Challenges of global environmental issues on ecosystem management in Malaysia

Mohd Nasir Hassan, Muhamad Awang, and Abu Bakar Jaafar
Centre for Environmental Technology and Natural Resource Management (CETNaRM), Department of Environmental Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM-Serdang, Selangor

Environmental problems and their management, particularly when related to urban ecosystems, are becoming increasingly challenging. The end-of-pipe method which has been practiced in the past, and is manifested in our laws and regulations, has gradually changed towards a more pro-active approach. Industries now recognize that environmental management and pollution control are no longer liabilities, but rather opportunities to increase their competitiveness. The general public is increasingly aware of the fact that they have to pay more for management of the environment that is based on the end-of-pipe approach. International agencies and industries world-wide are responding positively with a new paradigm shift towards proactive environmental management through voluntary initiatives. The most challenging task in Malaysia however, is to convince the small and medium scale enterprises to shift from the old to the new management system. While local government agencies remain the key players in the management of urban ecosystems, they still lack human resources and the capacity to handle new challenges. This paper discusses new initiatives towards achieving sustainable urban ecosystem management. It highlights the tools and approaches that are being used as alternatives to the existing end-of-pipe approaches. These tools include, eco-management, wastes minimization, ISO 14000 standardization, design for environment, eco-labeling, life cycle assessment and industrial ecology. Keywords: environmental management, end-of-pipe, paradigm shift, pollution control, green consumerism

Global environmental impacts have been viewed to occur in two waves. The first occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and was evident mainly in national and regional problems associated with industrial pollution in advanced economies. Following the lull brought on by economic disorders between 1973 and 1982 such as double digit inflation, recession in industrial countries and two world oil price shocks, there was a second wave of global impacts. This new wave was much more intense and widespread; ozone

depletion and global warming have emerged as major pollution issues, and issues in which personal values play an important role, such as species diversity, are also increasingly becoming the subject of international debate and a source of friction between countries. This internationalization results from the fact that many of the new issues have transborder features; involving either the physical spillover of pollutants or what might be called psychological spillovers, as in the case of concern over species extinction (Anderson and Blackhurst, 1992). Today, concerns about the environment have given rise to new realities. Environmental

Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, 9(2):269–283, 2006. Copyright DOI: 10.1080/14634980600728800

2006 AEHMS. ISSN: 1463-4988 print / 1539-4077 online

and sustainability. Combustion of motor fuels causes an added influx of volatile organic compounds. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 Figure 1. interdependent organisms can be affected in a chain reaction by a single human activity. the resulting sulphur dioxide being a major atmospheric pollutant. Some consequences may be remedial. Thus. but some potentially reversible. coupled with carbon dioxide (CO2 ) and Nox. It is no longer acceptable to argue that the more goods and services produced. the higher the quality of life will be. The challenge for the new millennium is to develop an industrial system that has minimal socio-ecological impacts. and having global consequences are described below. in The Harvard Business Review on Business and Environment (2000).270 Hassan et al. major environmental problems are related to resource depletion as well as to depletion of natural assets. The major environmental problems facing Malaysia.. Human impacts on natural systems: a conceptual model. This approach. and markets and consumers worldwide are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly products. 1997). local and transboundary emissions play very important roles in determining the status of the atmospheric environment . Are we in Malaysia prepared to take on the challenges posed by these developments? Perhaps the greatest challenge that we face is to understand what “sustainable practices” are and how they can be actualized into all socio-economic sectors in Malaysia. with a single course of action having multiple effects. Truly a journey that would comprise major shifts in business practices. 1995). most business enterprises worldwide are undergoing rapid rearrangement for the better. only one of many schools of thought. nitrous oxides. but the right type. There is increasing evidence that environmental improvement is good business (Porter and Van der Linde. Causes for concern Very few environmental problems (Figure 1) can be accounted for on a simple cause-and-effect basis. Further. issues have been increasingly integrated into international trade. others not. Problems usually stem from a multitude of causes. Some damage may be irreversible. and on their business objectives. Lovins reports. economic reforms that would embrace environmentalism. It is not so much the amount of goods and services per se that produce quality of life. In Malaysia. Atmospheric pollution Atmospheric pollution has long been associated with the burning of fossil fuels. is summarized in Figure 1. This new reality requires businesses to place equal footing both on the environment. without compromising quality of life (Hutchinson and Hutchinson. A multitude of living.e. that businesses are embarking on a journey toward “natural capitalism” i.

