The 'seasonal haze' problem is one which afflicts large parts of Southeast Asia in years of drought. The major cause is forest, bush and field fires in the states of Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia, and to a lesser extent in Sabah, Sarawak, and other parts of Malaysia. Almost all of these fires now seem preventable, since they are intentionally set to clear land for cultivation. Theoretically, the government authorities at central, provincial and local levels in these countries should be responsible for controlling activities in their territory. In practice, however, air pollution control through regulatory policies and practices is extraordinarily difficult to implement and maintain in a situation of this kind in developing countries, especially at a time of crippling economic setbacks. Moreover, the establishment of legal liability, through an international tribunal or otherwise, hardly seems a politically feasible course of action for the government of an affluent 'victim state' such as Singapore. Faith in the usual solutions--science, regulation, law and diplomacy--is weakened by one's sense of current realities. The purpose of this paper is to review the issues and suggested responses, the cost implications of each, the responsibilities as well as entitlements that might apply to the various stakeholders, and the special role of Singapore as an affluent 'victim state'. We also discuss the incentive mechanisms that would be needed to manage forest fires.
Forest growth models are useful tools for investigating the long-term impacts of logging. In this paper, the results of the rain forest growth model FORMIND were assessed by a multicriteria decision analysis. The main processes covered by FORMIND include tree growth, mortality, regeneration and competition. Tree growth is calculated based on a carbon balance approach. Trees compete for light and space; dying large trees fall down and create gaps in the forest. Sixty-four different logging scenarios for an initially undisturbed forest stand at Deramakot (Malaysia) were simulated. The scenarios differ regarding the logging cycle, logging method, cutting limit and logging intensity. We characterise the impacts with four criteria describing the yield, canopy opening and changes in species composition. Multicriteria decision analysis was used for the first time to evaluate the scenarios and identify the efficient ones. Our results plainly show that reduced-impact logging scenarios are more 'efficient' than the others, since in these scenarios forest damage is minimised without significantly reducing yield. Nevertheless, there is a trade-off between yield and achieving a desired ecological state of logged forest; the ecological state of the logged forests can only be improved by reducing yields and enlarging the logging cycles. Our study also demonstrates that high cutting limits or low logging intensities cannot compensate for the high level of damage caused by conventional logging techniques.
Formulation of effective sustainability indicators for national assessment demands a comprehensive understanding of the utilisation, diffusion and dissemination of information in policy processes. To illustrate the dynamic of sustainability assessment within the context of policy processes, this paper uses a case study of national sustainability indicators development in Malaysia. Subsequently, this paper ascribes the limited achievement of national sustainability assessment in Malaysia to four types of constraints: meta-policy issues; technical capacities; communication concerns; and the inherent knowledge gaps within the indicator developer community vis-a-vis their theoretical limitations. It is proposed that such constraints will be encountered in many countries. Drawing from the literature on public policy, this paper outlines a framework for investigating indicator behaviour within policy processes based on well-established concepts such as knowledge utilisation and policy learning. I conclude this paper by elaborating on the corresponding future challenges that must be addressed before effective integration of sustainability indicators within policy systems can occur.
The policy prescription for solving environmental problems of developing countries and countries-in-transition (CIT) is slowly getting polarized into two viewpoints. One group of researchers and policy advocates including multilateral organizations upholds extensive use of market based instruments (MBIs) in these countries. The other group argues that institutions need to be built first or the policy makers should select the incremental or tiered approach taking into account the existing capabilities. The group also insists that the financial, institutional and political constraints make environmental regulation in these countries more problematic than in industrialized countries. In the short-run, the immediate needs of the developing countries can be addressed effectively by learning lessons from the difficulties encountered by a few successful cases and accordingly evolving an appropriate policy instrument. In this paper an attempt has been made to highlight three such cases from three different parts of the world--Malaysia (Asia-pacific), Poland (Eastern Europe) and Colombia (Latin America). The paper looks into what policy instruments led to a fall in water pollution levels in these countries and what role did MBIs play in this pollution mitigation? The case studies suggest that it is a combination of instruments--license fee, standards, charge and subsidies--reinforced by active enforcement that led to an overall improvement in environment compliance.
