Marine plastic pollution (MPP) is an urgent environmental and socio-economic problem. MPP amounts to 300 million tons annually, originates largely from land-based sources and severely impacts marine ecosystem, harms livelihoods and causes costs for businesses and governments. Plastics permeate the whole width and depth of seas and oceans, near well-developed coastal zones and equally in remotest corners. This undermines economic and social value of the oceans, particularly in terms of fisheries productivity and tourism. The G20 members, responsible for about two-thirds of global plastic waste, recognize the problem and undertake preventive measures - individually and collectively. Yet, are there efficient, effective and sufficient given the urgency of MPP and the contribution of G20 countries. This article highlights existing policies and identifies further policy options using a custom framework for MPP policy that merges Circular Economy (CE) and life-cycle perspectives.
Tropical peat forests are a globally important reservoir of carbon, but little is known about CO2 exchange on an annual basis. We measured CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and tropical peat swamp forest in Sarawak, Malaysia using the eddy covariance technique over 4 years from 2011 to 2014. The CO2 fluxes varied between seasons and years. A small carbon uptake took place during the rainy season at the beginning of 2011, while a substantial net efflux of >600 g C/m2 occurred over a 2 month period in the middle of the dry season. Conversely, the peat ecosystem was a source of carbon during both the dry and rainy seasons in subsequent years and more carbon was lost during the rainy season relative to the dry season. Our results demonstrate that the forest was a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere during every year of measurement with annual efflux ranging from 183 to 632 g C m-2 year-1 , noting that annual flux values were sensitive to gap filling methodology. This is in contrast to the typical view of tropical peat forests which must have acted as net C sinks over time scales of centuries to millennia to create the peat deposits. Path analyses revealed that the gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (RE) were primarily affected by vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Results suggest that future increases in VPD could further reduce the C sink strength and result in additional net CO2 losses from this tropical peat swamp forest in the absence of plant acclimation to such changes in atmospheric dryness.
The objective of this commentary is to promote the use of bivalves as biomonitors, which is a part of the continual efforts of the International Mussel Watch. This commentary is an additional discussion on "Bivalve mollusks in metal pollution studies: From bioaccumulation to biomonitoring" by Zuykov et al., published in Chemosphere 93, 201-208. The present discussion can serve as a platform for further insights to provide new thoughts and novel ideas on how to make better use of bivalves in biomonitoring studies. The certainty of better and more extensive applications of mollusks in environmental monitoring in the future is almost confirmed but more studies are urgently needed. With all the reported studies using bivalves as biomonitors of heavy metal pollution, the effectiveness of using Mussel Watch is beyond any reasonable doubts. The challenge is the development of more accurate methodologies for of heavy metal data interpretation, and the precision of the biomonitoring studies using bivalves as biomonitors, whether in coastal or freshwater ecosystems. Lastly, inclusion of human health risk assessment of heavy metals in commercial bivalves would make the research papers of high public interest.
Water-borne emerging pollutants are among the greatest concern of our modern society. Many of these pollutants are categorized as endocrine disruptors due to their environmental toxicities. They are harmful to humans, aquatic animals, and plants, to the larger extent, destroying the ecosystem. Thus, effective environmental remediations of these pollutants became necessary. Among the various remediation techniques, adsorption and photocatalytic degradation have been single out as the most promising. This review is devoted to the compilations and analysis of the role of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and their composites as potential materials for such applications. Emerging organic pollutants, like dyes, herbicides, pesticides, pharmaceutical products, phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and perfluorinated alkyl substances, have been extensively studied. Important parameters that affect these processes, such as surface area, bandgap, percentage removal, equilibrium time, adsorption capacity, and recyclability, are documented. Finally, we paint the current scenario and challenges that need to be addressed for MOFs and their composites to be exploited for commercial applications.
Globally, farmed seaweed production is expanding rapidly in shallow marine habitats. While seaweed farming provides vital income to millions of artisanal farmers, it can negatively impact shallow coral reef and seagrass habitats. However, seaweed farming may also potentially provide food subsidies for herbivorous reef fish such as the Siganidae, a valuable target family, resulting in increased catch. Comparisons of reef fish landings across the central Philippines revealed that the catch of siganids was positively correlated to farmed seaweed production whilst negatively correlated to total reef fish catch over the same period of time. We tested the generality of this pattern by analysing seaweed production, siganid catch, and reef fish catch for six major seaweed-producing countries in the tropics. We hypothesized that increased seaweed production would correspond with increased catch of siganids but not other reef fish species. Analysis of the global data showed a positive correlation between farmed seaweeds and siganids in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines) but not Africa (Tanzania and Zanzibar), or the Western Pacific (Fiji). In Southeast Asia, siganid catch increased disproportionately faster with seaweed production than did reef fish catch. Low continuity, sporadic production and smaller volumes of seaweed farming may explain the differences.