On the basis of these parameters. chemical oxygen demand (COD). The Department of Environment uses six parameters for water quality indicators: biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). domestic and commercial furnaces. paints and dyes. it was clearly indicated that in general. 82 percent. lead to environmental damage and the creation of wastes.2 percent. The results of several studies have also provided strong evidence for the assessment of biomass burning as the dominating source of particulate matter during the haze episodes. During the non-haze episodes. The analysis indicated that reductions of local nonbiomass emissions such as those from traffic did not have any effect during haze episodes. out of a total of 10 days.8 percent (DOE. while the late evening peak was mainly attributed to meteorological conditions. 8 days were deemed as extremely unhealthy.6 100 14 64 38 116 12. In 1998. Malaysia and Brunei. Large forest fires in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan during the haze period. 255 river basins were monitored. December 1991 to November 1992 and January 1995 to December 1997 demonstrated two distinct daily air pollution peaks. In Malaysia. 0. Coastal pollution Coastal wastes are known to have been caused not only from oil spills due to accidents at sea. During the haze episode in the months of September to October 1991. and open burning at solid waste disposal sites. the non-haze. through Singapore.5 100 163 59 33 255 63 23 33 100 Source: Department of Environment (1998). In 1996. pH. In Peninsular Malaysia. the percentage of the load by air emission types was as follows: motor vehicles. The major pollutants observed are sulphur dioxide (SO2 ). from agrochemicals to cleaning agents. Even in the Klang Valley. ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N). 2000). Total suspended particulate matter was the main pollutant. Quality of inland water (rivers) in Malaysia.4 58. 9 percent. Table 1. 59 rivers (23 percent) slightly polluted and 33 (14 percent) clean (Table 1). as clearly evident in satellite images. Water pollution The production and use of a multitude of products.2 100 24 71 25 120 21. ozone (O3 ) and total suspended particulate matter. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 271 (Awang et al. the locations of factories are too close to water bodies. the Klang Valley had more than 2/3 of the month of September experiencing unhealthy levels.2 28.7 100 13 61 42 116 11. 5 percent.1 63. vehicular emissions contribute more than seventy percent of the total air emissions in the urban areas.6 36. .2 52. industrial production process. The morning “rush-hour” peak was mainly due to vehicle emissions. Based on the Air Pollution Index established by the Department of Environment.2 46. The levels of other pollutants were generally below the guidelines. Air quality studies conducted in the Klang Valley between 1986 and 1989. but also 1992 Category Very Polluted Slightly Polluted Clean Total 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 No Percent No Percent No percent No percent No percent No percent No percent 7 55 25 87 8. in September 1997.5 62.2 32. industrial fuel burning.7 100 11 73 32 116 9. nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ).1 41. 3 percent.7 100 13 61 42 116 11. suspended solids (SS). and primarily.1 55. their concentrations at a few sites often exceeding recommended Malaysian air quality guidelines.. power stations. in particular PM10 . 1996). carbon monoxide (CO). Daily average emissions of those pollutants in rural areas were found to be much lower than those in the Klang Valley and never exceeded the critical levels for damage to sensitive crops or natural forest species as a result of direct atmospheric exposure. were identified as the probable key sources of the wide spread heavy haze that extended across South East Asia from Indonesia. 0. East Malaysia experienced higher suspended particulate matter (PM10 ) levels than other parts of Malaysia. and haze episodes. a reduction of half of the local non-biomass related pollution will only result in an approximately 25 µg m−3 reduction of the total suspended particulate.9 27. and heavy metals (Mg and Na).1 20. pollution of watercourses is attributed to discharges of effluents from agro-based manufacturing and heavy industries. 163 rivers (63 percent) were found to be very polluted. Air pollution in Malaysia can be divided into two periods. October 1994 and July to November 1997.Hassan et al.