In this study treatment of palm oil mill effluent (POME) was investigated using aerobic oxidation based on an activated sludge process. The effects of sludge volume index, scum index and mixed liquor suspended solids during the acclimatizing phase and biomass build-up phase were investigated in order to ascertain the reactor stability. The efficiency of the activated sludge process was evaluated by treating anaerobically digested and diluted raw POME obtained from Golden Hope Plantations, Malaysia. The treatment of POME was carried out at a fixed biomass concentration of 3900+/-200mg/L, whereas the corresponding sludge volume index was found to be around 105+/-5mL/g. The initial studies on the efficiency of the activated sludge reactor were carried out using diluted raw POME for varying the hydraulic retention time, viz: 18, 24, 30 and 36h and influent COD concentration, viz: 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000mg/L, respectively. The results showed that at the end of 36h of hydraulic retention time for the above said influent COD, the COD removal efficiencies were found to be 83%, 72%, 64%, 54% and 42% whereas at 24h hydraulic retention time they were 57%, 45%, 38%, 30% and 27%, respectively. The effectiveness of aerobic oxidation was also compared between anaerobically digested and diluted raw POME having corresponding CODs of 3908 and 3925mg/L, for varying hydraulic retention time, viz: 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54 and 60h. The dissolved oxygen concentration and pH in the activated sludge reactor were found to be 1.8-2.2mg/L and 7-8.5, respectively. The scum index was found to rise from 0.5% to 1.9% during the acclimatizing phase and biomass build-up phase.
A priori assessments of a site's biophysical and socio-economic capacity for accommodating tourism are less common than tourism impact studies. A priori evaluations can provide a contextual understanding of ecological, economic and socio-cultural forces, which shape the prospects for sustainable tourism development at the host destination, and can avert adverse impacts of tourism. We conduct an a priori assessment of the biophysical environment of Pulau Banggi, in the Malaysian state of Sabah for sustainable tourism development. We characterise baseline conditions of the island's marine biodiversity, seasonality, and infrastructure. We then evaluate how existing biophysical conditions will influence options for sustainable tourism development. In particular, we suggest conditions, if there are any, which constitute a limit to future tourism development in terms of compatibility for recreation and resilience to visitor impacts. We find that the biggest constraint is the lack of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure. Blast fishing, although occurring less than once per hour, can potentially destroy the major attraction for tourists. We conclude that while Pulau Banggi possesses natural qualities that are attractive for ecotourism, financial and institutional support must be made available to provide facilities and services that will enable local participation in environmental protection and enhance prospects for future sustainable tourism.
Water reuse/recycle has gained much attention in recent years for environmental sustainability reasons, as well as the rising costs of fresh water and effluent treatment. Process integration techniques for the synthesis of water network have been widely accepted as a promising tool to reduce fresh water and wastewater flowrates via in-plant water reuse/recycle. To date, the focus in this area has been on water network synthesis problems, with little attention dedicated to the rare but realistic cases of so-called threshold problems. In this work, targeting for threshold problems in a water network is addressed using the recently developed numerical tool of water cascade analysis (WCA). Targeting for plant-wide integration is then addressed. By sending water sources across different geographical zones in plant-wide integration, the overall fresh water and wastewater flowrates are reduced simultaneously.
Water pinch analysis (WPA) is a well-established tool for the design of a maximum water recovery (MWR) network. MWR, which is primarily concerned with water recovery and regeneration, only partly addresses water minimization problem. Strictly speaking, WPA can only lead to maximum water recovery targets as opposed to the minimum water targets as widely claimed by researchers over the years. The minimum water targets can be achieved when all water minimization options including elimination, reduction, reuse/recycling, outsourcing and regeneration have been holistically applied. Even though WPA has been well established for synthesis of MWR network, research towards holistic water minimization has lagged behind. This paper describes a new holistic framework for designing a cost-effective minimum water network (CEMWN) for industry and urban systems. The framework consists of five key steps, i.e. (1) Specify the limiting water data, (2) Determine MWR targets, (3) Screen process changes using water management hierarchy (WMH), (4) Apply Systematic Hierarchical Approach for Resilient Process Screening (SHARPS) strategy, and (5) Design water network. Three key contributions have emerged from this work. First is a hierarchical approach for systematic screening of process changes guided by the WMH. Second is a set of four new heuristics for implementing process changes that considers the interactions among process changes options as well as among equipment and the implications of applying each process change on utility targets. Third is the SHARPS cost-screening technique to customize process changes and ultimately generate a minimum water utilization network that is cost-effective and affordable. The CEMWN holistic framework has been successfully implemented on semiconductor and mosque case studies and yielded results within the designer payback period criterion.
