Seagrass is a valuable marine ecosystem engineer. However, seagrass population is declining worldwide. The lack of seagrass research in Malaysia raises questions about the status of seagrasses in the country. The seagrasses in Lawas, which is part of the coral-mangrove-seagrass complex, have never been studied in detail. In this study, we examine whether monthly changes of seagrass population in Lawas occurred. Data on estimates of seagrass percentage cover and water physicochemical parameters (pH, turbidity, salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen) were measured at 84 sampling stations established within the study area from June 2009 to May 2010. Meteorological data such as total rainfall, air temperature, and Southern Oscillation Index were also investigated. Our results showed that (i) the monthly changes of seagrass percentage cover are significant, (ii) the changes correlated significantly with turbidity measurements, and (iii) weather changes affected the seagrass populations. Our study indicates seagrass percentage increased during the El-Nino period. These results suggest that natural disturbances such as weather changes affect seagrass populations. Evaluation of land usage and measurements of other water physicochemical parameters (such as heavy metal, pesticides, and nutrients) should be considered to assess the health of seagrass ecosystem at the study area.
Threats to beaches have accelerated the coastal destruction. In recent decades, geotextile tubes were used around the world to prevent coastal erosion, to encourage beach nourishment, and to assist mangrove rehabilitation. However, the applications of geotextile tube in sandy and muddy coasts have different concerns as the geological settings are different. Applications of geotextile tubes in sandy beaches were mainly to prevent coastline from further erosion and to nourish the beach. However, for the muddy coasts, mangrove rehabilitation and conservation were additional concerns in coastal management schemes. The mangrove forests are natural barriers which can be found on the muddy coasts of many tropical countries. In this paper, the viability of geotextile tubes in sandy and muddy beaches was analysed. The advantages and disadvantages of the utilization of geotextile tubes in coastal management were discussed based on the experiences from the tropical countries such as Mexico, Malaysia, and Thailand. From the case studies, impressive improvements in coastal restoration after installation of geotextile tubes were shown. Based on the discussion, several recommendations to improve the application of geotextile tubes were suggested in this paper.
This study was conducted to determine the composition of surfactants in the sea-surface microlayer (SML) and atmospheric aerosol around the southern region of the Peninsular Malaysia. Surfactants in samples taken from the SML and atmospheric aerosol were determined using a colorimetric method, as either methylene blue active substances (MBAS) or disulphine blue active substances (DBAS). Principal component analysis with multiple linear regressions (PCA-MLR), using the anion and major element composition of the aerosol samples, was used to determine possible sources of surfactants in atmospheric aerosol. The results showed that the concentrations of surfactants in the SML and atmospheric aerosol were dominated by anionic surfactants and that surfactants in aerosol were not directly correlated (p>0.05) with surfactants in the SML. Further PCA-MLR from anion and major element concentrations showed that combustion of fossil fuel and sea spray were the major contributors to surfactants in aerosol in the study area.
Tourism-related activities such as the heavy use of boats for transportation are a significant source of petroleum hydrocarbons that may harm the ecosystem of Langkawi Island. The contamination and toxicity levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) in the sediments of Langkawi were evaluated using sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) and toxic equivalent factors. Ten samples were collected from jetties and fish farms around the island in December 2010. A gas chromatography/flame ionization detector (GC/FID) was used to analyse the 18 PAHs. The concentration of total PAHs was found to range from 869 ± 00 to 1637 ± 20 ng g⁻¹ with a mean concentration of 1167.00 ± 24 ng g⁻¹, lower than the SQG effects range-low (3442 ng g⁻¹). The results indicated that PAHs may not cause acute biological damage. Diagnostic ratios and principal component analysis suggested that the PAHs were likely to originate from pyrogenic and petrogenic sources. The toxic equivalent concentrations of the PAHs ranged from 76.3 to 177 ng TEQ/g d.w., which is lower compared to similar studies. The results of mean effects range-median quotient of the PAHs were lower than 0.1, which indicate an 11% probability of toxicity effect. Hence, the sampling sites were determined to be the low-priority sites.
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.
Blast operations in the vicinity of residential areas usually produce significant environmental problems which may cause severe damage to the nearby areas. Blast-induced air overpressure (AOp) is one of the most important environmental impacts of blast operations which needs to be predicted to minimize the potential risk of damage. This paper presents an artificial neural network (ANN) optimized by the imperialist competitive algorithm (ICA) for the prediction of AOp induced by quarry blasting. For this purpose, 95 blasting operations were precisely monitored in a granite quarry site in Malaysia and AOp values were recorded in each operation. Furthermore, the most influential parameters on AOp, including the maximum charge per delay and the distance between the blast-face and monitoring point, were measured and used to train the ICA-ANN model. Based on the generalized predictor equation and considering the measured data from the granite quarry site, a new empirical equation was developed to predict AOp. For comparison purposes, conventional ANN models were developed and compared with the ICA-ANN results. The results demonstrated that the proposed ICA-ANN model is able to predict blast-induced AOp more accurately than other presented techniques.
