Suggestions can be made to tackle environmental issues in Sabah through MPAS, says Liew

Liew (left) chairing the Council of Environment Protection (MPAS) meeting.

KOTA KINABALU: Recommendations can be made to advise the government on how to tackle environmental issues and provide direction to ensure sustainable development in Sabah through the Council of Environment Protection (MPAS), says Datuk Christina Liew.

"For instance, a clean and healthy environment is an asset that attracts tourists to Sabah.

“Do utilise your expertise in your respective fields in seeking feasible solutions to environmental problems," said the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister when chairing the first MPAS meeting for this year on Tuesday (May 2).

In a statement on Wednesday (May 3), Liew, who is also MPAS chairman, said she appreciated the comments and suggestions made by council members during the meeting.

Department of Environment Protection (EPD) director Vitalis Moduying, who is the MPAS secretary, facilitated the meeting agenda.

Council members included Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Professor Dr Felix Tongkul and NGO activist Datuk Dr Junaidi Payne as well as representatives from relevant government departments.

Liew added that all this while, the council has been playing an important role in advising the state government on matters relating to implementation of the Environment Protection Enactment (EPAS) 2002, which is enforced by EPD.

"Every ministry, department and agency need to be proactive and committed in working together to address environmental issues in Sabah," she added.

Among issues discussed during the meeting were hill-cutting activities, the management of effluents and solid waste, scheduled waste and sewage as well as the importance of protecting the environment in mining activities.

Liew reminded the council to avoid a recurrence of the Mamut copper mining site, which had caused environmental harm, according to studies.

"Any future mining activities must comply with the provisions stipulated in the Mineral Development Act 1994 (Act 525).

“We must safeguard our environment for posterity by adopting good practices,” she said.

Meanwhile, state Sewerage Services Department director Jennieve Peter said the department, which is under the purview of the Public Works Ministry, said among the challenges faced by them are manpower limitation and financial constraints to run its programmes.

"Illegal structures, for example, water tanks installed at the back alley of shoplots, and building extensions are also hampering the department's operations and maintenance work.

“Dumping of rubbish in the underground drains meanwhile clogs the sewage system," she added.

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