Malaysian beaches affected by tar ball. 2000). The oil spill incident at the Malacca PETRONAS refinery on 19 September 1998 also caused serious pollution.98 Tar Ball (g m−1 trip) 365 86 187 135 316 117 608 210 185 35 5 250 175 20 Langkawi Perak Melaka from effluents discharged inland and carried by rivers to the sea.3 dB(A) (Figure 2) (Department of Environment. 2000).98 14. Pangkor) Pulau Pangkor Laut Beach Pulau Sembilan Beach Pulau Besar Beach Sampling Date 09. State Johor Station Desaru Beach (15429140) Desaru Beach (1542914) Sri Pantai Beach (2339960) Sri Pantai Beach (2339960) Telok Gorek Beach (2538958) Telok Gorek Beach (2538958) Air Papan Beach (2538959) Air Papan Beach (2538959) Tanjung Sepata Beach (1341961) Chenang Beach 9 (P.98 24.07. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 Table 2. 1998. The results show that marine water quality in 1998 had deteriorated slightly compared to the previous year (Jamaluddin.98 24. Almost all Malaysian beaches monitored in 1998 were found to be free from oil pollution in the forms of tar balls. The amount of solid waste collected is 70 percent (Hassan.07. Compared to the 1992 values (75. Growing affluence and increasing concentration of population in urban areas have increased the generation and types of solid waste produced.04. coli. packaging.02. printing.02.272 Hassan et al.98 22. Toxic and hazardous wastes are also one of the minor issues to be discussed.000 m3 of toxic and hazardous wastes were generated in Noise pollution Noise pollution is another environmental issue in Malaysia.07. The island marine water quality monitoring activities in July 1998 showed that tar balls were also spotted on the beach of Pulau Besar (Malacca). Solid and hazardous wastes The problem of solid waste management is not a new issue. 73. From these samples 94.98 17.07. 52 percent of toxic and hazardous waste were generated by electronic industries. In 1998 a total of 836 samples were collected from 231 marine monitoring stations. Escherichia coli (E.98 17.7 percent for E. leading to a 240 g m−1 strip. In .04.03.98 27. solid waste management is one of the most important issues of local authorities. Source: Department of Environment. According to DOE in 1983 and 1984. 1998. The increasing number of motor vehicles in urban areas has contributed to this noise pollution.98 15. A survey in 1985 showed that 22. or is diverted at source or during collection for recycling purposes.7 percent for total suspended solids and 29.04.07. rubber. 14 percent by metal and electroplating industries and the rest were from chemical.02. According to a survey. the Department of Environment conducted a traffic noise level test in selected urban areas and found it to be in the range of 76.4 dB (A) to 83 dB(A)). the noise levels recorded in 1998 showed a significant increase in all urban centres monitored.4 dB(A) to 83.Langkawi) Puteri Dewi Beach (P. compared to 794 samples from 226 monitoring stations in 1997. plastics.98 16. Pulau Pagar Laut and Pulau Sembilan (Perak) and Pulau Langkawi (Kedah). the estimation of solid waste generation in local authorities in Malaysia is summarized in Table 3. The remaining 30 percent not collected ends up in illegal dumping sites. tannery and pharmaceutical industries.98 13. Presently. As in previous years. total suspended solids (TSS). the main contaminants of coastal water in all states were oil and grease (OG).98 14.02.98 17. coli) and heavy metals. except for some beaches in Johore (Table 2) where tar balls were spotted on those beaches between the months of February and April. where much money is spent in the collection and disposal of solid waste (Jamaluddin. 1998).98 14.5 percent of samples exceeded the proposed Marine Interim Standards for oil and grease. 1999).02.

Other environmental concerns Apart from the issues mentioned above. 2000). . Source: Seventh Malaysian Plan. Table 3.Hassan et al. Penang Perak Selangor Negeri Sembilan Melaka Johor Pahang Terengganu Kelantan Kuala Lumpur Labuan Sarawak Sabah Grand Total Estimated Population 77650 1581483 1290924 1618483 1583572 578035 611481 1612650 634660 583907 1041311 1446803 66146 2007528 2115546 16850179 Waste Generation (Tonnes Day−1 ) 62 1265 1033 1295 2375 162 489 1290 508 467 833 2257 46 1405 1481 15268 Amount Collected (Tonnes Day−1 ) 43 885 723 906 1900 323 342 903 358 327 583 2023 32 984 1037 11369 Source: Ministry of Housing and Local Government (1999). 1996–2000. In fact. 2000). Estimated solid waste generation in local authorities in Malaysia State Perlis Kedah P. to global ones (Lee. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 273 Figure 2. of which the greatest amount was acid waste. Peninsular Malaysia. the International trade and the environment Environmental problems today have expanded from local and regional ones. development process has endangered certain endemic species of trees in the country (Abdul Latiff Mohamad. Traffic level noise in selected urban areas in 1992 and 1998. there are also other environmental issues especially in relation to the exploitation of forest and forest products that could result in the loss of biological diversity.

