PETALING JAYA: Today is Earth Day, environmental activists are calling for more climate action, especially as the world, including Malaysia, has seen warmer temperatures in recent years.
Global Environment Center director Faizal Parish said that from 1969 to 2015, the annual minimum temperature in Peninsular Malaysia increased by 1.4 ° Celsius.
“The sea level rose by 5 cm (on average) from 1993 to 2015. It is expected to rise by 50 cm in Peninsular Malaysia and 1.06 m in Sabah by 2100,” he said, adding that this would lead to coastal flooding and erosion. .
“Storms and extreme events such as droughts will increase. Peatland and forest fires will become frequent, and the incidence of transboundary haze will also increase, ”he said.
Ordinary Malaysians could also do their part by reducing electricity use at home, buying energy efficient appliances, planting more trees and pushing their MPs to speak out on climate action, Faizal added.
Nur Sakeenah Omar, public engagement activist for Greenpeace Malaysia, said the evidence for the effects of global warming on Malaysia was clear, with 2019 recording the country’s second highest average temperature.
“Everyone in Malaysia is feeling the effects in our day-to-day lives, especially low-income families who feel the effects the most,” she said.
Nur Sakeenah added that Malaysians could adopt a “fill and reuse” strategy to reduce the consumption and use of single-use plastics, such as disposing of plastic straws.
“It’s a start, but we are not yet close to the finish line as there are currently not many systems in place in Malaysia to accommodate the recharge and reuse lifestyle.” she declared.
Nur Sakeenah stressed that Malaysians cannot do it alone.
“It requires a concerted effort on the part of government and business to limit the impacts of climate change,” she said.
Urging Malaysians to better manage their waste, she also warned that municipal waste in landfills was contributing to the country’s carbon emissions.
“Malaysians waste around 16,688 tonnes of food a day. We should start planning meals, keeping track of our waste, composting, avoiding throwing out leftover food and understanding best before dates, ”said Nur Sakeenah.
Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) President Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said the climate crisis was getting worse and worse.
She gave the example of an average sea level rise of around 21cm to 24cm since 1880, adding that Malaysians could do their part to mitigate climate change.
“We can use less electricity and encourage the government to switch to renewables for power generation.
“Then it’s about reducing waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposable products. Buying products with minimal packaging will help reduce the waste that ends up in landfills, ”she said.
The Coalition of Environmental NGOs (COEN) said no economic progress could justify leaving future generations with a degraded environment.
“We, the adult population of Malaysia, must realize that we are now using the natural resources of the future faster than either we or nature can regenerate them,” the group said.
The 23 COEN organizations call on the government to end the unsustainable depletion of the country’s natural resources.
“These include the decommissioning of many of our reserve forests, logging for agriculture, extraction of rare earths and other minerals, as well as unnecessary sand and infrastructure.
“We also call on the government to make changes to our constitutional and forest laws to immediately improve the protection of our natural environment, otherwise it will be too late,” they said.
The meteorological department (MetMalaysia) showed The Star data that the country saw an increase of around 1 ° C in average temperatures compared to 50 years ago.
He urged Malaysians to cut back on fossil fuels and switch to energy-efficient LED lights and air conditioners, and encouraged people to recycle and plant trees.
MetMalaysia also warned them against open burning.