Terengganu resort fine example on welcoming new normal
Published on: Sunday, November 21, 2021
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Drawbridge aka Jambatan Angkat Terengganu by unsplash.com ( For Illustration Purpose Only)
Despite how tenuous the state of the world remains, life is starting to come back to pre-pandemic normalcy in countries with high vaccination rates such as Malaysia.

However, to ensure that economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis is long-lasting and resilient, a return to “business as usual” and ecologically damaging investment patterns and activities must be avoided.

Global environmental catastrophes like climate change and biodiversity loss, if left unchecked, might inflict even more social and economic harm than Covid-19 in future.

The pandemic has revealed numerous critical weaknesses in our society and economic systems. The identified weaknesses are especially depressing in view of an even more serious future danger to the global economy – environmental deterioration caused by our current economic system.

Climate change, air pollution, biodiversity loss and poor ocean health have already caused enormous misery globally, and they harbour further systemic vulnerabilities that may eventually dwarf the present crisis.

Decline in local environmental quality, particularly air and water, may increase a society’s susceptibility to illness, with the consequences disproportionately affecting poorer populations.

Returning to “business as usual” will not result in long-term economic recovery that enhances well-being and reduces inequality.

With massive economic stimulus packages being unveiled around the world, governments, businesses, and society as a whole have a responsibility to look not only for short-term measures to shore up livelihoods and employment, but also to take a step back and reflect on the political and economic forces that led to the current crisis.

It is wonderful to hear that the island tourism industry and other economic activities are rebounding, but we must keep in mind that a growing body of research, including studies by Conservation International scientists, points to a direct link between environmental destruction and disease outbreaks.

I was at a resort in Lang Tengah (Terengganu) about a month ago, accompanying my husband on an official visit. The resort impressed me, as it blends nicely with its natural surroundings, and uses several conservation methods to protect the ocean and marine life.

What really struck me was that it does not use diesel but has instead invested extensively in the most recent solar system to generate power. It is able to self-sustain up to 60% of its power using this method, which reduces air pollution.

When it does use fossil fuel, the resort employs the most up-to-date generator to produce 30% more electricity compared to a normal machine. As a result, less fuel is used, which helps to reduce carbon emission.

The resort also uses a solar anti-mosquito lighting system rather than insecticides, and has installed an underground conduit to pump gasoline from boats directly into its storage tank. This prevents fuel from escaping into the water, where it destroys marine life.

But what impresses me most about the resort is that it complies with the Terengganu Marine Park’s recommendation on the usage of STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) to deal with sewage waste. By using the required STP, the resort is able to reduce its usage of fresh water by around 60%.

It is now processing waste via three procedures – primary, secondary and tertiary treatment – with the end products eventually being used as fertiliser for the resort’s trees and plants.

Overfishing, habitat damage, and climate change have all contributed to a decline in ocean life across the planet.

According to Dr Enric Sala, explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society and main author of the report, “Protecting The Global Ocean For Biodiversity, Food And Climate”, “... just 7% of the ocean is now protected.”

The main priorities of governments in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic have been to deal with the health emergency and to enact swift economic rescue measures, the latter primarily geared towards supplying critical liquidity and preserving livelihoods in the face of unexpected income losses.

However, it is equally critical for governments to seek a balance between growth and the environment by developing a development strategy that is friendly to nature. 


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