In many regions of the world, biodiversity surveys are not routinely conducted prior to activities that lead to land conversion, such as development projects. Here we use top-down methods based on global range maps and bottom-up methods based on macroecological scaling laws to illuminate the otherwise hidden biodiversity impacts of three large hydroelectric dams in the state of Sarawak in northern Borneo. Our retrospective impact assessment finds that the three reservoirs inundate habitat for 331 species of birds (3 million individuals) and 164 species of mammals (110 million individuals). A minimum of 2100 species of trees (900 million individuals) and 17 700 species of arthropods (34 billion individuals) are estimated to be affected by the dams. No extinctions of bird, mammal, or tree species are expected due to habitat loss following reservoir inundation, while 4-7 arthropod species extinctions are predicted. These assessment methods are applicable to any data-limited system undergoing land-use change.
The understanding of how the sediment deposit thickness influences the incipient motion characteristic is still lacking in the literature. Hence, the current study aims to determine the effect of sediment deposition thickness on the critical velocity for incipient motion. An incipient motion experiment was conducted in a rigid boundary rectangular flume of 0.6 m width with varying sediment deposition thickness. Findings from the experiment revealed that the densimetric Froude number has a logarithmic relationship with both the thickness ratios ts/d and ts/y0 (ts: sediment deposit thickness; d: grain size; y0: normal flow depth). Multiple linear regression analysis was performed using the data from the current study to develop a new critical velocity equation by incorporating thickness ratios into the equation. The new equation can be used to predict critical velocity for incipient motion for both loose and rigid boundary conditions. The new critical velocity equation is an attempt toward unifying the equations for both rigid and loose boundary conditions.
The identification of spatio-temporal patterns of the urban growth phenomenon has become one of the most significant challenges in monitoring and assessing current and future trends of the urban growth issue. Therefore, spatio-temporal and quantitative techniques should be used hand in hand for a deeper understanding of various aspects of urban growth. The main purpose of this study is to monitor and assess the significant patterns of urban growth in Seremban using a spatio-temporal built-up area analysis. The concentric circles approach was used to measure the compactness and dispersion of built-up area by employing Shannon's Entropy method. The spatial directions approach was also utilised to measure the sustainability and speed of development, while the gradient approach was used to measure urban dynamics by employing landscape matrices. The overall results confirm that urban growth in Seremban is dispersed, unbalanced and unsustainable with a rapid speed of regional development. The main contribution of using existing methods with other methods is to provide several spatial and statistical dimensions that can help researchers, decision makers and local authorities understand the trend of growth and its patterns in order to take the appropriate decisions for future urban planning. For example, Shannon's Entropy findings indicate a high value of dispersion between the years 1990 and 2000 and from 2010 to 2016 with a growth rate of approximately 94 and 14%, respectively. Therefore, these results can help and support decision makers to implement alternative urban forms such as the compactness form to achieve an urban form that is more suitable and sustainable. The results of this study confirm the importance of using spatio-temporal built-up area and quantitative analysis to protect the sustainability of land use, as well as to improve the urban planning system via the effective monitoring and assessment of urban growth trends and patterns.
Forest biomass is an essential indicator for monitoring the Earth's ecosystems and climate. It is a critical input to greenhouse gas accounting, estimation of carbon losses and forest degradation, assessment of renewable energy potential, and for developing climate change mitigation policies such as REDD+, among others. Wall-to-wall mapping of aboveground biomass (AGB) is now possible with satellite remote sensing (RS). However, RS methods require extant, up-to-date, reliable, representative and comparable in situ data for calibration and validation. Here, we present the Forest Observation System (FOS) initiative, an international cooperation to establish and maintain a global in situ forest biomass database. AGB and canopy height estimates with their associated uncertainties are derived at a 0.25 ha scale from field measurements made in permanent research plots across the world's forests. All plot estimates are geolocated and have a size that allows for direct comparison with many RS measurements. The FOS offers the potential to improve the accuracy of RS-based biomass products while developing new synergies between the RS and ground-based ecosystem research communities.
The geochemistry and distribution of major, trace and rare earth elements (REE's) was studied in the surface sediments of the Lower Baram River during two seasons: the Monsoon (MON) and Post - monsoon (POM). The major geochemical processes controlling the distribution and mobility of major, trace and REE's in the Lower Baram River surface sediments was revealed through factor analysis. The risk assessment of major and trace element levels was studied at three specific levels; i.e. the enrichment level [Contamination Factor (Cf), with the geo-accumulation index (Igeo)], the availability level [metals bound to different fractions, risk assessment code (RAC)], and the biological toxicity level [effect range low (ERL) and effect range medium (ERM)]. The results of all the indices indicate that Cu is the element of concern in the Lower Baram River sediments. The geochemical fractionation of major and trace elements were studied through sequential extraction and the results indicated a higher concentration of Mn in the exchangeable fraction. The element of concern, Cu, was found to be highly associated in the organic bound (F4) fraction during both seasons and a change in the redox, possibly due to storms or dredging activities may stimulate the release of Cu into the overlying waters of the Lower Baram River.