Putrajaya Wetlands in Malaysia, a 200ha constructed wetland system consisting of 24 cells, was created in 1997-1998 to treat surface runoff caused by development and agricultural activities from an upstream catchment before entering Putrajaya Lake (400ha). It was designed for stormwater treatment, flood control and amenity use. The water quality improvement performance of a section of the wetland cells is described. The nutrient removal performance was 82.11% for total nitrogen, 70.73% for nitrate-nitrogen and 84.32% for phosphate, respectively, along six wetland cells from Upper North UN6 to UN1 from April to December 2004. Nutrient removal in pilot scale tank systems, simulating a constructed wetland and planted with examples of common species at Putrajaya, the Common Reed Phragmites karka and Tube Sedge Lepironia articulata, and the capacity of these species to retain nutrients in above and below-ground plant biomass and substrate is reported. The uptake of nutrients by the Common Reed and Tube Sedge from the pilot tank system was 42.1% TKN; 28.9% P and 17.4% TKN; 26.1% P, respectively. The nutrient uptake efficiency of the Common Reed was higher in above-ground than in below-ground tissue. The results have implications for plant species selection in the design of constructed wetlands in Malaysia and for optimizing the performance of these systems.
Tropical deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate, threatening the ecological integrity of protected areas. This makes it vital to regularly assess protected areas to confirm the efficacy of measures that protect that area from clearing. Satellite remote sensing offers a systematic and objective means for detecting and monitoring deforestation. This paper examines a spectral change approach to detect deforestation using pattern decomposition (PD) coefficients from multitemporal Landsat data. Our results show that the PD coefficients for soil and vegetation can be used to detect deforestation using change vector analysis (CVA). CVA analysis demonstrates that deforestation in the Kinabalu area, Sabah, Malaysia has significantly slowed from 1.2% in period 1 (1973 and 1991) to 0.1% in period 2 (1991 and 1996). A comparison of deforestation both inside and outside Kinabalu Park has highlighted the effectiveness of the park in protecting the tropical forest against clearing. However, the park is still facing pressure from the area immediately surrounding the park (the 1 km buffer zone) where the deforestation rate has remained unchanged.
A tsunami, triggered by a massive undersea earthquake off Sumatra in Indonesia, greatly devastated the lives, property and infrastructure of coastal communities in the coastal states of India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand. This event attracted the attention of environmental managers at all levels, local, national, regional and global. It also shifted the focus from the impact of human activities on the environment to the impacts of natural hazards. Recovery/reconstruction of these areas is highly challenging. A clear understanding of the complex dynamics of the coast and the types of challenges faced by the several stakeholders of the coast is required. Issues such as sustainability, equity and community participation assume importance. The concept of ICZM (integrated coastal zone management) has been effectively used in most parts of the world. This concept emphasizes the holistic assessment of the coast and a multidisciplinary analysis using participatory processes. It integrates anthropocentric and eco-centric approaches. This paper documents several issues involved in the recovery of tsunami-affected areas and recommends the application of the ICZM concept to the reconstruction efforts.
Most developing countries, particularly Indonesia, will be facing problems of sludge pressure in the next decades due to the increase in practices of legal and illegal logging as well as land and water demands. Consequently, they will also be facing the challenges of soil erosion and sludge management due to increased quantities of sludge coming from several potential sources, such as activated sludge, chemical sludge, fecal sludge and solid wastes as well as erosion and sedimentation. Although the government of Indonesia has enacted laws and policies to speed up the implementation of the programs and activities related to sludge management, the detailed practice concepts in implementing the programs need to be identified. Discussion of role-sharing amongst the related government agencies, private institutions and other stakeholders is urgent for clarifying the participation of each party in the next years to come. This paper proposes a management approach and level of responsibilities in sludge management. Implementation of zero DeltaQ, zero DeltaS and zero DeltaP policies needs to be adopted by local and central governments. Application of sludge on the agricultural lands and other uses will promote sustainable development.