274 Hassan et al. This is because our industrial structure and consumption pattern are not environmentally friendly. These increases. environmental loads from the manufacturing stage are relatively high. such as the protection of endangered species. Should the good be exported (as is the case of industries in many developing countries). Market failure Many environmental problems can be traced to the absence of markets for most of nature’s services. Corporations consume resources and emit environmental emissions because of the products they manufacture. Environmental loads from the use and disposal stages are much greater than that from the manufacturing stage. which show very few signs of slowing down. and average per capita income in the world has increased about 40 percent (Anderson and Blackhurst. potable water. A typical example would include durable goods such as home appliances and automobiles. 1992). The implications of trade liberalization Most countries including Malaysia are adopting an open economy and according to Anderson and Blackhurst (1992). however. and the self-purification capacity of the natural environment all have their own limits. this has significant impacts on the environment particularly for developing countries in the following forms: r Opening up to trade of a product whose production is relatively pollution-intensive (mostly from small and medium-scale industries) improves the environment and welfare of a small country if it imports the good. not significant quantities compared to what a product generates during its life cycle. filtered sunlight. opening to trade worsens the country’s environment. it can be concluded that environmental loads occurring throughout a product life cycle are the main cause of today’s environmental problem. however. raise a different question about property rights: how to manage certain assets which may be owned (by a nation state) and yet are considered by some people as belonging to the world at large (as parts of the global commons). Conversely. Thus. the ozone layer. Recent calculations published by the journal Nature placed the conservative value of the earth’s r . individuals are unlikely to fully take into account the impact of their use of nature’s resources on the rest of the population. This is because human society depends heavily on industrial products to sustain its living standard. are adding substantially to the demand for the goods and services provided by the natural environment. the total load is still greater than that from the manufacturing stage. The air we breathe. most lakes and rivers and large tracts of forest are not privately owned. Natural resources including mineral ores and fossil fuels. natural foods and medicines). such resources are vulnerable to degradation in a number of ways. This public concern is not temporary. the opposite result holds: opening to trade improves the environment if that good is exported but (in the absence of appropriate environmental policy) worsens the environment if it is imported. In the case of emissions and waste disposal. if consumption rather than production of this good is the source of pollution (for example The paradigm shift The way that humans have mistreated the earth is primarily due to failure to appreciate the value of the ecosystem. the scientific basis for many of the concerns is more solid now then was the case twenty years ago. chemical fertilizers and insecticides). aesthetic and recreational services (such as visiting or even just knowing of the existence of unspoiled wilderness areas). these include raw materials for producing energy and other primary products. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 It is a well-known fact that the global environmental carrying capacity has its limit. Without the assignment and enforcement of private property rights or some other form of government intervention. human health services (clean air. the annual production of goods and services has nearly doubled. Life cycle environmental loads Industry or individual corporations are the single most important source of all these environmental problems. One reason is that even though uncertainties remain. These are. This is the case of importing a “clean” good whose production in another country causes pollution. For goods like paper towels and aluminum foil. there is a growing concern that a sustainable society may not be achievable. use and disposal—are the main reasons this global environmental carrying capacity is being exceeded. Another is that the world’s population has increased by one and a half billion since 1970 (an increase of more than 40 percent). Irrational resource consumption together with irresponsible environmental pollution resulting from the entire product life cycle—raw material acquisition. agricultural productivity. Other issues. From this discussion. the oceans. and the capacity to absorb wastes. manufacturing.

Environmental management has undergone significant changes in the past 20 years. 2000). Collection. environmental policy makers in the Netherlands and Germany recognized that packaging wastes may be reduced in quantity by imposing financial burden on the producer. The initiative was the introduction of a voluntary program called environmental management into the corporation’s management. the global environment problems have not been mitigated: rather. product function. they tend to have been aggravated.Hassan et al. to pollution prevention and ultimately proper manufacturing designs for the benefit of the environment (Figure 3). atmosphere regulation. Sincere efforts have been exerted in implementing the command and control practices in most of the developed nations although they are burdensome to most corporations. A holistic approach is required if total degradation of the environment is to be avoided over the long term. After realizing the importance of the services provided by nature. Since 1990. the cost associated with the waste product’s collection. Typical regulations based on the EPR concept include the packaging waste order in Germany. This is the basis of the concept of the extended producer responsibility (OECD. environmental laws and regulations have aimed at commanding and controlling the environmental load occurring during the manufacturing stage of a product. under EPR.g. It was a norm that manufacturers were responsible for the product only during its manufacturing stages (e. They were not responsible for the environmental problems caused by the waste product discarded after use. not on the consumer. etc.). the emerging EPR policy and growing pressure from the public. at $33 trillion USD a year.. industries decided to take the initiative in overcoming the environmental problems. much progress has taken place in terms of the development of advanced technologies and environmental management principles. Industries and other polluters have shifted from just the end-of-pipe control treatment of waste. and voluntary agreement on the cost bearing of waste automobile treatment among German auto-makers (Lee. production cost and environmental pollution control. However. . Traditionally. treatment and disposal should be borne by the manufacturer. Greening of world trade—natural capitalism There is definitely still much room for improvement in terms of the proliferation of these new technologies and principles that will create a better global environment in the future. the packaging covenant in the Netherlands. In response to the apparent failure of the command and control policies. treatment and disposal of the waste products were the responsibility of the government and local authorities. The paradigm shift in environmental management. 1996). / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 275 ecosystem services—water storage. climate control and so on. However. Forward-looking businesses are Figure 3.