Environmental monitoring is important to determine the extent of eco-system pollution and degradation so that effective remedial strategies can be formulated. In this study, an environmentally friendly and cost-effective sensor made up of novel carbon electrode modified with cellulose and hydroxyapatite was developed for the detection of trace lead ions in aqueous system and palm oil mill effluent. Zinc, cadmium, and copper with lead were simultaneously detected using this method. The electrode exhibited high tolerance towards twelve common metal ions and three model surface active substances - sodium dodecyl sulfate, Triton X-100, and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide. Under optimum conditions, the sensor detected lead ions in palm oil mill effluent in the concentration range of 10-50 μg/L with 0.11 ± 0.37 μg/L limit of detection and 0.37 ± 0.37 μg/L limit of quantification. The validation using tap water, blood serum and palm oil mill effluent samples and compared with Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, suggested excellent sensitivity of the sensor to detect lead ions in simple and complex matrices. The cellulose produced based on "green" techniques from agro-lignocellulosic wastes, in combination with hydroxyapatite, were proven effective as components in the carbon electrode composite. It has great potential in both clinical and environmental use.
Plastic resin pellets collected at Minh Chau island and Ba Lat estuary between 2007 and 2014 in Vietnam were analyzed for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethanes (DDTs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs). The study was carried out as part of the International Pellet Watch program for monitoring the global distribution of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Higher levels of DDTs compared to PCBs indicated agricultural inputs rather than industrial discharges in the region. Most POP concentrations on both beaches decreased over the period, with the exception of HCH isomers. Though the concentration of DDTs showed a drastic decline on both beaches between 2007/2008 and 2014, DDTs accounted for 60-80% of total DDTs, suggesting that there is still a fresh input of these chemicals in the region. This study strongly recommends further investigations to track temporal and spatial patterns of POP levels in the marine environment using plastic resin pellets.
In this paper, numerous studies on groundwater in Malaysia were reviewed with the aim of evaluating past trends and the current status for discerning the sustainability of the water resources in the country. It was found that most of the previous groundwater studies (44 %) focused on the islands and mostly concentrated on qualitative assessment with more emphasis being placed on seawater intrusion studies. This was then followed by inland-based studies, with Selangor state leading the studies which reflected the current water challenges facing the state. From a methodological perspective, geophysics, graphical methods, and statistical analysis are the dominant techniques (38, 25, and 25 %) respectively. The geophysical methods especially the 2D resistivity method cut across many subjects such as seawater intrusion studies, quantitative assessment, and hydraulic parameters estimation. The statistical techniques used include multivariate statistical analysis techniques and ANOVA among others, most of which are quality related studies using major ions, in situ parameters, and heavy metals. Conversely, numerical techniques like MODFLOW were somewhat less admired which is likely due to their complexity in nature and high data demand. This work will facilitate researchers in identifying the specific areas which need improvement and focus, while, at the same time, provide policymakers and managers with an executive summary and knowledge of the current situation in groundwater studies and where more work needs to be done for sustainable development.
Wetlands are regarded as one of the most important ecosystems on Earth due to various ecosystem services provided by them such as habitats for biodiversity, water purification, sequestration, and flood attenuation. The Al Hawizeh wetland in the Iran-Iraq border was selected as a study area to evaluate the changes. Maximum likelihood classification was used on the remote sensing data acquired during the period of 1985 to 2013. In this paper, five types of land use/land cover (LULC) were identified and mapped and accuracy assessment was performed. The overall accuracy and kappa coefficient for years 1985, 1998, 2002, and 2013 were 93% and 0.9, 92% and 0.89, 91% and 0.9, and 92% and 0.9, respectively. The classified images were examined with post-classification comparison (PCC) algorithm, and the LULC alterations were assessed. The results of the PCC analysis revealed that there is a drastic change in the area and size of the studied region during the period of investigation. The wetland lost ~73% of its surface area from 1985 to 2002. Meanwhile, post-2002, the wetland underwent a restoration, as a result of which, the area increased slightly and experienced an ~29% growth. Moreover, a large change was noticed at the same period in the wetland that altered ~62% into bare soil in 2002. The areal coverage of wetland of 3386 km(2) in 1985 was reduced to 925 km(2) by 2002 and restored to 1906 km(2) by the year 2013. Human activities particularly engineering projects were identified as the main reason behind the wetland degradation and LULC alterations. And, lastly, in this study, some mitigation measures and recommendations regarding the reclamation of the wetland are discussed. Based on these mitigate measures, the discharge to the wetland must be kept according to the water requirement of the wetland. Moreover, some anthropogenic activities have to be stopped in and around the wetland to protect the ecology of the wetland.
