Every year on 22 April, the world celebrates Earth Day, one of the largest celebrated global environmental events. It’s a day all about appreciating the uniqueness of our planet’s biodiversity and to promote an understanding of important environmental issues that we are currently facing. By raising awareness on the matter, the celebration aims to alert people of the critical actions we need to take to protect our environment.
From changing weather patterns to the increasing number of endangered animals, it’s clear that many mankind actions have caused negative impact to our planet, and it’s time for us to step up and do more to improve the environment.
Environmental issues faced in Malaysia
Melting glaciers, water scarcity and rising number of endangered species are a few examples of environmental issues the world faces. Malaysia also has its fair share of matters that need to be tackled before more harm is done.
One of the most notable issues that happened this year is the chemical pollution in Johor, where an illegal tyre recycling factory was allegedly dumping chemical waste in Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang. This didn’t just greatly affect our river waters but resulted in students, teachers and workers from nearby schools to fall sick.
Another similar case was reported near Kuala Langat as well when villagers and workers from a lead-acid battery manufacturing plant showed signs of lead poisoning. Laboratory tests showed high levels of lead and acid in the soil and water near the factory area which could be extremely harmful to the health of nearby residents.
In fact, it’s not only our local rivers that are suffering from irresponsible behaviour. We’re all aware of the global crisis in plastic waste, with billions upon billions of plastic items choking our oceans, lakes and rivers as well as killing our wildlife.
But did you know that we Malaysians are one of the major contributors to environmental harm?
According to a study in Science Magazine, Malaysia ranks the eighth worst country worldwide for plastic waste! It estimated our country to produce almost one million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste (waste not recycled or properly disposed of) in 2010, and with most of the waste ending up in the oceans, this can be detrimental to our marine life and sea birds.
Apart from that, we are also at risk of losing more and more wildlife due to deforestation. According to the Star2, “the Sumatran rhino is already extinct in the wild here, the leatherback turtle is missing from our shores and species like the Malayan tiger, gaur and sambar deer are in peril.”
What we can do to save the earth
Whether it’s Earth Day or not, there are many little things we can do to help conserve and protect the environment. From switching up your beauty products and fashion wears to reducing the amount of plastic used, here are a few simple steps you can take to contribute for a better planet.
1. Walk or cycle instead of driving to nearby places
2. Carpool or take public transport
3. Use reusable water bottles, bags, coffee cups and takeaway containers
4. Go paperless
5. Invest in rechargeable batteries
6. Use energy efficient light bulbs
7. Plant more trees