In the context of
environmental management, several environmental issues have been identified to require
urgent attention of policy makers, and also consultation and co-ordination of various
departments, stakeholders of the coastal zone and the public (NGOs). Some issues
identified may require the introduction of new legislation, amendment of existing ones
integration of policy and action. Some of these issues may require prioritisation due to
constraint of resources.
The Environmental Work
Group realises that the ICZM concept of co-ordination and consultation between departments
is extremely important and that an ICZM co-ordinating unit be continued and incorporated
into the Environmental Management in Sabah. Based on the findings of our group, several
recommendations and action strategies in arresting or alleviating environmental problems
in the coastal zone were formulated by the group pertaining to each of the specific areas
identified in the TOR of the Work Group. These recommendation and action strategies are
presented in the following sections.
5.1. Recommendation on Landuse Planning
- All Planning Committees, from the
Local level right up to the Central Board must have representation from environmental
experts and other concerned departments. These individuals and agencies should be
consulted so that environmental consideration and other important factors are adequately
incorporated in land zoning.
- Other concerned Departments and
Environmental experts to be consulted in land zoning so that environmental consideration
and other important factors are adequately incorporated in the zoning.
- Enhance the responsibility of
government agencies by improving their databases, use of the MIS, and data sharing.
- Improve Habitat Map for Sabah,
showing all major habitat and uses.
- Enforce the compliance of planning
5.2. Environmental Management Tools
5.2.1. Recommendation on EIA
- Departmental awareness of the
strength and use of EIA, and the quality requirements of EIA reports should be improved at
- EIA process must be made more
transparent and developers and the public must be made aware of the importance of EIA as a
planning tool. EIA must be incorporated early in the planning stage.
- The “prescribed activities: have
to be expanded to include projects that are small in scale but have detrimental effect to
the environment as listed in Section 3.5.1 above.
- Create a pool of expert reviewers,
to review findings of particular EIA’s or sections within EIA.
- Studies should be undertaken to
determine environmentally sensitive areas with alienated land.
- Mitigation of negative impacts
should be identified early in the planning process, through EIA, and such mitigation
should be put in place by the developer or end user. Monitoring should be undertaken to
on Environmental Monitoring and Auditing
- Parameters that are relevant to the
environmental well being of Sabah, and capable of being monitored efficiently, together
with a statement of the value of each parameter, must be defined.
- It is recommended that the ICZM
Management Information System (MIS) approach be used to identify areas to monitor and for
effective data management and co-ordination between departments.
- Since it has been identified that
there is inadequate monitoring data in existence particularly on the overview of the
environment and natural resources in the coastal areas, it is recommended that improvement
of this situation should be a priority.
As a consequence of
this overview, a co-ordination system between departments for data sharing must be put in
- It is recommended that a lead agency
be identified to co-ordinate the monitoring effort of other departments, which also
provides a mechanism to monitor the quality of the monitoring tasks by each department.
- The present monitoring procedures,
particularly on the methods of sampling and the number of samples to be taken, has to be
improved. It is imperative that methods of sampling be formulated with a strict
requirement that the sampling procedures be followed.
- A monitoring system for both marine
and terrestrial biodiversity has to be developed in order to be able to ascertain the
status of the biodiversity.
- Guidelines need to be established
for the monitoring of ecological toxins.
An auditing mechanism
that establishes a satisfactory overview of the status of the environment be developed or
formulated. This will require time-based data to be collected and stored (from the present
time) by the agencies responsible for natural resources and the environment.
5.3. Recommendation for Institutional Framework And Capacity
- Reconcile overlaps and conflicts in
jurisdiction between departments to ensure efficient environmental management and
enforcement of regulations.
- Improve the involvement of the
general public and NGO’s in the consideration of environmental issues and the widening
of the consultative process, including better information dissemination to the public.
- Ensure that all possible remedial or
mitigating actions are taken to offset environmental damage, by the developers or
operators of the project.
- It is recommended that the capacity
of relevant departments be improved through vocational training and education of personnel
that deal with environmental issues.
- Specialised fields of expertise need
to be identified, not only giving generalised training on environment to all relevant
staff, but also in the fields where specialist expertise is lacking.
5.4. Recommendation for Environmental Hotspots
As indicated earlier
in section 3.7, during the rapid assessment survey of the Environmental Hotspots at the
District level, several institutional and environmental issues were identified that
require attention from the higher level of authority and improvements at the district
level. These issues have been highlighted in earlier section and also in the “Environmental
Hotspots Survey” report. Recommendation and action strategies in dealing with the issues
identified are presented here both directed to the higher level through the ICZM action
plan and for Authority at the district level. Some of the recommendation here may require
the introduction of new legislation, amendment of existing ones or that requires
integration of policy and action. This recommendation may have cost implication to the
Local Authority and careful consideration of recommendation is in order.
The following are
recommendation and action strategies pertaining to the environmental issues identified
during the rapid assessment survey:
- The by-laws currently used by each
local authority have to be revised and updated. This may require a higher level Authority
and may require the approval of the Attorney General
- The existing human resource
mechanism and machinery in the Local Authority’s system has to be improved, for example:
- Personnel who handle waste
collection and disposal must be given training and be supervised to ensure efficiency in
- Improve the dumping ground condition
by proper management with provision of sanitary system.
- Introduce an assessment tax
- Provision of proper community waste
disposal bins in these areas and provision of waste collection from these areas.
- Conduct an environmental awareness
- The Local Authority in every
district must devise an Environmental Public Awareness Campaign to educate the public in
their district down to the village level, on healthy environment.
- The Local Authority must include all
areas in the district for waste collection or devise waste management option for areas not
covered by the rating area
- Conduct a thorough survey and impact
assessment of the area approved for reclamation before reclaiming area.
- Issuance of licences, either
livestock farming, by the Local Authority must be accompanied with strict requirement for
environmental protection and penalty for non-compliance must be spelled out in the
conditions of licences.
- Require that each of the farmers
treat their wastewater before they discharge into the waterways.
- Make river sand-mining a ‘prescribed
activity’ requiring an EIA.