KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu will officially participate in the Earth Hour 2011 Campaign to show its support and concern towards climate change.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) and the Sabah Environment Action Council, together with Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, would lead the way by switching off non-essential lights for an hour on March 26, between 8.30pm to 9.30pm.
“In Sabah, Earth Hour will be practised for the third time. But this year, DBKK will be taking part in this campaign officially for the first time and will switch off more than 500 of its street lights for an hour, in support of this campaign,” he said at a press conference about the global event which will be observed on March 26. The areas involved will be City Hall’s Central Business District and the Jalan Tun Fuad all the way to Menara Tun Mustapha.
This effort reflects the Government’s seriousness in addressing the global climate changes, he said, adding that so far 188 individuals and 23 organisations have pledged their support to Earth Hour.
Masidi hopes that more local authorities will emulate City Hall and pledge their support to Earth Hour and the same goes to individuals as well as organisations in the state.
Those interested can register themselves through City Hall’s website, www.dbkk.sabah.gov.my or call the Earth Hour Secretariat at 088-244000 extension 422.
“Apart from that, DBKK will be organising a photography competition involving Kota Kinabalu, before and during Earth Hour.
“This is a good way to document society’s involvement in the campaign through the camera lens while instilling appreciation towards the environment,” he said and announced that the cash prizes will be doubled much to the delight of the organisers.
Winner of the photography competition will receive RM2,000 while the second and third place winners will receive RM1,500 and RM1,000 respectively. There will also be five consolation prizes of RM200 each and all the winners will also receive a certificate.
EAC has also allocated RM5,000 to SM All Saints in Likas to implement a power-saving campaign in conjunction with Earh Hour. Among the activities planned are a song composing contest, mural drawing and electricity saving contest among the students’ parents, teachers and school staff.
Those participating in the contest will submit copies of their electricity bill to the school management and those who manage to reduce their bill by a minimum of 10 per cent will be eligible for a prize.
“This is a very good programme and I think we can consider giving incentives to those who manage to reduce their electricity bill by more than 10 per cent,” he said, adding that the campaign was in an experimental stage and if successful, could be considered to be expanded to other schools in the state.
Masidi urged more Sabahans to adopt a sustainable lifestyle by discarding old habits and adopting new ones such as recycling, reducing use of electricity, compositing among others.
“Easy things like saving electrical usage, choosing energy-saving appliances, using public transportation and recycling items can make a difference to the environment,” he said.
He also pointed out that being in the dark for an hour during Earth Hour was not enough to change or impact global climate.
It was the message to rejuvenate the environment and reduce carbon footprints that needed to be spread to societies across the globe, he added.
“As individuals, we can play a role in reducing greenhouse emissions such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane that contribute to increased global temperature, and by re-evaluating our lifestyles.
“Let us take it beyond the one hour and play our part in living a sustainable lifestyle,” he stressed.
Masidi also congratulated the Gaya Teachers Training College which is a member of the Sabah Environment Education Network (SEEN) for taking a proactive step towards reducing electricity use on its premises.
The six-month campaign from April to October last year saw the college’s electricity bill reduced by 35 per cent and saving RM55,747.15, Masidi said.
“This proves that we can save electricity by changing our lifestyle and attitude,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu general manager Rizal Ruriko Kasim said the hotel’s newly renovated pool area would be used as the venue for observing Earth Hour which is also observed by Global Hyatt worldwide.
It starts off with the lights being switched off at 8.30pm sharp and during that one hour, a video produced by WWF about the Earth Hour initiative will be shown to those who turn up in support of the event.
“We, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, show our support by being the venue and integrate whatever programmes City Hall and EAC have lined up,” he said.