Environmental Sustainability

We will learn about threats to the environment, preservation, conservation and restoration of ecosystems, practices in environmental sustainability and green technology.
 
10.1

Threats to the Environments

 

Environmental sustainability:

  • Environmental sustainability means that the environmental conditions remain the same without experiencing the problem of scarcity or decline of natural resources and the quality of the environment is guaranteed for a long period of time.
  • Environmental sustainability ensures that the needs of the present are met without compromising the needs of future generations
  • Environmental well-being will be compromised if sustainability is neglected
  • The increase in the human population has created a conflict between the need to meet human wants and the need to preserve the environment.
  • The use of recycling bins is one of the strategies to preserve the environment.
  • This strategy can reduce the use of non -renewable resources.
 
Recycling Bin:-
 

Source: Alamsekitarkitabersama.blogspot

Colour Uses
Blue Paper
Brown  Glass
Orange Metals and Plastic 
 

Threats to the environment:

  • Environmental threats stem from human activities against ecosystems.
  • Environmental threats and destruction occur continuously and have a negative impact on life.
 

Climate change and global warming:

  • Climate change refers to drastic changes in the earth’s temperature, rainfall distribution and wind changes
  • This change can be seen from the phenomenon of the greenhouse effect
  • When sunlight enters the earth's atmosphere, part of that radiation is reflected back to the earth's atmosphere in the form of infrared rays.
  • During the release of thermal energy, most of it will be absorbed by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide gas, methane gas, nitrogen oxide gas and chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas found in the earth’s atmosphere and prevent it from being reflected back into space.
  • This unreflected heat energy ensures that the earth’s temperature is not too cold for the survival of the organism
  • Most gases such as carbon dioxide gas are formed naturally.
  • However, human activity has caused the concentration of these gases to increase and more thermal energy to be trapped, further increasing the earth’s temperature
  • This condition is known as the greenhouse effect.
 
Factors causing the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases involved:
 
 
Factors causing the greenhouse effect Greenhouse gases involved
Burning of fossil fuels Carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide
Deforestation Carbon dioxide
Animal farming Methane
Agriculture activities (nitrogen fertiliser) Nitrogen dioxide
Usage of cooling substances Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)
 
  • The El Nino phenomenon causes extreme hot and dry weather leading to drought.
  • The La Nina phenomenon caused unusually heavy rains resulting in serious flooding.
 

Deforestation and loss of biodiversity:

  • Deforestation is the massive felling of trees. Deforestation is a major cause of biodiversity loss.
  • Habitat loss due to deforestation for development and agricultural activities has led to the extinction of many species of flora and fauna.
 
Purpose and negative effects of deforestation:
 
 
Purposes of deforestation
  • To obtain timber for construction work, furniture and paper
  • Mineral mining
  • Opening new areas to carry out agricultural activities
  • Building residential areas and roads
Negative effects of deforestation
  • Soil erosion
  • Flash floods
  • Climate change
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Disruption of the nitrogen cycle, water cycle and carbon cycle
  • Loss of water catchment areas
 
  • Global changes caused by pollution are contributing to the loss of biodiversity.
  • Illegal hunting of wildlife for the purposes of the food, medical and handicraft industries has resulted in a reduction in the population of animal species leading to the extinction of the species.
  • In addition, acid rain caused the pH of the water to below, most fish eggs could not hatch and some adult fish died.
 
Eutrophication
 
  • Increased alga growth, mortality of aquatic life and deterioration of water quality are the effects of the eutrophication process.
  • Eutrophication is the process of a water ecosystem becoming rich in nutrients that cause changes in the structure of the ecosystem.
  • Excessive use of nitrate and phosphate fertilizers in agricultural activities and other factors also cause eutrophication.
    1. Excess nitrate and phosphate residues are discharged by rainwater into lakes and rivers. The increase in nitrate and phosphate stimulates the growth of algae so rapidly that it covers the surface of the water.
    2. This condition is called eutrophication. This condition reduces the penetration of sunlight into the water.
    3. The rate of photosynthesis by aquatic plants becomes low and the dissolved oxygen content in water becomes low. This causes aquatic plants and animals to die. The more algae and aquatic organisms die, the higher the population of decomposing bacteria.
    4. Decomposing bacteria will decompose dead aquatic plants and animals in the presence of oxygen, causing extreme oxygen depletion in the water. This increases the level of biochemical oxygen demand or biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).
  • Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is the amount of oxygen required by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi to break down organic matter in water.
  • High BOD levels indicate that the quality of the water source is low and indicates that there are many organic matters as well as decomposing microorganisms in the water.
  • Low BOD levels indicate good water quality. This is because the dissolved oxygen content is high and the water is not polluted.
 

