25 August 2008

BruGreenRepublic on the Borneo Bulletin!

Should have announced this in advance, but better late than never. An article by Bru Green Republic was published on the Weekend Borneo Bulletin, dated 24th August 2008 to raise environmental awareness among the public. To those who have in their possession the newspaper, head on to page 47 to read our article. You can also view the soft copy here. It comes with cartoon art too. Thanks Borneo Bulletin!

Remember that there are ways that you can help to raise environmental awareness, be it amongst your family, friends or peers. Contribute such articles to your school magazine or local newspaper, or blog about it. Even words of mouth can go a long way.

Do what is right. It won't hurt you. The switch won't bite if you turn it off when you don't need electricity from it. We are sure you are capable of performing such simple acts of goodwill.


16 August 2008

Articles on Recycling Plastic

You readers ought to read some of the displayed articles from the widget on the side bar. I have come across so many interesting articles such as the invention of sunscreen for crops! Read these articles and learn of the devastating dangers faced by our environment as well as the wonderful progress (and sometimes amusing!) of technology in tackling environmental problems. Not only will this enrich your mind but it will benefit students taking General Paper Studies in Sixth Form.

This is what I stumbled across today -

High price of plastics raises prospect of rubbish mining in dumps - The value of plastic would soon rise high enough that entrepeneurs would find it worthwhile to scoop out the estimated three million tonnes that was swirling around the Pacific Ocean . (Click link for more)

In the 19th century Gold Rush took the world by storm. The act of scurrying for gold became prevalent in manh parts of the world. Now, rubbish is fast becoming the new gold as cost of raw materials rises. We're talking about a possible Rubbish Rush here!

Looks like the old adage one man's garbage is another man's treasure will seem more true than ever.


11 August 2008

Water Wastage

Over the years of my existence on Earth, I have spotted a bad habit of people's. Camps after camps, sleepovers after sleepovers, it has not failed to escape my notice that the profligate use of water is ubiquitous.

I once saw a girl turn on a water tap and execute her facial regime - washing, scrubbing and exfoliating - for about 5 minutes and while she was at it, she left the tap running at full blast. What was worse was that she wasn't even using the water.

I have witnessed a similiar scenario while people are brushing their teeth. If you are one of them, please reconsider. Do you really need to let all that water flow down the sink while you are brushing your teeth? Perhaps to rinse and gargle your mouth, but all the water that flows while you're brushing your teeth will be a complete waste.

Bruneians in general are not too concerned about water wastage since its scarcity is not a major issue here. But perhaps bringing some statistics into light will make you more aware of how wasteful we are with water compared to our neighbouring countries.

Singapore - 150 litres per person per day
Malaysia - 220 litres per person per day

Brace yourself for what you will see next -

Brunei Darussalam - 450 litres per person per day.

That is indeed a staggering, mind-blowing figure. It is equivalent to 300 large water bottles.

According to a survey by the Department of Water Services, half of our daily water usage is spent in the shower or bath. Toilet flushes constitutes 12% of our water consumption.

So here are ways to reduce water usage. As subtle as it seems, it will cut down water wastage drastically in the long run.

1) Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing your face. Letting the water run can waste up to 9 litres of water per minute.

2) Take short and quick shower. For bath lovers, filling your tub half full would be sufficient.

3) Use a bucket of water and a sponge to wash your car as opposed to blasting the car with water. If you insist on using a water hose, you can still save water by using ones with nozzle in which you can shut off the water supply.

4) Water plants early in the morning when the day is cool. This reduces rapid evaporation of water.

5) Clean the ground by sweeping, not by using a hose.

6) Improve bladder control to reduce number of flushes.

Cheaper water tariffs have encouraged us to waste water mindlessly. The extra costs are being cushioned by our government, just like our other commodities. Behind the palatable water we are so accustomed to everyday, money is involved to produce clean water and to transport it. If you are anti-environment and pro-economy, then help ameliorate our nation's debt.

There's no good excuse for the extravagant use of water. If you are guilty of the aforementioned bad habit, break it. It's not a difficult one to break; all it takes is to close the tap when you don't need water. Cut water usage, conserve energy, save money.

The Brunei Times, Newspaper in Education - Water Woes, March 15 2008.


6 August 2008

Facts About Plastics

A person uses a plastic carrier bag on average for just 12 minutes. Something that we use for a mere 12 minutes will be Mother Earth's acne for 1 thousand years...

Worldwide over 1.2 trillion plastic bags are used a year, an average of 300 bags for per person. That’s over 1 million bags being used every minute.