clean energy) and institutional (e. and the ever-greater interdependence between the world’s national economies. It rests on the idea of very simple but profound changes in the way businesses are run. productivity of natural resources. geographical strategies) information on how to implement and measure progress of environmental management practices are also needed.g. companies adopt closed loop r The third stage needs a basic change of business r model—from one of selling products to one of delivering services. sustain. Both technical (e. legal. Monitoring programmes with suitable indicators and contingency plans are also nowadays considered important follow-ups to EIAs. Many of the striking advancements in improving environmental performance come from using nature as a guide. The greening of world trade issues has been an inevitable consequence of not having well-developed and enforceable environmental property rights. Corporate environmental strategies have also evolved to include decision-making tools such as the conventional approaches such as environmental impact assessment (EIA) and waste minimization or the more recent initiatives such as eco-efficiency. There are two central waste strategies that companies can adopt in their pursuit of waste minimization. a more comprehensive means to reduce pollution is believed by many to be through prevention. recycling and disposal. Instead. The more comprehensive approaches are the life-cycle assessment (LCA) and design for environment (DFE). production systems that yield no waste or toxicity. eco-auditing. The second is to minimize the amount of . zero emission technologies. Thus. Eco-management By now.276 Hassan et al. Treading this path requires primarily information on how to increase efficiency in terms of energy and materials use with the objective of improving environmental performance. as well as any possible socio-economic impacts that may accrue. is to be developed. regulatory. The approach puts forth strategies not only for protecting the biosphere but also for improving profits and competitiveness. output and incomes. The process includes a wideranging consultation process with statutory and nonstatutory institutions in order to understand all implications of expansions or purchase. built on advance techniques for making resources more productive. and to assess the benefits or drawbacks of any mitigating measures proposed. Huang and Hunkeler (1997) pointed out that industries are more aware and responsive to consumers’ demands and expectations and are developing and uti- Waste minimization or cleaner production Waste minimization has been subject to a whole host of international interest in terms of legislation and regulations since the mid-1980s. the improved understanding of the nature and extent of environmental degradation (including the global commons) caused by mankind activities. financial. supply chain management and green marketing. in order to assess the effectiveness of the process. firms should accept responsibility for environmental impacts which were once regarded as incidental externalities. The last stage involves reinvesting in natural capital to restore. The first is to deal with the waste after it has been generated and to mitigate its effects on the environment. and eco-labels. transportation. Research and experience have shown that industry cannot continue merely to treat the symptoms of environmental problems. Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) EIAs are undertaken when a new project.” a journey that comprises of four major shifts in business practices. and expand the planet’s ecosystem. manufacturing. they have to move from an environmental management paradigm that focuses on clean up and control to one that embraces avoidance of environmental harm. The pressure on the environment from increasing population. by attacking the source of pollution at every stage of the product life cycle that include raw material extraction. r The first stage involves dramatically increasing the r In the second stage. An EIA is a systematic gathering of all relevant quantitative and qualitative information by experts in consultation with informed parties in order to enable informed decision-making. materials substitution. The EIA assesses all significant direct and indirect environmental effects on the surrounding environment. or modifications of an existing project. lizing technologies to manufacture environmentally “friendly” products. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 embarking on a journey toward “natural capitalism.g. product use. has also served to further this cause.

r Maximization of sustainable use of renewable rer Extension of product durability. Raw material costs. On-site waste monitoring and treatment costs.. analyse. services. as well as occupational health and safety where appropriate. Improved: r Operational safety. awareness and training are essential elements in progressive green marketing.. r Company image in the eyes of shareholders and other stakeholders. policies and good practices that directly or indirectly affect the environment. . Energy and water costs consumption. It is used to compile and report all pertinent information related to the environment. or production and process system in relation to the laws. The BCSD advocated progress towards eco-efficiency through seven key routes (Hassan et al.” A life-cycle and system approach is regarded as necessary to bring human economic activity in line with the earth’s estimated carrying capacity (Awang et al. Logos were “greened. measure and disclose a company’s environmental performance. sources. It defined eco-efficiency in terms of the delivery of competitively priced goods and services designed to satisfy human need and enhance quality of life while “progressively reducing environmental impacts and resource intensity throughout the entire life cycle. It provides an in-depth procedural analysis of performance measurements and targets. ecological auditing measures and analyses all aspects of company policy and operations with respect to their environmental impact and consequences. encouraging others to do the same and informing stakeholders of the priority of ethical management in the new millennium. transport. the global market was flooded by claims of differing validity. Spurious claims and false or misleading statements have been made by companies keen to cash in on the new green consumer seeking to achieve mere marketing advantage. promotions. the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BSCD. packaging. personnel. r Minimization of the material intensity of goods and r Minimization of energy intensity of goods and r Elimination of toxic dispersion. If a company is to invest significant amounts of capital and time to improve its environmental performance. 1998). thereby reducing the amount of mitigation required at the end of the process. Eco-efficiency In its report to the June 1992 Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development: UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. product. and in subsequent workshops. Full-costs accounting. Charter (1992) considers seven aspects of green marketing: price. services. people. r Enhancement of material recyclability. and employee commitment. Environmental auditing is the evaluation of a site. r r r r r r Production costs. regulations. eco-labelling. plant. r Increased service intensity of goods and services. Despite growing consumer suspicion of these green marketing claims. Risk of spills and accidents. The dividends of a prevention strategy as opposed to an end-of-pipe approach to waste management are summarized as follows: Reduced: Eco-auditing The environmental audit has evolved from regulatory and customer pressure to quantify. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 277 waste generated in the first place. process and physical evidence. place. Company images were whitewashed in an attempt to deceive the public about their environmental credentials. 1999): Supply chain management and green marketing During the 1980s and 1990s. offering a management approach to deal strategically with environmental issues primarily as a means to meet legislative requirements.Hassan et al. now the WBCSD) promoted the concept of eco-efficiency. r Income through the sale of reusable waste.” but practices continued. business as usual. Even when financial returns are not immediate. Eco-audit attempts to consider environmental performance from a holistic angle. Rather than viewing green issues as purely a risk management issue. Long-term environmental liability and insurance costs. it should clearly communicate these improvements to all stakeholders. most waste minimization exercises are as cost-effective as treatment or disposal. there are important reasons for considering green marketing. advertising and claims.

