TENTATIVE DATE: 6th May 2023
The Earth Day 2023: Importance of Mangrove Trees will be organized by the American Chemical Society Universiti Sains Malaysia International Student Chapter (ACS USM) on 6th May 2023. Collaborations with Water Watch Penang (WWP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) are initiated to raise environmental preservation and sustainability practices awareness. The event will be held at Pusat Pendidikan Kecil Hutan Paya Laut, located at Sungai Acheh, Nibong Tebal.
Malaysia is one of the countries with a large mangrove forest area and diverse ecosystems. Mangrove tree grows in salty coastal areas. The mangrove ecosystem has been shown to have a significant impact on biodiversity and the environment. Mangrove forests, with their tree roots partially above the water, can protect coastlines from damaging winds, waves, and floods. It plays an important role in improving water quality by filtering pollutants and trapping sediments from the land, as well as filtering seawater. With the effects of climate change becoming more severe, mangroves can assist the local ecosystem in adapting and have become more resilient to environmental changes. Most importantly, the mangrove forest serves as a nursery for various ocean life species living on coral reefs.
Water Watch Penang is a Malaysian non-governmental organisation dedicated to increasing public awareness of water issues. Furthermore, Sahabat Alam Malaysia seeks to preserve the ecological diversity of nature through environmental justice. Two non-governmental organisations have similar perspectives on efforts to create a sustainable environment. As such, the President of Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association, Encik Ilias Shafie has accepted the invitation to guide us throughout the planting session. This event provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn and understand the ecosystem of mangrove forests and the role of mangrove forests in ensuring rich biodiversity.
From an environmental aspect, this event aims to:
● Preserve the dynamic biological ecosystem in the mangrove forest at Sungai
Acheh, Nibong Tebal.
From an individual aspect, this event aims to:
● Instill awareness in students towards the importance of preserving the mangrove ecosystem.
● Provide a platform for in-person experience education on preserving the mangrove forest.
From a local community aspect, this event aims to：
● To promote awareness and knowledge on sustainable development of water sources of local communities.
From an organizational aspect, this event aims to:
● Build engagement among the NGOs, students, and the local community.
With the same vision as Water Watch Penang, our student chapter is committed to community and environmental sustainability. The program is designed primarily in two directions. The first is the sustainable management of water resources (SDG 6). The second relates to his SDG 12 which focuses on the efficient use of natural resources. Below is a detailed description of the program’s SDGs.
SDG6 CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
By promoting the use of alternative water sources (rainwater) for non-potable purposes and the use of water-saving devices, we will ensure that all people have access to and sustainably manage water and sanitation facilities, while raising awareness of the importance of clean water sources. Through this program, innovative products will be created and participants will understand the importance of water.
SDG12 RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
As human beings, it is an undeniable fact that we depend on natural resources for our lives. Biodiversity loss due to over-consumption of natural resources and human activities. Deforestation measures to build houses will greatly impact our future generations. Awareness of sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources should be passed on to all through education.
This event would be a day event, scheduled from morning 8.30 a.m. until 5.30 p.m. Our targeted participants are 35 students from USM.
On the event day, all participants are requested to gather at the pick-up point in the university (to be confirmed). Once everyone is ready, the bus will depart to the Jetty Tanjung Berembang Sungai Kerian for water collection, which will be used as water samples for testing work later. Then, everyone will go to the mangrove planting center at Nibong Tebal, Sungai Acheh. The Mangrove tree planting session will take 1 hour and 30 minutes. Before planting the trees, the President of Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association, Encik Ilias Shafie will give some briefing on the steps to plant the mangrove trees and the importance of mangrove trees to our environment ecosystem.
After every mangrove tree is planted, an invited speaker from Sahabat Alam Malaysia will present an educational talk relating to environmental issues, in conjunction with Chemists Celebrate Earth Day by ACS.
After the lunch break, a water preservation and education session will be held. In this session, Water Watch Penang will have a water conservation talk and run hands-on activities on river water testing. The engagement of local communities is encouraged as they will be living in the area for a long period afterward.
The event will end with a photography session. Participants are estimated to arrive at USM at 5.30 p.m.
8.30 a.m. Departure from USM
9.30 a.m. Water collection at Jetty Tanjung Berembang Sungai Kerian
10.00 a.m. Mangrove tree planting
11.30 a.m. Session with Sahabat Alam Malaysia
12.30 p.m. Lunch
1.30 p.m. Session with Water Watch Penang
4.00 p.m. Photography session
4.15 p.m. Adjourned
5.30 p.m. Arrive at USM
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world, affecting the way students learn. Students have no practical, physical access to learning knowledge outside of academic textbooks. We hope that this event will bring participants to expose the nature of a well preserved mangrove ecosystem, which in turn will influence their subsequent actions and decisions in their daily lives in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
Additionally, the education system may not currently offer enough real-world applications. There is a gap between discursive and practical education. Lab experiments and industrial training are examples of hands-on training. Gaps in education can be filled through excursions and physical activities, and knowledge can be applied to everyday life.
Additionally, many NGOs and institutions have resources of information and knowledge at hand, but face engagement issues. It is important to get engagement from society, especially from students to run meaningful and impactful activities and events.
This environmental protection event may contribute to efforts to create a sustainable environment. Some villagers living around Sungai Acheh are engaged in fishing. This event will create mutual benefits between students and the community. Traditional socio-economic chains can be maintained and developed at the same time.