Pollution:

  1. Air pollution
  2. Thermal pollution
  3. Noise pollution
 

Air pollution:

  • Air pollution occurs when there is an increase in pollutants such as gas, smoke, dust and dust in the atmosphere that affects the health and life of humans, animals and plants.
  • Pollutants increase with increasing gas emissions from motor vehicle exhausts.
  • Air pollution also occurs due to increased smoke emissions from industrial plants and open burning
 
 
Source of air pollution The pollutants 
Exhaust fumes from vehicles
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Lead
  • Smoke and soot (small particles of carbon)
  • Hydrocarbon gases (example: benzene)
Smoke from industrial factories
  • Sulphur dioxide
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Dust
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
Open burning
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Smoke and soot
 
  • Acid rain also destroys leaf tissue and rots plant roots.
  • The increase in water acidity will reduce the population of plankton which is a source of fish food
  • This disrupts the food chain and can lead to the death of the organism.
  • Acid rain also causes skin diseases and damage to human tissues.
 

Thermal pollution:

  • Thermal pollution refers to the deterioration of water quality due to the removal of excess heat into the water due to processes that change the temperature of the water.
  • Water is used as a cooling agent to cool generators in industrial plants and electric power stations.
  • The resulting hot water is then channelled back into the river or into the lake and this causes thermal pollution.
  • The increase in river water temperature is not suitable for aquatic habitats.
  • As the water temperature rises, the dissolved oxygen content in the water decreases and complicates the survival of aquatic life.
  • Thermal pollution will disrupt and endanger the life of organisms and the environment.
  • An increase in water temperature disrupts biochemical processes in aquatic organisms because usually fish and other aquatic animals can only survive in a certain temperature range.
  • For example, an increase in water temperature can cause fish eggs to hatch earlier or fail to hatch.
  • For some species, a sudden increase in water temperature can cause immediate death
  • For organisms such as algae, higher temperatures will encourage their growth.
  • Alga growth in turn increases the BOD level of the water.
 

Noise pollution:

  • Noise pollution is the noise that disturbs and harms human and animal health.
  • Vehicle noise, construction activities, agricultural and industrial machinery as well as loud music from celebrations are a form of noise pollution.
  • Continuous exposure to noise can cause stress-related health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, depression and headaches.
 

Human populations growth explosion:

  • A population growth boom is an increase in the number of people living in a particular area
  • As population growth increases rapidly, the depletion of environmental resources also occurs rapidly, leading to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and global warming.
  • Forest areas are being cut down to provide settlement, development, agriculture and facilities to the growing population.
  • As a result of these activities, organisms are exposed to various threats such as problems with raw water resources and clean water supply, increased pollution and disease, and subsequent extinction of biodiversity.
  • Demand for water and resources from the locals cannot be fully managed with the available environmental resources in the area
  • This causes the relocation of resources from remote locations to areas of demand.
  • In addition, sewage waste will also pose a threat of pollution to the environment.
  • To overcome this problem, water treatment technology is used but will result in an increase in the cost of water resources including treated water.
 
10.2

Preservation,Conservation and Restoration of Ecosystems

 
  • We have examined human activities that can have adverse effects on the environment.
  • However, this does not mean that human activities always have a negative impact on the environment.
  • In managing development, measures of conservation, preservation and restoration of ecosystems need to be taken to ensure sustainable development.
 

Preservation of ecosystems:

  • Ecosystem preservation is an effort to protect the components in an ecosystem in order to maintain its natural state.
  • One of the conservation measures is to gazette the forest reserve to maintain the natural beauty of its flora and fauna.
  • The forest reserve is protected from any development activities.
  • 90% of the upper part of the Belum Forest has not been explored and is a place of research.
 

Conservation of ecosystems:

  • Ecosystem conservation means the effort to restore environmental resources such as water, forests, energy, air, minerals and others that have been used without letting those resources become extinct.
  • Conservation strategies are carried out to ensure that the endangered ecosystem components can be saved.
  • There are two types of conservation strategies, namely in situ conservation and ex situ conservation.
  • In situ conservation maintains wildlife species in their original habitats such as national parks and marine parks.
  • Ex-situ conservation preserves wildlife species outside of their original habitats such as zoos and botanical gardens.
 

Restoration of ecosystems:

  • Ecosystem restoration means efforts to renew and restore natural ecosystems that have been degraded, damaged or destroyed by human activities.
  • Reforestation and the planting of land cover crops are among the remedial measures that can be taken to ensure the continuity of natural resources for future generations.
 
10.3

Practices in Environmental Sustainability

 
  • Practices that contribute to environmental sustainability aim to ensure adequate use of natural resources for the present and for the future for the benefit of all types of life on earth.
  • In preserving the environment, the practices taken must be related to measures to prevent environmental pollution, protect the capacity of ecosystems and prevent development that will threaten human health or affect the quality of life.
 

