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Climate Change News

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Malaysia’s proposed second national car project could be a purely electric-vehicle (EV) initiative, in line with the new government’s emphasis and concerns on the impact of climate change, as well as the environment’s preservation.

Read more: Electric-based national car proposal being developed

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Grocery bags, water bottles, cling wraps, food containers, coffee stirrers and plastic straws — all these have polluted our lives one way or the other. REUTERS

Climate change. Greenhouse gases. Fish farms. Palm oil production. Pesticides. Overpopulation. Overconsumption. Plastic waste.

What do all these global environmental challenges have in common?

Read more: The last straw

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Photo by Angel Ko Ko

This year’s theme for World Environment Day is plastic pollution, a scourge on Myanmar that is more easily seen in its beaches, mountains, and cities than its dearth of reliable statistics.

But over the past year string of hopeful environmental initiatives are pushing back against unnecessary waste. One example is Yangon’s “Straws Suck,” an increasingly popular campaign to drop non-reusable plastic straws in bars and restaurants.

Introduced by Nikki Barltrop, chief operating officer of 57Below Catering, the campaign has attracted some of the city’s biggest establishments; even KFC is now offering straws only on request. Meanwhile, some four-month-old bamboo straw firm Palü is offering a reusable and biodegradable alternative to diners.

Palü joined several other groups in a talk on tackling plastic pollution, hosted by sustainable consultancy and change agencyConyatCreate at Urban Village on June 4.

“There have always been environmental initiatives in Myanmar, it has just sped up over the last six months,” Anastacia Howe, founder ofConyatCreate, told MYANMORE. “We realize there are a lot of great things happening. We see our role as helping all these players shape the conversation, but tying in the way.”

The “why” ranges from toxins in microplastics ingested by marine life and ascending the food chain, to the recent landfill fire in Hlaing Thar Yar township that hospitalized 26 people—a noxious two-week blaze that some say could have been avoided if the waste was properly separated and treated.

Why people should alleviate the damage we deal to the environment is a vast and immediate concern. After all, the innocuous plastic bag can take up to a millennium to decompose, almost twice the lifespan of the Roman Empire. In its wake is a disastrous environmental legacy.

According to a 2012 World Bank report, solid waste generated in Myanmar was 5,616 tons per day—0.44 kilograms per person. By 2025 the report forecast that number to reach 0.85 kilograms, driven by an increase in consumption and urban population growth, and a lack of effective waste treatment.

Read more: Myanmar targets plastic waste in growing green movement

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Indian fisherman sail into the sea of Bay Of Bengal for their evening catch in Chennai on April 3, 2017 AFP

 

A key problem now is that there is little money for mangrove regeneration and conservation, though all experts agree that it is essential since mangroves are the main nurseries of almost all fish and other marine animals.

Read more: Eight countries come together to protect Bay of Bengal

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MANDALAY – Environmental activists in the Hpakant and Lonekin jade mining regions of Kachin State have urged the government to impose strict controls on the dumping of waste soil by mine operators, as the practice exacerbates seasonal flooding.

Read more: Soil Dumping Worsens Impact of Flooding in Mining Areas, Activists Say

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Local farmer, pictured above, in Java Island, Indonesia. (© Jessica Scranton)

Climate change is already affecting people around the world — so adapting is crucial.

In some places, at least, people are finding innovative ways to adapt, according to new research. A new study shows that using nature to adapt to intense storms and drought can be affective for thriving in a changing climate.

Read more: In Indonesia, villagers find innovative ways to adapt to climate change

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Mangroves in Jaring Halus, North Sumatra. CIFOR/Mokhamad Edliadi

BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — Mangrove ecosystems, recognized for their capacity to store large amounts of carbon and protect shoreline erosions from rigorous ocean activity, also provide a buffer by capturing sediment high in organic carbon that can accumulate in tandem with sea level rise, according to new research.

Read more: Fact File: How mangroves contribute to climate change mitigation in Indonesia

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Cambodia’s climate change preparedness boosted with new collaboration between the UN Development Programme, Government, and SEVIR-Mekong.

Phnom Penh, June 2018 – With the goal of enhancing flood and drought information for a more climate-resilient agriculture sector, the UN Development Programme has this month launched a tripartite collaboration with Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Bangkok-based SERVIR-Mekong. Under the new partnership, SERVIR-Mekong will help Cambodia step-up drought information using specific local indicators.

Read more: Knowledge is everything when it comes to early warning

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Credit: Imperial College London

Developing countries face debt payments of up to $168 billion over the next ten years as a result of their vulnerability to man-made climate change.

A new study from Imperial College Business School found that climate risks are increasing the cost of capital for developing countries. The researchers found that for every ten dollars these countries pay in interest payments, an additional dollar is due to climate vulnerability.

The study shows that over the past decade, a sample of developing countries has endured $40 billion in additional interest payments on government debt alone. The researchers estimate that these additional interest costs are set to rise to between $146bn and $168bn over the next decade, and could exacerbate the economic challenges already faced by poor countries around the world.

However, the researchers also found that investments in climate resilience can help improve fiscal health at the national level.

Read more: Developing countries face rising payments due to climate change, says report

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A woman walks on what remains of her house and farm after destructive floods in Ha Giang Province, northern Vietnam, on June 24, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Mining, deforestation, and dams have destroyed their terrain and rendered them extremely vulnerable to flash floods.

He is an unnamed Thai man. Not a Thai national, but a member of Thai ethnic minority, one of 54 such communities in Vietnam. He’s 30 years old and lives with his wife and children next to a stream in the mountainous Phong Tho District in Lai Chau Province.

Read more: Lives of many people at stake in flood-prone northern Vietnam

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