Waste management can be regarded as a cross-cutting environmental 'mega-issue'. Sound waste management practices support the provision of basic needs for general health, such as clean air, clean water and safe supply of food. In addition, climate change mitigation efforts can be achieved through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from waste management operations, such as landfills. Landfills generate landfill gas, especially methane, as a result of anaerobic degradation of the degradable components of municipal solid waste. Evaluating the mode of generation and collection of landfill gas has posted a challenge over time. Scientifically, landfill gas generation rates are presently estimated using numerical models. In this study the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Waste Model is used to estimate the methane generated from a Malaysian sanitary landfill. Key parameters of the model, which are the decay rate and degradable organic carbon, are analysed in two different approaches; the bulk waste approach and waste composition approach. The model is later validated using error function analysis and optimum decay rate, and degradable organic carbon for both approaches were also obtained. The best fitting values for the bulk waste approach are a decay rate of 0.08 y(-1) and degradable organic carbon value of 0.12; and for the waste composition approach the decay rate was found to be 0.09 y(-1) and degradable organic carbon value of 0.08. From this validation exercise, the estimated error was reduced by 81% and 69% for the bulk waste and waste composition approach, respectively. In conclusion, this type of modelling could constitute a sensible starting point for landfills to introduce careful planning for efficient gas recovery in individual landfills.
This study aims to determine the concentration of sterols used as biomarkers in the surface microlayer (SML) in estuarine areas of the Selangor River, Malaysia. Samples were collected during different seasons through the use of a rotation drum. The analysis of sterols was performed using gas chromatography equipped with a flame ionisation detector (GC-FID). The results showed that the concentrations of total sterols in the SML ranged from 107.06 to 505.55 ng L(-1). The total sterol concentration was found to be higher in the wet season. Cholesterol was found to be the most abundant sterols component in the SML. The diagnostic ratios of sterols show the influence of natural sources and waste on the contribution of sterols in the SML. Further analysis, using principal component analysis (PCA), showed distinct inputs of sterols derived from human activity (40.58%), terrigenous and plant inputs (22.59%) as well as phytoplankton and marine inputs (17.35%).
In recent years, groundwater quality has become a global concern due to its effect on human life and natural ecosystems. To assess the groundwater quality in the Amol-Babol Plain, a total of 308 water samples were collected during wet and dry seasons in 2009. The samples were analysed for their physico-chemical and biological constituents. Multivariate statistical analysis and geostatistical techniques were applied to assess the spatial and temporal variabilities of groundwater quality and to identify the main factors and sources of contamination. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that seven factors explained around 75% of the total variance, which highlighted salinity, hardness and biological pollution as the dominant factors affecting the groundwater quality in the Plain. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted on the dataset to evaluate the spatio-temporal variation. The results showed that there were no significant temporal variations between the two seasons, which explained the similarity between six component factors in dry and wet seasons based on the PCA results. There are also significant spatial differences (p > 0.05) of the parameters under study, including salinity, potassium, sulphate and dissolved oxygen in the plain. The least significant difference (LSD) test revealed that groundwater salinity in the eastern region is significantly different to the central and western side of the study area. Finally, multivariate analysis and geostatistical techniques were combined as an effective method for demonstrating the spatial structure of multivariate spatial data. It was concluded that multiple natural processes and anthropogenic activities were the main sources of groundwater salinization, hardness and microbiological contamination of the study area.
Various classification methods have been applied for low resolution of the entire Earth's surface from recorded satellite images, but insufficient study has determined which method, for which satellite data, is economically viable for tropical forest land use mapping. This study employed Iterative Self Organizing Data Analysis Techniques (ISODATA) and K-Means classification techniques to classified Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Surface Reflectance satellite image into forests, oil palm groves, rubber plantations, mixed horticulture, mixed oil palm and rubber and mixed forest and rubber. Even though frequent cloud cover has been a challenge for mapping tropical forests, our MODIS land use classification map found that 2008 ISODATA-1 performed well with overall accuracy of 94%, with the highest Producer's Accuracy of Forest with 86%, and were consistent with MODIS Land Cover 2008 (MOD12Q1), respectively. The MODIS land use classification was able to distinguish young oil palm groves from open areas, rubber and mature oil palm plantations, on the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) map, whereas rubber was more easily distinguished from an open area than from mixed rubber and forest. This study provides insight on the potential for integrating regional databases and temporal MODIS data, in order to map land use in tropical forest regions.