Wild chimpanzee populations are still declining due to logging, disease transmission and hunting. The bushmeat trade frequently leads to an increase in the number of orphaned primates. HELP Congo was the first project to successfully release wild-born orphan chimpanzees into an existing chimpanzee habitat. A collection of post monitoring data over 16 years now offers the unique opportunity to investigate possible behavioural adaptations in these chimpanzees. We investigated the feeding and activity patterns in eight individuals via focal observation techniques from 1997-1999 and 2001-2005. Our results revealed a decline in the number of fruit and insect species in the diet of released chimpanzees over the years, whereas within the same period of time, the number of consumed seed species increased. Furthermore, we found a decline in time spent travelling, but an increase in time spent on social activities, such as grooming, as individuals matured. In conclusion, the observed changes in feeding and activity patterns seem to reflect important long-term behavioural and ecological adaptations in wild-born orphan released chimpanzees, demonstrating that the release of chimpanzees can be successful, even if it takes time for full adaptation.
Decreasing water pollution is a big problem in coastal waters. Coastal health of ecosystems can be affected by high concentrations of suspended sediment. In this work, a Modified Hopfield Neural Network Algorithm (MHNNA) was used with remote sensing imagery to classify the total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations in the waters of coastal Langkawi Island, Malaysia. The adopted remote sensing image is the Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) image acquired on 18 January 2010. Our modification allows the Hopfield neural network to convert and classify color satellite images. The samples were collected from the study area simultaneously with the acquiring of satellite imagery. The sample locations were determined using a handheld global positioning system (GPS). The TSS concentration measurements were conducted in a lab and used for validation (real data), classification, and accuracy assessments. Mapping was achieved by using the MHNNA to classify the concentrations according to their reflectance values in band 1, band 2, and band 3. The TSS map was color-coded for visual interpretation. The efficiency of the proposed algorithm was investigated by dividing the validation data into two groups. The first group was used as source samples for supervisor classification via the MHNNA. The second group was used to test the MHNNA efficiency. After mapping, the locations of the second group in the produced classes were detected. Next, the correlation coefficient (R) and root mean square error (RMSE) were calculated between the two groups, according to their corresponding locations in the classes. The MHNNA exhibited a higher R (0.977) and lower RMSE (2.887). In addition, we test the MHNNA with noise, where it proves its accuracy with noisy images over a range of noise levels. All results have been compared with a minimum distance classifier (Min-Dis). Therefore, TSS mapping of polluted water in the coastal Langkawi Island, Malaysia can be performed using the adopted MHNNA with remote sensing techniques (as based on ALOS images).
A survey on termite species composition was conducted in Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, Sarawak in February 2015. Overall 19 species of termite belonging to 13 genera and 8 subfamilies was found in the sanctuary. It was recorded the subfamily of Termitinae had the highest number of species (6 species, equal to 31.58% of total species), followed by Nasutermitinae (3 species, 15.79%), Macrotermitinae, Amitermitinae, Rhinotermitinae, Coptotermitinae, (2 species, 10.53% respectively), and Heterotermitinae, Termitogetoninae (1 species, 5.26% respectively). Since this rapid survey is the first termite assemblage representation in Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, the preliminary result may serve as the baseline data for termite composition in the area. Therefore, a whole coverage for the area within this sanctuary would definitely increase the number of termite species found in the sanctuary.
The heavy metal (HM) pollution in sediment is of serious concern, particularly in the Red Sea environment. This study aimed to review and compile data on the concentrations of four HMs (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn) in the coastal surface sediments from the Red Sea, mainly from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Yemen, published in the literature from 1992 to 2021. The coastal sediments included those from mangrove, estuaries, and intertidal ecosystems. It was found that the mean values of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn in coastal Red Sea sediments were elevated and localized in high human activity sites in comparison to the earth upper continental crust and to reference values for marine sediments. From the potential ecological risk index (PERI) aspect, 32 reports (47.1%) were categorized as 'considerable ecological risk' and 23 reports (33.8%) as 'very high ecological risk'. From the human health risk assessment (HHRA) aspect, the non-carcinogenic risk (NCR) values (HI values < 1.0) of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn represented no NCR for the ingestion and the dermal contact routes for sediments from the Red Sea countries. The reassessment of the HM data cited in the literature allowed integrative and accurate comparisons of the PERI and HHRA data, which would be useful in the management and sustainable development of the Red Sea area, besides being a helpful database for future use. This warrants extensive and continuous monitoring studies to understand the current and the projected HM pollution situation and to propose possible protective and conservative measures in the future for the resource-rich Red Sea ecosystem.
