DiGi goes deep into the mangrove forests of Kuala Selangor
Kuala Selangor, 10 October 2008: DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd ("DiGi") today reaffirmed its commitment to reduce its shared climate impact with the start of its first community project under the Deep Green NOW programme, The Mangrove Treasures of Kuala Selangor. Local community leaders were present to witness the launch, along with the Board of Directors from Telenor ASA Norway, led by Chairman of the Board, Harald Norvik, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & President, Jon Fredrik Baksaas.
A key component of DiGi's company-wide climate change initiative, the project is aimed at engaging the younger generation to be active participants in raising awareness and conserving the mangrove ecosystems in Kuala Selangor. DiGi would be working with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and local schools in this community-led initiative.
"It is critical that we address the issue of reducing mangroves now. Malaysia has been identified as one of five countries in the world to have lost the most mangroves since 1990 due to land clearing. In Asia alone, over 1.9 million hectares were destroyed because most mangroves were converted to prawn and fish farming, agriculture, infrastructure, and tourism. That's very alarming," explained Johan Dennelind, DiGi's CEO.
He also shared the findings from the UN Food & Agriculture Organization assessment report on the world's mangroves (1980-2005). About 20% of the global wetlands have vanished since 1980, and over 50% of those 3.6 million hectares of mangrove areas destroyed since 1980 are from Asia.
He stressed further, "It's time that we take action instead of waiting for others to do something about it. Together with MNS, we hope to energise the communities here in Kuala Selangor, and raise their awareness and understanding about the key roles the mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems play to support their livelihood."
Studies have shown that mangroves protect coastal areas from rising tides, monsoons and natural erosion. They also have a high capacity to store carbon, which help regulate the balance and quantity of carbon dioxide in the environment. They function like carbon factories by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and converting them into organic material. These are then stored in living trees, mudflats and nearby waterways, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas.
Mobilising younger generation
Six schools from in and around Kuala Selangor would be participating in this project, namely Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Abdul Aziz, Sekolah Sains Kuala Selangor, Sekolah Menengah Sri Tanjung, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Sulaiman Shah, Sekolah Menengah Tiram Jaya and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Dato' Harun. These 120 Form 1, 2 and 4 students would be involved throughout the six-month project before it becomes self-sustaining.
There are three stages in all Deep Green NOW projects: Engage; Activate; and Empower. At the first stage, Engage, MNS would guide the students and DiGi volunteers on field trips to reforest and rehabilitate the sensitive ecology of the mangroves along Kuala Selangor. It includes replanting trees; monitoring the soil and water quality; and reporting any changes in the biodiversity indicators of the wildlife and flora population.
"We have high ambitions for this project -- we hope to showcase the endeavours of the students and the community here, sharing what we learn and discover together in our journey to create a partnership between the community and the Student Ambassadors of the Mangroves. The success of this project can serve as a bridge between the local communities and various stakeholders such as local businesses, government departments and local authorities," revealed Tunku Alizakri Alias, DiGi's Director of Corporate Affairs.
In the next two phases, DiGi aims to implement environmental education programmes and a curriculum centred on climate change in the participating schools of Kuala Selangor. DiGi also has plans to form Environmental Clubs within these schools to further cultivate interest amongst students as the pioneer groups pass on their knowledge and experiences to their fellow classmates.
"We are humbled by the local communities, who have welcomed us with open minds and hearts to support this important project. I'm confident that the younger generation here, with their enthusiasm and willingness to learn, will use this platform created and sponsored by DiGi to 'infect' more people in their communities, and join them in conserving the 'treasures' of the mangrove forests," concluded Dennelind.
Read more about DiGi's Deep Green programme at http://www.digi.com.my/deepgreen/.
DiGi is Malaysia's fastest growing mobile operator driving innovation, simplicity and best value through DiGi Prepaid, DiGi Postpaid and DiGi Business. For more information, please visit: www.digi.com.my.
Corporate Communications Department