Going green the way forward
| Danial Norjidi |
THERE are opportunities abound for Brunei when moving towards a green future, and the country needs to be wise and more prudent in the way it manages and uses its natural resources like energy and water, as well as its waste generation.
Minister of Development, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Suyoi bin Hj Osman said this while delivering the opening keynote address at the National Environment Conference yesterday.
“Going green does not only mean having green and plush trees, green gardens and landscapes. It goes beyond that. It is about opting for a more sustainable way of living. It is about the choices we make in our everyday life that are more ‘earth-friendly’ and are in the best interest of the environment.
“These choices, however, may not necessarily mean that we have to undertake huge actions or even choose to have a complete overhaul of our own lifestyle, in order to make significant changes and impact the world,” the minister said.
Sharing a personal perspective, he conveyed his view that going green means being environmentally responsible. This, he said, can come from building upon a simple action that gradually transforms into a habit that has a positive impact on the environment.
“Embracing simple actions on reducing, reusing and recycling of waste as a green lifestyle, for example, is a good start,” continued the minister.
“Not only does it make environmental sense, in terms of limiting environmental pollution, particularly on wastes that are disposed at our landfills and conservation of our natural resources like energy and water, it also makes economic sense in terms of revenue generation from materials and by-product sales, creation of new job opportunities and employment, as well as the introduction of new and green technologies, particularly in the business and industrial sector.”
Saying no to plastic bags, reducing the usage of plastic bottles, switching off the lights when not needed, turning off the tap while brushing our teeth, and composting of our food wastes, are some of these few simple actions.
“For us in Brunei Darussalam, recyclables like paper account for approximately 18 per cent, plastics 16 per cent, metals five per cent, yard or green wastes seven per cent and electronic waste or e-waste around one per cent of our total waste composition.”
These, he shared, roughly equate to around 34,000 tonnes of paper, 30,200 tonnes of plastic, 9,400 tonnes of metals, 13,230 tonnes of green waste and 1,900 tonnes of e-waste per annum respectively.
The minister asserted that these wastes have the potential to be diverted away from the waste stream into material resource recovery.
“Ideally, if these wastes are diverted, we can consequently reduce the space these wastes would occupy in our landfill, thus prolonging the lifespan of the landfill,” he said. “This means that we do not have to immediately open up new and green areas for landfills in the very near future, where then the available land can be utilised for other beneficial purposes like housing and other infrastructure developments.”
The minister reaffirmed the strategic thrust of his ministry’s development policies in Brunei is directed at ensuring environmental sustainability, quality living and economic prosperity on an integrated basis.
As such, the ministry has subscribed to many “green moves” to ensure sustainable development in the Sultanate, even though much of Brunei is still blessed with many natural resources and a pristine environment.
These include the integration of environmental dimensions in the planning and implementation of projects through Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); conservation of carbon sink resources; promotion of environmentally sound technology and products in areas like water and the energy sector; educating and engaging public participation on the importance of conserving scarce resources like waste minimisation and wise and efficient management and use of our energy and water in daily consumption; land optimisation; and the promotion of green building.
These efforts all fit into the overall framework of greening Brunei Darussalam, and make positive impacts on the environment towards a clean and green future, he said.
“Going green is not just about the present. It is also about the ever-unfolding future, and it is about the limited resources on planet Earth. And more importantly, it is about how we use and conserve these resources now, so that we are able to sustain it for the benefit of our future generations.
“To conclude, let me put it simply by saying, yes, it does matter – a green future for Brunei Darussalam,” he asserted.
“We need to address this collectively, through inclusive participation and involvement of people from all walks of life, the public and private sectors, and through modifying our habits and making more environmentally friendly choices, in order for us to ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability. Not only for us, but for our children, and their children and their grandchildren.”