Sabahans told not to take global warming lightly

KOTA KINABALU, 17 August 2023 (The Star): Global warming and climate change are a real threat and everyones has a role to play to conserve the environment, says Datuk Christina Liew.

The state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said Sabah was part of the global community facing the same challenge of climate change and global warming.

She urged Sabahans to conscientiously take meaningful action to address this threat.

“We are part of that global community and we have also been experiencing extreme hot weather lately, or sometimes extreme rainfall.

“Climate change is an issue that must be addressed by all levels of society from grassroots up to the policy- makers. You and I have our roles to play, and we must commit as individuals and as groups to make a positive difference wherever we are.

“There is no other way but for us to work together,” she said when launching the Air Quality Monitoring in Schools (Aquams) portal here on Thursday (Aug 17).

“Everything in the environment is interconnected – for example, if many people do open burning in their backyard, others might experience haze elsewhere. Similarly, if we keep planting trees now, our future generation will benefit from the shade and oxygen the trees will provide,” he said.

Liew pointed out United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently said that “the era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived” based on data released by the European Union and the World Meteorological Organisation.

Guterres declared “July 2023″ as the hottest month on record, Liew said, adding the there was a serious call for all countries to adopt measures to protect their people from searing heat, fatal floods, storms, drought and raging fires.”

She said the launch of the Aquams Portal by the Environment Protection Department was important as it helped highlight air quality and air pollution while creating awareness among students.

The “Air Quality Monitoring in Schools (Aquams Project)” was kicked off by Sabah EPD Sabah and UNICEF on Sept 30, 2022.

Under the pilot project, Aquams devices – which would collect air quality-related data- were installed in five schools.

The schools were SM St. Michael, Penampang, SMK Agama Tun Ahmadshah, Kota Kinabalu, SJK(C) Chung Hwa, Tamparuli, SK Buang Sayang, Papar and Sekolah Indonesia Kota Kinabalu.

“The implementation of this project is timely as children are more vulnerable to air pollution, and may be subjected to health problems such as asthma attacks and other viral respiratory infections.

“There is a crucial need to increase awareness on issues relating to air pollution amongst the community, parents, schools and the children themselves,” she said.

The project is the first of its kind in Malaysia and in line with UNICEF’s proposal for a regional collaboration in technical support, data sharing and monitoring and advocacy and the development of a regional action plan on children’s environmental health.