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WWF Supports Move For More Green Lungs, Better Protection Of Oceans

7 June 2014, Kuching: World Wide Fund for Nature – Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) welcomes the aspiration of the Sarawak Government to gazette more nature reserves as green lungs in urban centres.

7 June 2014, Kuching: World Wide Fund for Nature – Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) welcomes the aspiration of the Sarawak Government to gazette more nature reserves as green lungs in urban centres.

Its Head of Conservation for Sarawak, Dr Henry Chan, said the move was in line with global aspiration to prevent further degradation on the environment and promote the co-existence between mankind and nature.

He said this in response to the announcement made by Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, during a ground-breaking ceremony for the development of a nature park in Miri recently.

Dr Chan said the announcement by the Chief Minister was timely as the world celebrates World Environment Day and World Ocean Day on 5 June and 8 June respectively.

“It is important to have more green lungs in urban areas to create the much needed balance between development and environmental conservation.

“Green lung provides a much needed sanctuary for urban dwellers and like the Chief Minister said, a place to rest from the hustle and bustle of city life.

“It gives wildlife such as birds and squirrels a home in the concrete jungle,” Dr Chan said.

“Having more but big enough areas dedicated as urban nature reserves provide the space for our growing populations to appreciate what Mother Nature has to offer,” he added.

Therefore, the government should allocate adequate land for the creation of such urban sanctuaries, said Dr Chan.

“Urban folks and corporate citizens can be roped in to help plant trees. The creation and maintaining of green lungs is, after all, a collective responsibility.

“For example, Kuching City has a population of 600,000 people. If half of the population plant a tree, the city will have 300,000 trees more. It will be a greener city for all,” he said.

Calling on the people to do something positive for the environment, Dr Chan said simple actions such as segregating waste at home and office for recycling, not using styrofoam containers, taking public transport and walking instead of driving to a nearby destination would go a long way in improving the quality of environment that we live in.

He said environmental conservation also covers the oceans which are equally important as the oceans, among others, help to feed us and regulate the climate.

The people could help to improve the oceans’ health by being more discerning when making their purchases for seafood and not treating the oceans as dumping grounds, he said.

The country’s fishing industry is valued at more than RM10 billion with more than 200,000 Malaysians depending on the industry for their livelihood. Malaysians are the biggest consumers of seafood in Southeast Asia, with an average individual consuming about 52 kilograms of seafood per year. Total demand for fish is expected to rise to 1.68 billion kilograms by 2020 (FAO 2013).

Between 1971 and 2007, the country has lost almost 92% of its fishery resources and it will be running out of seafood by 2048 if consumption patterns do not change.

Dr Chan pointed out that if the rate of harvesting continues the way it is, fish stocks would continue to deteriorate, and the oceans would soon be void of fish to meet the growing demands for seafood.

People from all walks of life should make sustainable environmental conservation as part of their life, he added.

- Ends –

For further information:
Zora Chan, Senior Communications Officer, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +60 82 247 420 Email: schan@wwf.org.my

Yeoh Lin Lin, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-74503773 Email: llyeoh@wwf.org.my

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