Practices that contribute to environmental sustainability:

  1. Environment-friendly transport
  2. Energy saving
  3. 5R's concept
  4. The usage of alternative renewable energy
  5. Management of domestic and toxic waste
  6. Biological control
  7. Water-saving
 

Environment-friendly transport:

  • Use environmentally-friendly transportation such as bicycles or hybrid and electric-powered vehicles.
  • Practice car sharing.
  • Using public transport such as buses, commuters, monorails,
  • Light Rail Transit (LRT), Electric Train Service (ETS) and KLIA Express/ KLIA Transit.
 

Energy-saving:

  • The main source of electricity is from burning of non -renewable materials, namely fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel.
  • Use electricity prudently to reduce the release of pollutants such as carbon monoxide gas.
 

5R's concept:

  • Waste disposal can be reduced if we adopt the 5R concept, i.e.
    1. Rethink
    2. Repair
    3. Reuse
    4. Reduce
    5. Recycle
 

Management of domestic and toxic waste:

  • The Department of the Environment is authorized to:
  • Coordinate waste disposal activities
  • Set a maximum limit for waste production
  • Control the licensing of the type of waste, its content, amount and hazardous effects
  • Running a waste material upcycle can reduce waste to landfills.
 

Biological control:

  • Biological control is a way of controlling a population of pests by using their natural enemies.
  • This can reduce the use of pesticides.
 

Water-saving

  • Reuse used water or rainwater for watering trees and washing vehicles.
 

The status of food security in Malaysia:

  • Food security is translated as food security which refers to food availability assurance, food access assurance and food consumption assurance.
 
Components of food security:
 
 
Availability of food

There is a sufficient supply of high-quality food in the local market as well as for imported food. 

Access to food

Food can be obtained easily in order to meet the nutritional need of diet

Food utilisation 

The ability of an individual to get enough nutrients by consuming food and drinking clean water as well as good practices in food processing and preparation

Food stability 

Each individual has access to get enough nutritious food at all time

 

Halal:

  • Halal is an important element in determining food security status.
  • Halal food must be produced in a clean environment with methods that emphasize cleanliness and order in the manufacturing process. Halal covers everything from the farm to the final food product.
  • Other guidelines implemented to determine food safety are Good
  • Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).
  • Both of these guidelines also emphasize the process of making quality, clean, healthy and safe food such as halal.
 
10.4

Green Technology

 
  • Green technology refers to the development and application of products, equipment and systems to preserve the environment and nature and minimize or reduce the negative impacts of human activities.
 

The use of green technology in environmental sustainability:

  • Green technology is the portfolio of the Ministry of Science,
  • Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) which was established on 27 March 2004 which takes into account the long-term and short-term effects of any human activity on the environment.
  • The National Green Technology Policy (2009) states that any product, equipment or system that meets the criteria is categorized as green technology.
  • Minimize environmental degradation
  • Has low or zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Safe to use and provides a healthier and better environment for all living things
  • Save energy and natural resources
  • Encourage the use of renewable resources
 

National green technology policy:

  • The National Green Technology Policy (NGTP) launched in July 2009 emphasizes the country's economic growth and sustainable development.
  • Sustainable development must meet the needs of today's society without neglecting the needs of future generations.
  • NGTP is based on four pillars, namely energy, environment, economy and social
 
Natural resources Uses
Solar energy Solar panels convert solar energy into electrical energy for example for indoor lighting
Water Rainwater retention systems are used when watering trees and washing toilets
Building materials Encourage the use of recycled materials
 

Practices using the concept of green technology:

  • Produces ecoenzymes from fruit waste as a cleaning agent
  • Recycle kitchen waste and food waste to produce natural fertilizers or crop growth promoters
  • Produces biogas from organic solid waste
  • Produces flour from banana peel to be used as a natural bioplastic manufacturing material
  • Produces foliar (liquid) fertilizer from kitchen waste to be used on leaves as a vegetable growth promoter
 

Aplication of social science to solve environmental problems and challenges:

  • The field of social sciences uses scientific methods to study the field of Humanities.
  • One of the branches in the social sciences is education. In the
  • Third Malaysia Plan, an emphasis on Environmental Education was introduced in the Malaysian education system.
  • Environmental Education aims to form a generation of people who are aware and concerned about the state of the environment as well as environmental problems
 

The objectives of environmental education:

  • To increase the awareness of individuals and society on the state of the environment and its problems
  • Provide knowledge to individuals and society about the environment, problems and the roles and responsibilities of each individual
  • Acquire skills to solve environmental problems
  • Caring for the environment and willing to protect and promote the environment
  • Communication is also a branch in the field of Social Science that plays an important role in solving environmental problems and challenges through the use of mass media, pamphlets, magazines, posters and films.
  • Various activities are carried out to encourage people to take care of the environment.
  • For example, campaigns to encourage residents to reduce tree felling, awareness campaigns to conserve water and land resources, large-scale gotong-royong activities in residential areas, schools, recreational parks and beaches as well as garden hygiene and fun competitions at schools or backyards.