advertising or any form of publicity.environmentalchoice. and the issue of lack of uniformity has been raised among trade proponents. conserve resources and habitats. By the early 1990s. that it increase the potential to stimulate environmental improvement in product with the condition that the manufacturers may place the labels. restrictions. By definition (Husseini.A. the ecolabelling scheme was established to all members of the European Union in 1991. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 If a green marketing strategy is to be successful it needs to be backed up by concrete evidence. However. Eventually. is a self-declared environmental claim. Today. and minimize global warming and ozone depletion (http://www. the Green Seal is an independent.278 Hassan et al. and barriers to international trade. These emerging environmental labels have been interpreted differently by various consumers. The aim of the EU ecolabelling scheme was to ameliorate the growing number of corporate environmental claims and to protect consumer and most importantly. the effects of the life cycle of a product or service on the environment. Three types of labeling have been established. .S. as packaging has valuable functions to perform: Figure 4.. symbols or graphics on products or packaging. Example of a variety of logos for eco-labels. many countries have introduced their own eco-labeling schemes as shown in Figure 4. Packaging Packaging is an important element in the design and marketing of the product. literature or technical bulletins. eco-labeling practice does influence exports and imports in that it is being used to unfairly discriminate against certain products through the adoption of local and regional environmental labels. The objectives are to ensure that eco-labeling is accurate. Subsequently it was recommended that an ad hoc advisory group encourage the International Organization of Standard (ISO) to develop standards in the field of environmental labeling. Eco-labelling Essentially the eco-labelling program was started as a process that would advise consumers as to which products constituted an environmental choice. environmental labeling is any environmental declaration that describes or It might be in the form of statements. 2006). Type I.html). 80 percent of households in Germany were aware of the scheme and its implications and the idea had spread throughout the developed verifiable and not misleading. without independent third party certification.ecomark. Such standardized labels would better enable purchasers to make informed choices when buying goods and services. by whatever means.” Such certifica- tion is granted by the practitioner seal program which is sponsored by a government or operated privately. introduced by the Nordic Council of Ministers to that a product is a good environmental choice (http://www. The Government of Canada’s EcoLogo is a multi-attribute environmental certification mark that helps buyers find sustainable products (http://www. is a third-party certified “eco-label. Type II. Type III. The concept of eco-labelling originated in the German Blue Angel Scheme in 1978.greenseal. The Swan is the official Nordic eco-label. that it reduce marketplace confusion. conveys quantitative information of a product’s environmental performance that is derived from life cycle inventory data or life cycle assessment. Designed to inform consumers about the environmental excellence of a product and to amalgamate the increasing number of individual country environmental labels. The seal programs require manufacturers to meet a minimum standard or a “threshold” in order to receive the seal of the program. This is controlled through proper eco-labelling practices. The Eco Mark of the Japan Environment Association marks products useful for environmental protection (http://www. provided they follow specific requirements set forth in the ISO 14021 standard.asp). From the U.svanen. the EU label was intended to offer consumers the ability to make valid choices between different and competing products in the same category of objective environmental criteria. non-profit organization that strives to achieve a cleaner environment by identifying products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste.

r Design mono-materially. ADEME has collected 90 eco-design case studies from industries in France that have incorporated DFE into the product development processes. Design for environment Design for Environment (DFE) integrates environmental aspects or environmental considerations into the product development. Some of the positive results from DFE application in industries are as follows (Crittenden and Kolaczkowki. Business policy and strategies for evolution towards sustainability (Source: Storen. 1998).Hassan et al. The strategies for evolution towards sustainability is depicted in Figure 5 (Storen. 1995): recycling channels. this criterion could be achieved though. 1999).” into practice (French Agency for Environment and Energy Management. A product is “easily recyclable” when the materials it comprises can be recycled in existing channels at reasonable costs. It protects the product. In the design stage. and ultimately to the product’s final disposal (Canadian Standard Association. r Choose materials that are compatible with existing r Plan for future material separation. 1995. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 279 r r r r It displays essential legal and consumer information. Companies are therefore required to assess the environmental impact of the packaging materials and to seek out more sustainable designs and materials. r Consider the recovery and disposal at the end of the product’s life. Figure 5.. The volume of single-use packaging has given rise to problems of disposal. The French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) has put words such as “prevention is better than cure” and “avoid polluting practices rather than having to manage the consequences. reuse. including assessing the potential for recycling and reuse of the packaging materials. The choices designers make during the development of a new or improved product will have an influence on the environmental impacts during each stage of product’s life cycle—from acquiring materials to manufacturing. It presents the brand image. forcing reconsideration of the amount and type of packaging employed. It avoids unnecessary spillage in transit. . Hassan et al. giving rise to legislative pressures. DFE in practice The most aggressive efforts on DFE is carried out in France. 1999). use. 1998).

