TROPI, IIASA & ASM to find green solutions to dispose agricultural waste

Abu Bakar (centre) addressing a press conference in the presence of Lulie (right) and Markus.

by Emellia Tamoh

KUCHING, July 10: Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (TROPI) together with International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) have found an alternative way to dispose agricultural waste through converting it into energy.

University of Technology of Malaysia (UTM) Professor Dato’ Ir Dr Abu Bakar Jaafar emphasised that the strategy was to convert the waste material into ethanol because the renewable fuel was a high value material.

“Our view is that we can help prevent people from burning their waste and (get) paid for it,” he told a press conference at the two-day International Workshop on Haze and Biomass Burning in Asia held at Sarawak TROPI today.

However, Abu Bakar pointed out that one of the challenges to implement this was that the energy-pricing in Malaysia was very low.

“The tariff is so low that there is no economic sense to convert this material,” he said.

Meanwhile, the workshop from July 9 and 10 was a joint collaboration IIASA and ASM to develop a science-based, solution-oriented, international and interdisciplinary research agenda on haze and biomass burning in Asia.

The workshop featured nine speakers from different disciplines who shared their most recent research, insights and policy developments on haze and biomass burning in Asia as well as joint discussions amongst the research community and stakeholders from the industry and policy makers.

Sarawak TROPI director Dr Lulie Melling presented ‘Stewarding for Sustainability’ which emphasised on the importance of TROPI’s stewardship to make wise use of Sarawak’s tropical peatland.

“TROPI mission is to focus on stewardship for responsible use and protection of tropical peat through conservation and sustainable practices,” she said.

She emphasised on the Three-Helix-Model of Government-University-Industry cooperation, especially in facing the nation’s economic challenges.

“The government together with associated agencies is compelled to develop solutions to offset carbon emission problems affiliated with peat development,” she said.

The approach comprised of soil processes, synergy between agro-management and environmental factors.

“Our goal is to formulate best management practices on peat by means of competent and adaptable implementation of key agro-environment management on peat,” she added.

IIASA Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases programme director Dr Markus Amann was present. — DayakDaily