Overconsumption of plastic goods and improper handling of petroleum-derived plastic waste have brought a plethora of negative impacts to the environment, ecosystem and human health due to its recalcitrance to degradation. These drawbacks become the main driving force behind finding biopolymers with the degradable properties. With the advancement in biopolymer research, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and poly(lacyic acid) (PLA) and its composites have been alluded to as a potential alternative to replace the petrochemical counterpart. This review highlights the current synthesis process and application of PHAs and PLA and its composites for food packaging materials and coatings. These biopolymers can be further ameliorated to enhance their applicability and are discussed by including the current commercially available packaging products. Factors influencing biodegradation are outlined in the latter part of this review. The main aim of this review article is to organize the scattered available information on various aspects of PHAs and PLA, and its composites for packaging application purposes. It is evident from a literature survey of about 140 recently published papers from the past 15 years that PLA and PHA show excellent physical properties as potential food packaging materials.
Even though natural fiber reinforced polymer composites (NFRPCs) have been widely used in automotive and building industries, there is still a room to promote them to high-level structural applications such as primary structural component specifically for bullet proof and ballistic applications. The promising performance of Kevlar fabrics and aramid had widely implemented in numerous ballistic and bullet proof applications including for bullet proof helmets, vest, and other armor parts provides an acceptable range of protection to soldiers. However, disposal of used Kevlar products would affect the disruption of the ecosystem and pollutes the environment. Replacing the current Kevlar fabric and aramid in the protective equipment with natural fibers with enhanced kinetic energy absorption and dissipation has been significant effort to upgrade the ballistic performance of the composite structure with green and renewable resources. The vast availability, low cost and ease of manufacturing of natural fibers have grasped the attention of researchers around the globe in order to study them in heavy armory equipment and high durable products. The possibility in enhancement of natural fiber's mechanical properties has led the extension of research studies toward the application of NFRPCs for structural and ballistic applications. Hence, this article established a state-of-the-art review on the influence of utilizing various natural fibers as an alternative material to Kevlar fabric for armor structure system. The article also focuses on the effect of layering and sequencing of natural fiber fabric in the composites to advance the current armor structure system.
The majority of the Earth's ecosystem is frigid and frozen, which permits a vast range of microbial life forms to thrive by triggering physiological responses that allow them to survive in cold and frozen settings. The apparent biotechnology value of these cold-adapted enzymes has been targeted. Enzymes' market size was around USD 6.3 billion in 2017 and will witness growth at around 6.8% CAGR up to 2024 owing to shifting consumer preferences towards packaged and processed foods due to the rising awareness pertaining to food safety and security reported by Global Market Insights (Report ID-GMI 743). Various firms are looking for innovative psychrophilic enzymes in order to construct more effective biochemical pathways with shorter reaction times, use less energy, and are ecologically acceptable. D-Galactosidase catalyzes the hydrolysis of the glycosidic oxygen link between the terminal non-reducing D-galactoside unit and the glycoside molecule. At refrigerated temperature, the stable structure of psychrophile enzymes adjusts for the reduced kinetic energy. It may be beneficial in a wide variety of activities such as pasteurization of food, conversion of biomass, biological role of biomolecules, ambient biosensors, and phytoremediation. Recently, psychrophile enzymes are also used in claning the contact lens. β-D-Galactosidases have been identified and extracted from yeasts, fungi, bacteria, and plants. Conventional (hydrolyzing activity) and nonconventional (non-hydrolytic activity) applications are available for these enzymes due to its transgalactosylation activity which produce high value-added oligosaccharides. This review content will offer new perspectives on cold-active β-galactosidases, their source, structure, stability, and application.