Hence. assess and solve the environmental concerns associated with products. was refined in the 1980s in order to solve a systematic difficulty faced when trying to improve product ecological characteristics. Zulina et al. via their suppliers and customers. An LCA Figure 6.280 Hassan et al. 1996)... Reduction of phosphorous in waste water by reduction in use of phosphate-containing chemicals. Imagine an owner of a restaurant who would like to reduce the environmental impact of his business activity. with other processes and activities. Ecological design intelligence is not just about things like technologies. The area surrounding the industrial system boundary is defined as the system environment. the methodology of life cycle assessment emerged in order to standardize various approaches. he will transfer the contamination from one process to another. Life-cycle approach No products are totally environmentally friendly. This leads some environmentalists to the conclusion that the only true green business is no business at all. The industrial system (Source: Boguski et al. process or activity (Awang et al. LCA analyzes the environmental burdens along the continuum of a product’s life cycle and provides information on a “per service basis” to the user to help identify. water and alkaline solutions.. the life cycle. He decides to replace the paper towels with textile ones to reach his goal. i. Replacement of solvent-based paints. From the idea of analyzing activities from the life cycle perspective. Industrial processes and activities do not occur in isolation but are instead interlinked. The concept of life cycle assessment. and activities. which appeared in the 1950s–1970s. The LCA methodology stems from the idea that industrial processes and activities are systemic in nature. He wishes to accomplish this goal by reducing the disposable paper towels that his clients use to dry their hands in the wash room. Hassan et al. life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool that can be used to systematically evaluate the environmental effects of a product. However. Ecological design Orr (1994) calls for “ecological design intelligence” and this requires the capacity to understand the ecological context in which human live. processes. The industrial system can be represented by any organizational system that has environmental aspects. It is the ability to calibrate human purposes and natural constraints and do so with grace and economy.. . Replacement of solvent-based developing system by a water-based system in the manufacturing of printed circuit board. Replacement of hexavalent chromium salts by trivalent chromium salts in plating operations. inks and adhesive formulations with water-based materials. he will also increase another type of contamination by repetitive washing of the textile towels—consumption of detergents. Increase in the purity of purchased raw materials to eliminate the use of trace quantities of hazardous impurities. Any industrial system can be represented by a system boundary that encompasses all the operations of interest (Figure 6) (Boguski et al. which is the waste in the bathroom. since all productive processes have some impact on the environment. The restaurant owner’s decision has reduced the source of contamination. is not considered. it is illustrated that analyzing the ecological interest of a decision with respect to one product is meaningless if the global balance. Substitution of chemical biocides by alternatives. Replacement of cyanide plating baths with less toxic alternatives. such as ozone. to recognize limits and to get the correct scale of things.. Substitution of a more durable coating to increase coating life. whereby a solution to one environmental problem leads to greater deterioration at another place or time in the life-cycle. water and energy.e. This is known as “contaminant transfer”. rendering them all interdependent. it is possible to assess the life cycle of any product in order to reduce its impact on the environment. Outputs in the form of products and by-products transfer from one operation to another. 2000. 1996). From the example. pollution of water. The following is an example of the “contaminant transfer” phenomenon. However. Hence. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 r Replacement of chlorinated solvents in cleaning and r r r r r r r r degreasing operations by non-chlorinated solvents. 1999. 1999). At its heart ecological design intelligence is motivated by an ethical view of the world order and our obligations to it. etc.

. In this respect. raised many possibilities and unknown dangers. cides. materials. insects. while providing high and increasing services Biotechnology and genetic engineering: Dream or nightmare? By the late twentieth century scientific advances offered solutions to human problems through a new form of biotechnology. Industrial ecology seeks to provide technical understanding that encourages systems of production and consumption that can be sustained for very long periods of time without significant environmental harm. Genetic engineering. and produced reusable products such as bioplastics from corn. Industrial ecosystems are developed on an understanding of how energy. It takes a systems view of industry in developing strategies to facilitate more efficient use of material and energy resources and to reduce the release of hazardous as well as nonhazardous wastes to the environment (Figure 7). on how the term “industrial ecology” offers a framework within which to improve knowledge and decisions about materials use. might not only minimize pollution. Figure 7.Hassan et al. Work involving gene therapy has saved lives and increased food production through genetic manipulation of certain crops. waste reduction. The biological model is attractive due to the manner in which nature developed its constituents to live off the bodies and wastes of one another. and Switzerland. Industrial ecology During the past few years. emitting only micro amounts of wastes and pollutants. Netherlands. Japan. 1993) to organize the development of an LCA methodology— how to conduct LCA in a consistent and transparent manner. Areas of research include the development of: r Strains of staple foods which are resistant to herbir Strains of fruit and vegetables with improved storing r Animals with improved productivity. Biotechnology and genetic engineering also have actual applications in (Mannion and Bowlby. The term “industrial ecology” suggests that models of non-human biological systems and their interactions in nature are instructive for industrial systems. much research has been conducted. to the large human population already present. Germany. for example in Austria. viruses and drought. the ability to take genes for a particular characteristic and insert them in a different plant and animal species. such as increasing milk yield in cows. the utilisation of microorganisms for environmental bioremediation in addressing toxic wastes. 1994): qualities. and still likely to grow. Italy. and chemicals flow through various interlinked processes (Adapted from National Science and Technology Council. 1995). Concept of industrial ecology. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 281 framework has been developed by SETAC (1991. Canada. and pollution prevention and ultimately as a way of approaching sustainable development using nature as a guide. The bio-molecular revolution will ultimately challenge the ability to manipulate life almost at all will. but become a source of energy. Denmark. The ultimate objective of industrial ecology is the emergence of an economy that cycles virtually all of the materials it uses.

