Sustainability Momentum Sdn Bhd

The Drinkable Books: Educating People and Filtering Water Simultaneously

Photo Credit: Mother Nature Network

Water-focused charity, Water Is Life and DDB have introduced a unique book, The Drinkable Book, which is designed to educate people and purify contaminated water at the same time. The book not only provides water safety facts but is also made from a technologically advanced filter paper that can kill harmful waterborne diseases. Each page is coated with silver nanoparticles, whose ions can effectively kill diseases-causing bacteria such as cholera, typhoid and E.coli. In addition, the paper is very cheap to produce and can filter water for up to 4 years. This invention could be an effective tool for third world countries dealing with drinking water contamination. 


Date & Source: May 10, 2014, Mother Nature Network

New ‘Nickel-Eating’ Plant Species Discovered in Philippines

Photo Credit: Dr. Edwino S. Fernando; CC-BY 4.0

A new plant species, recently discovered by scientists from the University of the Philippines, is able to accumulate nickel up to 18,000 ppm in its leaves - an amount which is a hundred to a thousand times higher than in most other plants. The newly-discovered species is named as Rinorea niccolifera, and was found in the western part of Luzon Island in Philippines, an area known for soils rich in heavy metals. Nickel hyperaccumulation is a rare phenomenon in plant species. Hyperaccumulator plants, in fact, have large potential in developing green technologies such as “phytoremediation” and “phytomining”, where they can be used to remove heavy metals in contaminated soils as well as reclaim precious metals from metal-rich soils.


Date & Source: May 9, 2014; Science Daily

Protein from Coral Could Prevent HIV Infection

Photo Credit: Derek Keats

Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science have recently announced that protein extracted from a species of feathery coral found in northern Australia, can effectively block HIV virus from attacking host cells. The protein, called cnidarin, binds to the HIV virus and prevents it from entering T-cells, thus helping to prevent the progression of HIV to its disease-form, AIDS. According to the lead researcher, Barry O’Keefe, the protein must first undergo rigorous testing to examine its side effects before it can be applied in clinical use and made available commercially. Currently, Australia plans to extend a protected area to where the cnidarin-producing coral exists, which would make it the largest highly protected marine area in the world. 


Date & Source: May 9, 2014, Mongabay

Insecticides to Blame for Mass Die-Off of Honeybees

Photo Credit: Rex Features

Scientists from Harvard University have suggested that two commonly used insecticides are probably the real culprits for the occurrence of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in honeybees, which results in mass die-off of the species. Researchers treated selected honeybee colonies in central Massachusetts with the neonicotinoids insecticides, imidacloprid and clothianidin and compared them with control groups. Results show that half of the neonicotinoid-treated colonies left their hives and died with symptoms similar to CCD, while only one control colony was lost due to parasite infection. They also proved that more honeybee colonies suffered CCD in harsh winters. The findings will help urge more governments to join the European Union in efforts to ban the use of neonicotinoids.


Date & Source: May 9, 2014, The Guardian

Deforestation Rates in the Heart of Borneo Worrying, says WWF

Photo Credit: WWF-Malaysia/R.J.Alfred

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released findings on an ecological health analysis of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) in an Environmental Status Report of the Heart of Borneo 2014. The report expresses concerns over deforestation rates within the HoB. Although governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam have agreed to conserve the HoB, deforestation rates were reported to have increased between years 2007 – 2012, which caused 2 million hectares of forest loss. The main factors of forest loss in HoB were forest conversion, fire suppression and illegal land clearance. However, the report also suggests that there are still opportunities for governments and non-governmental organizations to reverse this situation.


Date & Source: May 8, 2014; WWF-Malaysia

Flying 3D Printer Could Help Contain and Remove Hazardous Wastes

Photo Credit: Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory

Scientists from the Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory have recently revealed prototypes of the world’s first flying 3D printer that consist of two small pre-programmed drones. The designs of the prototypes were inspired by swiftlets that are able to build their nests from saliva whilst flying. Similar to the swiftlets, working in pairs, one of the prototype drones would deposit polyurethane foam on a fixed location using its on-board 3D printer while the other attaches itself to the target and carries it away as the foam sets hard. Although currently limited to small applications, the drones are programmed using GPS coordinates and are expected to show potential applications in containment or removal of hazardous wastes or objects that are hard to reach by human. They can also be used in rainforest canopy surveys.


Date & Source: May 8, 2014; Inhabitat

Billboard which Purifies Polluted Air Using Water?

Photo Credit: University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC)

Ever wondered what a billboard can be used for other than advertising? What about purifying the surrounding air? A team from University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) has introduced an innovative billboard that is able to purify nearly 100,000 cubic meters of air per day using water to filter out bacteria and particles that is present in the air. To investigate the viability of the billboard, the team placed it in Lima, Peru, a city facing serious air pollution problems. The data collected in one week of March proves that the billboard was able to purify approximately 500,000 cubic meters of air and hence, demonstrates that a billboard has the potential to be used to mitigate environmental pollution.


Date & Source: May 5, 2014; Inhabitat

Environmental Hormones Skew Fish Gender towards Males!

Photo Credit: Fraunhofer IME

A new study conducted by researchers from Fraunhofer Institute has concluded that environmental hormones found in many consumer products can have negative effects on fish species when discharged into water bodies. They have established a model using life cycle studies of zebra fish and recorded all aspects of the fish’s life, which include growth rate, embryonic development and reproductive ability within a period of time. The results show that administration of environmental hormones can lead to reproductive failure of fish and some may even cause masculinization, with 100% of the fish tested developing into males. Their findings may not only help regulatory authorities set stricter approval requirements for the manufacturing industry, but could also help in the development of guidelines for fish testing. 


Date & Source: May 5, 2014, ScienceDaily

Cree Introduces LED-based Lamp 30% More Efficient than T8 Lamp

Photo Credit: Youtube/Screen capture

Cree’s newly introduced LED-based T8 lamp now allows you to change your traditional T8 lamp to a LED-based lamp without replacing the ballast. The Cree T8 LED is a LED-based lamp that looks like fluorescent lamp which is compatible with more than 90% of conventional electronic T8 ballasts. Cree claims that this lamp is designed to emit 100 lumens-per-watt, lasts for 50,000 hours and has a Colour Rendering Index (CRI) of 90. In addition, it has high energy saving and pollution reduction potentials as it offers 30% energy cost savings when compared to 32 W fluorescent T8s.


Date & Source: May 5, 2014; Treehugger

Record-Breaking Mangrove Tree Planting Event in Langkawi

Photo Credit: The Start Online

The Institute of Foresters Malaysia (IRIM) and Ship for South-East Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP) has successfully broken the previous record of the largest mangrove tree planting event in the Malaysia Book of Records with their latest event in Langkawi. The record-breaking event involved around 1,800 people from Malaysia and 10 other Asean countries, all coming together to plant 20,200 mangrove seedlings within two hours in Dayang Bunting Forest Reserve, Langkawi. Two mangrove species - Rhizophora Apiculata (bakau minyak) and Rhizophora Mucnorata (bakau kurap) - were planted at the site. The plantings will help create a natural barrier and nursery for the local coastal ecosystem.


Date & Source: May 5, 2014; The Star Online