THE DIVERSITIES OF MANGROVE TREES AND OF THEIR ASSOCIATED GASTROPODS WERE ASSESSED FOR TWO MANGROVE REGIONS ON THE WEST COAST OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA: Langkawi Island and Sungai Merbok. The mangrove area sampled on Langkawi Island was recently logged and replanted, whereas the area sampled in Sungai Merbok was part of a protected nature reserve. Mangrove and gastropod diversity were assessed in four 50 m(2) (10 × 5 m) sites per region. The species richness (S), Shannon Index (H') and Evenness Index (J') were calculated for each site, and the mean S, H' and J' values were calculated for each region. We report low tree and gastropod S, H' and J' values in all sites from both regions. For Langkawi Island, the mean S, H' and J' values for mangrove trees were S = 2.00±0, H' = 0.44±0.17 and J' = 0.44±0.17; the mean S, H' and J' values for gastropods were S = 4.00±1.63, H' = 0.96±0.41 and J' = 0.49±0.06. In Sungai Merbok, the mean S, H' and J' values for mangrove trees were S = 1.33±0.58, H' = 0.22±0.39 and J' = 0.22 ±0.39; the mean S, H' and J' values for gastropods were S = 4.75±2.22, H' = 1.23±0.63 and J' = 0.55±0.12. This study emphasises the need for baseline biodiversity measures to be established in mangrove ecosystems to track the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances and to inform management and restoration efforts.
The Setiu Wetlands, a unique area with nine interconnected habitats, comprises a considerable fraction of the total Peninsular Malaysia's wetland flora. Although botanical collecting in the area has been active in the past 10 years, only a few studies dealing with the wetland flora have been published. Thus, a detailed checklist of this area is urgently needed to ensure the continuity of its inter-relating flora and fauna, as well as the livelihood of the local people. In this work we conducted a survey of the vascular plant flora of Setiu Wetlands and investigated the most important plants used by the local communities. Our checklist accounts for 406 taxa from 277 genera and 106 families, including 24 (6%) species of ferns and lycophytes, three gymnosperms, 257 (64%) dicotyledons and 122 (30%) monocotyledons. This comprehensive plant checklist will be a primary reference for the management of the newly gazetted Setiu Wetlands State Park covering more than 400 hectares of lands and water bodies.
A 25-week feeding trial was conducted to assess the growth performance, organoleptic quality, and to estimate the viability of nourishing hybrid grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus x Epinephelus lanceolatus) with low-cost fish (LCF) and commercially compound feed (CCF). A group of 3600 juvenile fish (182g) were released in four sea cages and fed with either LCF or CCF in duplicate. At the end of the trial, the hybrid grouper provided LCF attained a significantly higher (P0.05). Although technicalities of fish fed with LCF suggest that LCF is more efficient than CCF, feeding LCF to high-value fish is an unsustainable practice as LCF is usually obtained through trawling – a destructive fishing method for the marine ecosystem. Therefore, feeding with CCF without the use of LCF as the source of protein for its fishmeal will contribute to sustainable aquaculture. In order to convince the local farmers in Sabah to adopt the practice of feeding CCF, future research should focus on completing the species-specific diet formulation to promote optimum growth, and find ways to reduce the CCF local selling price.
Aquatic weeds pose hazards to aquatic ecosystems and particularly the aquatic environment in shellfish aquaculture due to its excessive growth covering entire freshwater bodies, leading to environmental pollution particularly eutrophication intensification, water quality depletion and aquatic organism fatality. In this study, pyrolysis of six aquatic weed types (wild and cultured species of Salvinia sp., Lemna sp. and Spirodella sp.) were investigated to evaluate its potential to reduce and convert the weeds into value-added chemicals. The aquatic weeds demonstrated high fixed carbon (8.7-47.3 wt%), volatile matter content (39.0-76.9 wt%), H/C ratio (1.5-2.0) and higher heating value (6.6-18.8 MJ/kg), representing desirable physicochemical properties for conversion into biofuels. Kinetic analysis via Coats-Redfern integral method obtained different orders for chemical reaction mechanisms (n = 1, 1.5, 2, 3), activation energy (55.94-209.41 kJ/mol) and pre-exponential factor (4.08 × 104-4.20 × 1017 s-1) at different reaction zones (zone 1: 150-268 °C, zone 2: 268-409 °C, zone 3: 409-600 °C). The results provide useful information for design and optimization of the pyrolysis reactor and establishment of the process condition to dispose this environmentally harmful species.