Plastic bags may take one thousand years to decompose. Do you realise the implication of this? That means they'll keep accummulating over the years in landfills to mountains of plastics that will be here to stay for centuries ... There is no way of purging them from our environment.

It is estimated that between 1 - 3 % of plastic bags produced worldwide end up as litter. A small percentage you may think, but we are talking about that percentage of trillions of plastic bags!

You have been taught that plastics are do not biodegrade. That's right, but what many of you don't know is that they PHOTODEGRADE. That is, break down into smaller toxic bits contaminating soil, waterways, oceans and entering animal food chains.

86% of all known species of sea turtles have had reported problems of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris. Nearly 90% of floating marine litter is plastic (Algalita) (MSC) Creating floating islands of plastics now, aren't we?

Plastic production uses 8% of all the world's oil production. At the current rate the world produces 200 million tons of plastic a year (waste online)

Sources :

By the way, I just found out that Brunei in fact has a national campaign to help cut down the usage of plastic bags from a Brunei Times article dated June 10, 2008. Here are some parts of the article -

The campaign, themed 'Reducing the Use of Plastic Bag Towards A Low Carbon Economy' was launched yesterday at the Giant premises in Rimba by Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, Minister of Development.

Yusrin Hadi Ghani, an environment officer at the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (DEPR) said the campaign was held in cooperation with two large retailers, Giant and Supa Save, to provide reusable shopping bags for the public.

The department is planning to get other supermarkets to be involved in the drive. "For a start, the department would approach these supermarkets and distribute reusable bags for them in a bid to encourage their consumers to use these bags. We also hope to expand the campaign to the three other districts Belait, Tutong and Temburong," he said.

Source : http://www.bt.com.bn/en/home_news/2008/06/10/choose_reusable_bags_not_plastic_ones

Things are changing slowly but surely, and I sure do hope that the campaign will get in full swing soon. Now you have an extra reason to participate in our bid to reduce the use of plastics. By doing so, you will be part of a larger campaign, a NATIONAL campaign to be exact. Be part of something big and let's get going!


30 July 2008

Green Plans

Hey readers! If you have read the previous post, you would have known that the main aims of Bru Green Republic are to raise environmental awareness among people and to actually DO something to help reduce the detrimental effects of human misdoings to the environment. Here are some of our plans:

Raising public awareness by :

1. Posting more articles in this blog regarding the environment and what we can do, and then advertising this blog by as many means as we can. Be a supporter and help advertise!

2. Putting up posters like the ones you have seen in the previous post on notice boards of schools, shops, etc. You can help too! Scroll down to our first post to find out how.

3. Writing articles pertaining to the environment to be published in local newspapers.

4. Surveying random public people about environmental awareness. This would give us a clearer picture of their level of awareness and get some feedback on how we can heighten the general public's awareness.

And the more challenging one ...

5. Making a trailer on ways to be environmentally-friendly to be played in OGDC theatre before every movie. The trailer would be focusing on Brunei's environment being one of our national treasures, and how we might risk losing it if we continue with our indiscriminate acts of open burning, littering, and many more. We will also try to include parts on reducing the use of plastics, papers, water and electricity.

For this we would need

- Pictures on environment of Brunei, both the pretty and the hideous.

- Fame-addicts People who want their faces to be well known in KB and Seria. They can make a short clip of themselves saying "Save the Environment", "Jaga Alam Sekitar Kitani" or something similiar. Even better if you can relate it to Brunei.

- And of course, permission to let it run in the theatre.

Please help if you can. We're begging you already. That's because the co-founders of this blog won't be in Brunei for long so we need as much help as we can to be able to make it on time.

I believe that students in Brunei are educated about environmental awareness in schools, but sometimes just being aware is not enough. There is a gap between knowledgeable about something and doing something about it. Bru Green Republic plans to get people to cross this chasm and be proactive in saving the environment. Here are some of the plans we have up our sleeves:

1. Getting the co-founders' school (Sekolah Menengah Sayyidina Ali, Kuala Belait) to impose a one day ban per week on styrofoam containers. This would require us pulling some strings but it is with great hope that we can achieve this and that other schools will follow suit if circumstances allow.

2. Organising cleaning campaigns. May require expenses so to raise money we might -

3. Have an environmental awareness bazaar. Or beg for sponsors, haha! If all is to no avail, last resort would be to use our own money bohoo.

We are still in the process of brainstorming and this is what we have so far. If you have any suggestions or would like to aid us in our efforts, feel free to drop comments to this post or contact us at the email address given at the sidebar. We are also open to any feedbacks on how we can improve.

So those who have been green, stay green =)

Those who haven't >=( , start being green!