1994). pp. Awang. Trade. sometimes called “biogas” (Abdullah et al. organic material from domestic waste. long-term developments for change to be pioneered through education for sustainability. A preliminary analysis of greenhouse gases emission from a landfill site in Klang Valley. Protection and clean-up of specific sites. However. 2. Media presentation and publicity. local consumers on choices of goods. 2000. could be successful without public support. In a similar way. The partnership between educational providers and the local community is particularly important in . transportation and leisure patterns for environmental sustainability.. Blackhurst R. these levels being: References Abdullah. Such values need to be nurtured right from infancy. as well as human genes and human cell lines from indigenous peoples. 1992. Pollution control. the media. The harnessing of natural processes to serve human needs has infinite and intriguing potential for practical application.fostering environmental awareness. This should involve the participation of governmental institutions. B. the immorality of the “patents of life”— transgenic animals.). Sham Sani (1999) suggested that values associated with environmental ethics need to be embraced by everyone. Hassan. JSPS-VCC Seminar on Integrated Engineering. Thus. 72–103. For example. / Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 9 (2006) 269–283 r Waste disposal technology involving treatment of in. In: K Anderson.. It has been recognised that no legislation and no conservation programme. A person who is highly skilled in environmental technology. however good its design. A. 1994. Environmental education The final requirement is for local. resulting in the explosive and potentially hazardous discharge of methane.). Ho (1998) discussed an unprecedented alliance between bad science and big business suggesting that consumers should be critical of scientists “tampering with nature” and “scrambling the genetic code of species” by introducing human genes into animals and animal genes into vegetables. Staff training. Degradation of biological materials to produce fuels such as ethanol. Conclusions Our aim in the future is to develop an economic system that has a high quality of life with the lowest possible resource use. administrators and the private sector right down to school children and ordinary people in the street. biotechnology and genetic engineering have their own problems. and crucial in establishing a sustainable quality of life. colleges and universities may provide different levels of responsibilities through courses to industry and the public. She warns of unexpected effects on agriculture and biodiversity. plants and seeds taken freely by geneticists of developed countries from the Third World. schools. K.. Cultivation of fungi or algae to produce food for animals and humans. Engineering Achievement and Challenges. In: Jamaluddin Md. Abdul Latiff Mohamad. pp 702–708. sewage or agriculture wastes can be biosynthesized by bacteria. may not necessarily have the passion for the preservation of the environment. Malaysia. is often forgotten but nevertheless equally important. Proceedings of the 5th. Blackhurst (Eds. for example. Malaysia: a case study. Cities should focus on measures that promote green consumerism and its implementation in the environmental business sector.. Kesan Pembangunan Sosio-Ekonomi Ke Atas Kepelbagaian Biology Khususnya Status Spesies Tumbuhan di Malaysia. domestic waste dumped in landfill sites degrades through natural microbial processes. VOL. as the training for specific skills. Johor Baharu. It is vital to inform r r dustrial or sewage effluents through bacteria (bioremediation technology). Waste management. JSPS-VCC. the environment and public policy. Education of the masses includes all sections of the community from politicians. M. Malaysia. M. R. the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in order to reach all target groups. The r r r r r r Product design. the education of the masses.. Many ecological and environmental projects have been designed to incorporate an educational aspect. Education for the masses The second aspect of human resource development. N.282 Hassan et al. Universiti Kebangsaan. a valuable source of energy. Anderson. M. This could only come from well-informed citizens who are fully committed to their right to quality environment. The ecological development of our cities and towns requires the establishment of systems that maximize the efficient use of resources and minimize the export of wastes into the environment. Jahi (Ed.. to create methane. of the dangers of “genetic pollution” that cannot be reversed. Pengurusan persekitaran di Malaysia: Isu dan Cabaran. Bangi Pusat Pengajian Siswazah. Environmental education is a multidirectional process.

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