In the last few decades, environmental contaminants (ECs) have been introduced into the environment at an alarming rate. There is a risk to human health and aquatic ecosystems from trace levels of emerging contaminants, including hospital wastewater (HPWW), cosmetics, personal care products, endocrine system disruptors, and their transformation products. Despite the fact that these pollutants have been introduced or detected relatively recently, information about their characteristics, actions, and impacts is limited, as are the technologies to eliminate them efficiently. A wastewater recycling system is capable of providing irrigation water for crops and municipal sewage treatment, so removing ECs before wastewater reuse is essential. Water treatment processes containing advanced ions of biotic origin and ECs of biotic origin are highly recommended for contaminants. This study introduces the fundamentals of the treatment of tertiary wastewater, including membranes, filtration, UV (ultraviolet) irradiation, ozonation, chlorination, advanced oxidation processes, activated carbon (AC), and algae. Next, a detailed description of recent developments and innovations in each component of the emerging contaminant removal process is provided.
Nanostructured photocatalysts commonly offered opportunities to solve issues scrutinized with the environmental challenges caused by steep population growth and rapid urbanization. This photocatalyst is a controllable characteristic, which can provide humans with a clean and sustainable ecosystem. Over the last decades, one of the current thriving research focuses on visible-light-driven CeO2-based photocatalysts due to their superior characteristics, including unique fluorite-type structure, rigid framework, and facile reducing oxidizing properties of cerium's tetravalent (Ce4+) and trivalent (Ce3+) valence states. Notwithstanding, owing to its inherent wide energy gap, the solar energy utilization efficiency is low, which limits its application in wastewater treatment. Numerous modifications of CeO2 have been employed to enhance photodegradation performances, such as metals and non-metals doping, adding support materials, and coupling with another semiconductor. Besides, all these doping will form a different heterojunction and show a different way of electron-hole migration. Compared to conventional heterojunction, advanced heterojunction types such as p-n heterojunction, Z-scheme, Schottky junction, and surface plasmon resonance effect exhibit superior performance for degradation owing to their excellent charge carrier separation, and the reaction occurs at a relatively higher redox potential. This review attends to providing deep insights on heterojunction mechanisms and the latest progress on photodegradation of various contaminants in wastewater using CeO2-based photocatalysts. Hence, making the CeO2 photocatalyst more foresee and promising to further development and research.
A newly discovered, diminutive, cave-dwelling, lowland species of the colubrid snake genus Lycodon Boie is described from a limestone cave along the Thai-Malaysian border in the state of Perlis, northwestern Peninsular Malaysia. Lycodon cavernicolus sp. nov. is most closely related to L. butleri Boulenger, an endemic, upland, forest-dwelling species from Peninsular Malaysia of the fasciatus group but is separated from L. butleri and all other species of the L. fasciatus group and the closely related L. ruhstrati group by having the combination of 245 (male) and 232 (female) ventral scales; 113 (male) and 92 (female) paired, subcaudal scales; a single precloacal plate; nine or 10 supralabials; 10 or 11 infralabials; a maximum total length of 508 mm (female); a relative tail length of 0.25-0.27; an immaculate venter in juveniles and dark-brown, posterior, ventral scale margins in adults; and dorsal and caudal bands in juveniles white. The discovery of L. cavernicolus sp. nov. adds to a rapidly growing list of newly discovered reptiles from karst regions and limestone forests of Peninsular Malaysia, underscoring the fact that these areas should be studied before they are quarried as they harbor a significant portion of the Peninsular Malaysia's herpetological diversity.
Microplastics are among the major contaminations in terrestrial and marine environments worldwide. These persistent organic contaminants composed of tiny particles are of concern due to their potential hazards to ecosystem and human health. Microplastics accumulates in the ocean and in terrestrial ecosystems, exerting effects on living organisms including microbiomes, fish and plants. While the accumulation and fate of microplastics in marine ecosystems is thoroughly studied, the distribution and biological effects in terrestrial soil call for more research. Here, we review the sources of microplastics and its effects on soil physical and chemical properties, including water holding capacity, bulk density, pH value as well as the potential effects to microorganisms and animals. In addition, we discuss the effects of microplastics in combination with other toxic environmental contaminants including heavy metals and antibiotics on plant growth and physiology, as well as human health and possible degradation and remediation methods. This reflect is an urgent need for monitoring projects that assess the toxicity of microplastics in soil and plants in various soil environments. The prospect of these future research activities should prioritize microplastics in agro-ecosystems, focusing on microbial degradation for remediation purposes of microplastics in the environment.