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Greening Malaysia requires commitment to environmental ethics

A clean, health environment - a fundamental right - small escapes by franzisko hauser/Flickr

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The Association for Community and Dialogue (Acid) welcomes the statement by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that the government is reviewing the compounds and penalties under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to curb the rampant pollution activities by irresponsible quarters in Malaysia.

Following increasing reports of water pollution in the country, Muhyiddin said the government was committed to ensuring that Malaysians get to enjoy a cleaner and healthier environment.

While 2020 and the first movement control order, which was implemented last year, provided some relief to the environment as Malaysians experienced clearer skies and cleaner air, Muhyiddin said this was not sufficient.

“The challenges of the global lockdowns have given respite to the environment when industrial activities were reduced, but at the same time, new norms had added a new set of environmental issues in the form of indiscriminate disposal of face masks and the heavy use of plastic for takeaways.”

He said the challenge now was to restore economic activities without reactivating environmental degradation.

Acid believes that while the prime minister has shown concern for the environment, more commitment to environmental ethics is needed from those in the corridors of power, the business community and the people.

With the increasing deterioration of ecosystems, on which human beings rely, and the aggravation of the environmental crisis, human beings have realised that we cannot rely on economic and judicial methods alone to solve environmental pollution and ecological imbalances.

Only after we have an appropriate attitude towards nature and establish a new ethical relationship between human beings and nature will we be able to love and respect nature automatically and conscientiously.

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Only with the guidance of such love and respect can we successfully deal with the issues of environmental pollution and ecological imbalances.

Towards this end, authorities, in consultation with all stakeholders, must come up with a document on environmental ethics that would guide government policies for all sectors, in moving the nation forward to meet sustainable development goals. – New Straits Times

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