In conjunction with World Environment Day 6 th June 2021, we urge all national development planners to review their development approaches and concepts in every aspect.
Now the world is facing an environmental, health and economic crisis simultaneously.
The environmental crisis is confronted with climate change and the destruction of the ecological balance. The health crisis struggled with the Covid19 pandemic. The economic crisis is facing a slowdown in growth and rising unemployment and layoffs.
Essentially on this year’s world environment day , the reality seen is destruction and devastation that is almost impossible to reverse and salvage.
The environmental crisis has killed hundreds of millions of people, especially the poor. Famine, loss of homes, damage to basic infrastructure, loss of sources of income and the spread of new diseases of pandemic scale.
The current environmental crisis stems from the human crisis itself. Whereas the human crisis starts from the notion that nature is not a trust but a resource to be exploited at will greedily.
So every year when the world celebrates World Environment Day, the reported record is nature is now at the brink of total destruction and the results are being seen and felt by the entire population of the world.
Unfortunately, many development planners are still arrogant and claim that all environmental risks can be overcome with the latest technology.
While too many facts and realities of environmental damage are the result of development policies and models. The cirrent model is influencing people’s attitudes and habits towards the environment.
Data showing damage to various ecosystems in the country from pollution of the sea, rivers, lakes, forests, mangrove forests, mountains and hills to coastal destruction and earth poisoning is because the development model is still inconsistent with the eco -friendly rhetoric that is always proclaimed.
Between the calculation of short -term economic growth and the impact of long -term ecosystem and habitat damage, it is often not scrutinized by development implementers. Some even underestimated it.
Mega-scale development is often a passion by revealing economic growth figures and data. Announcing sea reclamation projects, development of man-made island , clearing and forest exploration, plantation development of hundreds of thousands of acres are often boasted of showcasing high -end technology that comes with mega cities.
In fact, the country is now facing a multidimensional crisis that is very complicated to dismantle because the environmental crisis is related to the economic crisis, health and even the crisis of natural resource disputes.
Some are eager to accept the proposal of giant corporate companies to venture in developing mega projects through large -scale sea reclaimation. If questioned by environmental activists, it is simplistically accused as anti-development.
The concept of nature as a source of commercial commodities has changed the whole approach to development. All natural resources are seen as goods that can be traded. When all natural resources are in the hands of large corporations, nothing can stop them.
Exacerbated when governance in enviromental crisis is mixed with corruption, preserving the environment becomes the lowest agenda that
victimises communities such as farmers, fishermen, smallholders and small entrepreneurs.
Greed in the name of development uses the reasons of urbanization that swallows up rural areas, modernization that ignores traditional elements, consumerism and mass production in the name of economic growth.
As a result of large floods, frequent storms, landslides, air and water pollution, the spread of disease outbreaks occur that damage the property and lives of citizens.
To add to the complexity, there are water disputes between states and accusing each other more of political interests. There are even squabbling politicians to pursue mega projects that could clearly have a devastating impact on the quality of the environment.
There have been many incidents of natural disasters that still do not convince the people of the state of the environment in the country.
The incident of chemical waste pollution in 2019 that affected the health of the public following the dumping of toxic waste in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang, Johor is only one case in dozens of cases.
The results are not small. Several schools and kindergartens near the area had to be closed. The Dewan Rakyat also debated an urgent motion on the issue of chemical pollution.
The terms balance, harmony, environmental friendliness, are all just rhetorical expressions. In fact, what is really implemented in the name of development is the exploitation and destruction of nature.
In addition, the destructive lifestyle and culture continues.
Consumers are also affected and impact the environment. Garbage accumulation and the use of chemicals and plastics are not controlled until the environmental crisis worsens. Consumers not only accept the consequences of environmental damage but also become the cause of environmental damage.
Therefore, all parties must be honest in disclosing the question of preservation and protection of environmental quality.
Indeed the quality of the environment is related to the quality of life. One of the rights of consumers is to have a clean and safe environment.
In fact, it is not just a matter of consumers demanding rights but also a matter of fulfilling consumers’ responsibilities to care for the environment.
Clearly the disasters plaguing the world today are the result of irresponsible human actions.
Thus it is very important that the role of government, administrators, private, civil society, politicians and the people themselves need to have a coordinated mind to take care of the environment.
It is very true that Allah SWT’s words in the Qur’an :
“Mischief has appeared in the land and the sea because of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of what they have done, so that they may turn (away from evil.” (Surah ar-Rum, verse 41)
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
Chairman of the National Consumer Advisory Council