 23, 2014, EcoWatch

Big Win for Amazon Conservation Thanks to Pioneering Long Term Funding

Photo Credit: Yahoo! News

What does a decade of perseverance get you? A ground-breaking $215 million fund to ensure long-term protection of 150 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. After over 10 years of working with the Brazilian government, WWF and partners have announced the creation of a permanent financing model known as the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund. The fund, which is financed by a number of partners, will initially help the Brazilian government manage protected areas for the next 25 years. Over these years, Brazil will increase its own contributions with the aim of creating a more permanent model. This is an enormous achievement which will help protect one of the world’s most invaluable assets. It serves as an exemplary effort – if this initiative can be done for the Amazon, it can certainly be replicated for other important planetary lifelines, such as our own Borneo Rainforests. Through similar mechanisms, the Malaysian and Indonesian government can bring together conservation trusts and foundations to create a similar long-term financing plan for Borneo. Where there’s a will, there’s surely a way.


Date and Source: 23 May 2014, Yahoo News

El Niño Event Similar to 1997 Seems Likely

Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Recent image data collected from satellites and ocean sensors suggest the development of El Niño conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. These conditions appear to mimic similar conditions as in May 1997, a year greatly affected by an El Niño event. During an El Niño event, abnormal temperatures cause winds to accumulate warm water in the eastern part of the equatorial Pacific, hence altering global rainfall and storm patterns. Meanwhile, sea surface temperatures rise as the ocean warms and increases sea surface heights to above-normal levels. The image above compares sea surface conditions on May 2, 1997 (left) with May 3, 2014, where the brown shaded areas indicate above-normal sea levels. If similar conditions continue to develop, a major El Niño would be expected in this area.


Date & Source: May 21, 2014; Mother Nature Network

New Free Bus Service in PJ Reduce Pollution and Costs

Photo Credit: The Star Online

In collaboration with RapidBus, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has launched the Petaling Jaya’s Free City Bus (FCB) programme that offers free bus services to commuters in Petaling Jaya (PJ) areas. Operating from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, the FCB service spreads over a 28.2 km route and is available at locations such as: Kampung Dato Harun KTM and Asia Jaya LRT stations, Sections 14, 16 and 17, as well as the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). According to PJ’s Mayor, the FCB service aims to reduce commuting costs (up to RM6,000 annually), reduce carbon footprint and pollution. It will also demonstrate the feasibility of using public transport whilst enhancing social interaction.

6 Years Increase in Average Global Life Expectancy, says WHO

Photo Credit: tenaciousme/Flickr/CC

According to the World Health Statistics 2014 which was published by the World Health Organization (WHO), there is a 6-year gain in the average global life expectancy. A boy who was born in 2012 can expect to live to around 68 years and a girl is expected to live even longer which is around 73 years. In comparison, this is 6 years longer than the average global life expectancy for children born in 1990. Globally, women live longer than men and the chances of people living longer are higher in high-income countries than in low-income countries. The main reasons behind this improvement of global life expectancy include: decrease number in child mortality that aged under-five, success in addressing non-communicable diseases, and lowered tobacco usage. Longer life expectancies however lead to higher population numbers, creating more demand on social and environmental resources.

NSP Solar Pump System Designed Especially for Remote Areas

Photo Credit: Inhabitat
Pumpmakers, an Austrian company, has created the NSP Solar Pump system - an inexpensive and maintenance-free water pump that can be built locally around the world. It is especially designed to bring clean drinking water to nearly 800 million people who still struggle for water. The system utilizes energy harvested from solar panels to extract groundwater from as deep as 300 feet, even on cloudy days, and is equipped with a hand crank to be used at night. While the solar pumps have been providing clean water to Ndzofuine, a remote village in Mozambique since 2012, Pumpmakers are now establishing a platform that offers free access to construction plans to empower people who want to build their own solar pump.

Hong Kong Government Plans World’s Largest Ivory Burn

Photo Credit: CNN
The Hong Kong government has recently announced the beginning of the world’s largest ivory destruction project, which sees the incineration of a 28-tonne stockpile of seized ivory with the aim to suppress illegal wildlife trade. To end the re-entry of the ivory into black markets, the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation department has decided to crush the ivory into small pieces and incinerate it at high temperature at a waste treatment centre. The ash residues collected after incineration will then be disposed of at landfill. The government expects to complete the project by the middle of next year. One metric ton of the ivory stockpile will be kept to be utilized for educational or scientific purposes.

iQPR, Green Technology to Improve Water Quality of Sungai Pinang

Photo Credit: K.E. Ooi/The Malay Mail Online

The Penang government has signed a three-year contact that cost RM5.8 million, with Infinite Acquisitions Sdn Bhd to clean up Sungai Pinang (3.6km) and its tributaries using infinitesimal Quantum Persistent Reflection (iQPR) technology. This quantum physics-based technology was invented by a Penangite and introduced in 2010 at the same river during a trial project. The trial project had successfully improved water quality from Class Four to Class Three and Two. The iQPR technology uses mineral water as its base to remediate polluted water and soil without addition of chemicals or microbes. According to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, this new project will focus on the elimination of odour from river and improvement of water quality.


EU Proposes Full Ban on Driftnet Fishing in European Waters

Photo Credit: Click Green
As a response to the New Common Fisheries Policy’s goal, the European Commission has proposed to outlaw the use of all kinds of driftnets for fishing in all European waters from the beginning of 2015. The proposal aims to minimise the negative impact of driftnet fishing on marine habitats, as well as to reduce the by-catches of protected marine mammals such as sea turtles and seabirds. Enforcement comes with stringent controls prohibiting fishermen from keeping driftnets on board of their fishing vessels. The current definition of a driftnet will also been refined. The ban not only closes up any possible loopholes that would allow irresponsible practices, but also delivers a strong positive message for marine conservation.

Borneo Rainforest is Greater Carbon Sink than Amazon Rainforest

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A newly published research has revealed that, the trees found in the tropical rainforest of Borneo are able to soak up more carbon compared to Amazonia’s tropical rainforest. By investigating the above-ground wood production, which is an indicator of carbon uptake, scientists have found that South-east Asian trees of a given diameter are taller than Amazonian trees, hence able to consume more atmospheric carbon due to their greater volume of wood. In fact, tropical rainforests soak up about half of all terrestrial carbon and scientists believe that the forests in Borneo play a significant role in slowing down global warming. However, timber production has caused Borneo to lose its virgin forest cover at an alarming rate.