The rapid advances in technology and improved living standard of the society necessitate abundant use of fossil fuels which poses two major challenges to any nation. One is fast depletion of fossil fuel resources; the other is environmental pollution. The porous medium combustion (PMC) has proved to be one of the technically and economically feasible options to tackle the aforesaid problems to a remarkable extent. PMC has interesting advantages compared with free flame combustion due to the higher burning rates, the increased power dynamic range, the extension of the lean flammability limits, and the low emissions of pollutants. This article provides a comprehensive picture of the global scenario of research and developments in PMC and its applications that enable a researcher to decide the direction of further investigation. The works published so far in this area are reviewed, classified according to their objectives and presented in an organized manner with general conclusions. A separate section is devoted for the numerical modeling of PMC.
Palm oil production is one of the major industries in Malaysia and this country ranks one of the largest productions in the world. In Malaysia, the total production of crude palm oil in 2008 was 17,734,441 tonnes. However, the production of this amount of crude palm oil results in even larger amounts of palm oil mill effluent (POME). In the year 2008 alone, at least 44 million tonnes of POME was generated in Malaysia. Currently, the ponding system is the most common treatment method for POME but other processes such as aerobic and anaerobic digestion, physicochemical treatment and membrane filtration may also provide the palm oil industries with possible insights into the improvement of POME treatment processes. Generally, open ponding offers low capital and operating costs but this conventional method is becoming less attractive because the methane produced is wasted to the atmosphere and the system can not be certified for Carbon Emission Reduction trading. On the other hand, anaerobic digestion of POME provides the fastest payback of investment because the treatment enables biogas recovery for heat generation and treated effluent for land application. Lastly, it is proposed herewith that wastewater management based on the promotion of cleaner production and environmentally sound biotechnologies should be prioritized and included as a part of the POME management in Malaysia for attaining sustainable development. This paper thus discusses and compares state-of-the-art POME treatment methods as well as their individual performances.
The production of highly polluting palm oil mill effluent (POME) has resulted in serious environmental hazards. While anaerobic digestion is widely accepted as an effective method for the treatment of POME, anaerobic treatment of POME alone has difficulty meeting discharge limits due to the high organic strength of POME. Hence, subsequent post-treatment following aerobic treatment is vital to meet the discharge limits. The objective of the present study is to investigate the aerobic treatment of anaerobically digested POME by using a sequencing batch reactor (SBR). The SBR performance was assessed by measuring Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) removal as well as Sludge Volume Index (SVI). The operating pH and dissolved oxygen concentrations were found to be 8.25-9.14 and 1.5-6.4 mg/L, respectively, throughout the experiment. The experimental results demonstrate that MLVSS, OLR and sludge loading rate (SLR) play a significant role in the organic removal efficiency of SBR systems and therefore, further investigation on these parameters was conducted to attain optimum SBR performance. Maximum COD (95-96%), BOD (97-98%) and TSS (98-99%) removal efficiencies were achieved at optimum OLR, SLR and MLVSS concentration ranges of 1.8-4.2 kg COD/m(3)day, 2.5-4.6 kg TSS/m(3)day and 22,000-25,000 mg/L, respectively. The effluent quality remained stable and complied with the discharge limit. At the same time, the sludge showed good settling properties with average SVI of 65. It is envisaged that the SBR process could complement the anaerobic treatment to produce final treated effluent which meets the discharge limit.
This study analyzes and compares the results of leachate composition at the semi-aerobic Pulau Burung Landfill Site (PBLS) (unaerated pond and intermittently aerated pond) and the anaerobic Kulim Sanitary Landfill in the northern region of Malaysia. The raw samples were collected and analyzed for twenty parameters. The average values of the parameters such as phenols (1.2, 6.7, and 2.6 mg/L), total nitrogen (448, 1200, and 300 mg/L N-TN), ammonia-N (542, 1568, and 538 mg/L NH(3)-N), nitrite (91, 49, and 52 mg/L NO(2)(-)-N), total phosphorus (21, 17, and 19 mg/L), BOD(5) (83, 243, and 326 mg/L), COD (935, 2345, and 1892 mg/L), BOD(5)/COD (0.096,0.1124,0.205%), pH (8.20, 8.28, and 7.76), turbidity (1546, 180, and 1936 Formazin attenuation units (FAU)), and color (3334, 3347, and 4041 Pt Co) for leachate at the semi-aerobic PBLS (unaerated and intermittently aerated) and the anaerobic Kulim Sanitary Landfill were recorded, respectively. The obtained results were compared with previously published data and data from the Malaysia Environmental Quality Act 1974. The results indicated that Pulau Burung leachate was more stabilized compared with Kulim leachate. Furthermore, the aeration process in PBLS has a considerable effect on reducing the concentration of several pollutants. The studied leachate requires treatment to minimize the pollutants to an acceptable level prior to discharge into water courses.
