Indonesian Haze

Loads of chemicals and hazardous wastes have been introduced into the atmosphere that didn't even exist in 1948. The environmental condition of the planet is far worse than it was 42 years ago.                                                                                                                                                                       ~~Gaylord Nelson~~

There were so many critics about the damage done by the burning forest in our neighbour country. Every year, we are forced to inhale the exported air pollution happened since 1998. Being an avid believer of staying healthy, I have missed the blue sky of practising Tai Chi in the morning. The beautiful cocktail-blue sky seems no longer possible; it has faded to the gravel grey for the past 18 years. 

Every year, Malaysia is getting emissions of smoke, dust, smells that caused by the open burning of forest or plantation by our neighbour country. A nuisance to our daily life prompted our industry players to think about the importance of fulfilling the business’s environmental obligations.  

Many a time, we have taken things for granted, we fail to appreciate the beauty of blue sky, with the good quality and refreshing air around us. Responsibility towards the environment is getting important in today’s business. Not to forget the dyeing and printing sectors in the Textile Industry that generate huge quantity of toxic effluent after dyeing or printing of fabrics. Are we also neglecting the need to take necessary precaution to help controlling the potential environmental risks to our own soil here? 

Leaders in the Textile and Apparel industry must exemplify to address the issues of hazardous waste including the material that presents particular environmental risks or can harm sickness (e.g. dyeing chemical, printing paste and unwanted fabrics) which will bring catastrophic consequences for our future generations. Plans of isolating the solid waste that can be recycled must be carried out before sending to landfill in order to reduce its environmental impact. 

Last week, Segamat River was discharged with contaminated effluent from a factory polluting the entire river. As a result, the whole town was stopped getting the water supply for a day. Again, it is imperative to treat liquid waste before disposal especially in the factory. 

Incidentally, the potentially harmful dye or printing substances should be kept and discharged before and after use. We must prevent accidental contamination of groundwater with harmful contaminants. Factories should always avoid throwing away harmful substances into our own drains or garbage tank or our own backyard which can be contaminated.

As we look back, in particular cases, we can see how ignorance of business owners for showing unethical manner towards the environment which has brought sufferings to us today. At times, we may be held responsible for contaminated land we own or occupy if whoever causing the contamination cannot be identified. 

Understanding the importance of corporate responsibility towards our environment is crucial for good business. It impacts creation of good corporate reputation. But one thing for sure is the responsibility towards environment plays a crucial role in our existing and future lives and business. 

Are we ready to play our role now? Or should we do nothing but be grateful as what Indonesia Vice President said, “For 11 months, they enjoyed nice air from Indonesia and they never thanked us. In fact, they got upset just because of one month suffering from the haze caused by Indonesia.”

~ contributed  by  Mr. Liaw Fenn Yenn, TARUC Branch Campus Head on 28/9/2015~

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