The Star wins Environmental Journalism prize

KUALA LUMPUR: The Star won a prize for Environmental Journalism under the prestigious Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award.

Andrew Sia won an honourable mention for two of his articles, Dear dugongs and Cutting off our water supply, which were published in 2017.

The organising committee said the award was given for “incisive coverage”.

The Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award, which has been presented every two years since its inception in 1996, is the premier private sector environmental award in Malaysia.

Kan Yaw Chong of Sabah’s Daily Express Newspaper took home the Environmental Journalism Award for a series of reports on the controversial bridge at Sukau, which would affect wildlife in the Kinabatangan sanctuary.

There were 27 entries from various print media organisations.

The awards were presented by Datuk Nik Azman, director-general of the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department.

He read the speech at the event on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

According to Nik Azman, responsible consumption and production as well as climate action were among the Sustainable Development Goals which Malaysia adopted in September 2015.

The award is meant to recognise the important role of the media in pursuit of business and environmental sustainability.

In his first story, Sia followed a team of researchers from Universiti Malaya, as they tracked elusive dugongs in seagrass beds around Sibu Island, eastern Johor.

The article highlighted that dugongs are not just cute marine animals, but also important "ecosystem engineers" who help maintain seagrass, coral reefs and fish stocks.

Thus, they should be a source of national pride in our natural heritage.

For his second story, the writer showed why the forests of Ulu Muda, Kedah, should be conserved as they were crucial for water supply in Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

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