Chitosan-tripolyphosphate (CTPP) beads were synthesized, characterized and were used for the adsorption of Pb(II) and Cu(II) ions from aqueous solution. The effects of initial pH, agitation period, adsorbent dosage, different initial concentrations of heavy metal ions and temperature were studied. The experimental data were correlated with the Langmuir, Freundlich and Dubinin-Radushkevich isotherm models. The maximum adsorption capacities of Pb(II) and Cu(II) ions in a single metal system based on the Langmuir isotherm model were 57.33 and 26.06 mg/g, respectively. However, the beads showed higher selectivity towards Cu(II) over Pb(II) ions in the binary metal system. Various thermodynamic parameters such as enthalpy (DeltaH degrees), Gibbs free energy (DeltaG degrees) and entropy (DeltaS degrees) changes were computed and the results showed that the adsorption of both heavy metal ions onto CTPP beads was spontaneous and endothermic in nature. The kinetic data were evaluated based on the pseudo-first and -second order kinetic and intraparticle diffusion models. Infrared spectra were used to elucidate the mechanism of Pb(II) and Cu(II) ions adsorption onto CTPP beads.
Titania nanotubes are gaining prominence in photocatalysis, owing to their excellent physical and chemical properties such as high surface area, excellent photocatalytic activity, and widespread availability. They are easily produced by a simple and effective hydrothermal method under mild temperature and pressure conditions. This paper reviews and analyzes the mechanism of titania nanotube formation by hydrothermal treatment. It further examines the parameters that affect the formation of titania nanotubes, such as starting material, sonication pretreatment, hydrothermal temperature, washing process, and calcination process. Finally, the effects of the presence of dopants on the formation of titania nanotubes are analyzed.
Co-management is now established as a mainstream approach to small-scale fisheries management across the developing world. A comprehensive review of 204 potential cases reveals a lack of impact assessments of fisheries co-management. This study reports on a meta-analysis of the impact of fisheries co-management in developing countries in 90 sites across 29 case-studies. The top five most frequently measured process indicators are participation, influence, rule compliance, control over resources, and conflict. The top five most frequently measured outcome indicators are access to resources, resource well-being, fishery yield, household well-being, and household income. To deal with the diversity of the 52 indicators measured and the different ways these data are collected and analysed, we apply a coding system to capture change over time. The results of the meta-analysis suggest that, overall fisheries co-management delivers benefits to end-users through improvements in key process and outcome indicators. However, the dataset as a whole is constituted primarily of data from the Philippines. When we exclude this body of work, few generalisations can be made about the impact of fisheries co-management. The lack of comparative data suitable for impact assessment and the difficulties in comparing data and generalising across countries and regions reiterates calls in other fields for more systematic approaches to understanding and evaluating governance frameworks.
This study aimed to identify the significant factors that give large effects on the efficiency of Cu(II) extraction from aqueous solutions by soybean oil-based organic solvents using fractional factorial design. Six factors (mixing time (t), di-2-ethylhexylphosphoric acid concentration ([D2EHPA]), organic to aqueous phase ratio (O:A), sodium sulfate concentration ([Na(2)SO(4)]), equilibrium pH (pH(eq)) and tributylphosphate concentration ([TBP])) affecting the percentage extraction (%E) of Cu(II) were investigated. A 2(6-1) fractional factorial design was applied and the results were analyzed statistically. The results show that only [D2EHPA], pH(eq) and their second-order interaction ([D2EHPA] × pH(eq)) influenced the %E significantly. Regression models for %E were developed and the adequacy of the reduced model was examined. The results of this study indicate that fractional factorial design is a useful tool for screening a large number of variables and reducing the number of experiments.