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New Straits Times: Solution on the rocks

on . Posted in Keratan Akhbar 2012

 

Solution on the rocks

Saturday, 05 May 2012

Sumber: http://www.nst.com.my/life-times/live/solution-on-the-rocks-1.80747

 

 

Three specialists tell Zuhaila Sedek how geology can be employed to solve environmental issues

 


FOR centuries, geology has enlightened us about the Earth we live on. But this study of the Earth can also be a powerful “detective” tool, offering clues on how we can help solve environmental problems.

We talk to two geologists, Seet Chin Peng and Dr Saim Suratman, and a specialist in engineering hydrogeology, Dr Azuhan Mohamed, about the role of geology in environment conservation. They will be speaking at the Conference on Groundwater, which is part of the outreach programme Geology Made Simple, organised by Institute of Geology Malaysia (IGM), on Tuesday and Wednesday at One World Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

“Geology allows us to strike a balance between getting what we want (from nature) and learning how to care for the environment,” says Seet, who is also the IGM coordinator.

The science of geology can be of help to, say, the property sector when it comes to building skyscrapers, says Saim. “By consulting a geologist (at the planning stage), one can determine whether the foundation is safe (for construction work) by looking at the type of rock, for example.” Failing which, he adds, the environment can be jeopardised and tragedies such as a landslide could happen.

Geology can also be used to help man find their wealth, for example, by determining the likelihood of a location to contain gold and oil, as well as fine-tune ways to better extract such natural resources.

“People often oppose mining work. But if there’s no mining, we won’t have things like gold, iron or copper. We need these minerals for our lives. Understanding geology can help one make an informed decision when it comes to mining them,” explains Seet.

Saim, who is also director of the Research Centre For Geohydrology at National Hydraulic Research Institute Of Malaysia (Nahrim), points out that geology can help in dealing with pollution by teaching one how to control the usage of natural resources.

“While geologists can help find natural resources, we have to keep in mind that mining work involves burning fossil fuels and too much of that can lead to global warming.”

Nahrim forecasts that the temperature in Malaysia will go up tremendously by 2100 in tandem with rising sea levels. If this happens, our country will have more water than land!

SOURCE FROM UNDER

Azuhan says Malaysia is blessed with having rain all year round and so it has plenty of underground water.

“Underground water is a source of water supply, which, if fully used, can help reduce the construction of dams,” explains the head of water resources at Erinco Sdn Bhd, a firm of consulting engineers and environmental consultants.

The construction of dams is viewed by environment lovers as an activity that brings harm to nature as it alters the flow of the rivers, which, in turn, can affect the lives of river creatures.

“People can use underground water by building wells. But to build a proper well, its geographical aspect has to be evaluated to determine whether the area is suitable for such a construction. Otherwise, the water in the well may get polluted by arsenic or the ground could gradually sink,” explains Azuhan, who is currently promoting the use of underground water in the country.

He adds: “The country, of course, needs to carry out a study on underground water before it can be practised on a mega scale.”

REAL-LIFE INDIANA JONES

Despite the important roles of geology, experts in this area are often overlooked. “They are the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes,” says Seet, adding that the profession would suit those who love the outdoors.

“I recall climbing Gunung Tahan and there was no place for the team to set up camp. We were all shivering cold and we even had to seek cover from the roaming elephants and tigers. Such experiences are hard to come by.” Saim finds geologists in the early days more hands-on with their work than geologists today.

“We now have the term desktop geologist, a person who doesn’t go for field work and does everything at the desk only.

“When I was younger, I recall having to go into the jungles and carrying a special hammer and a compass. Now, there’s GPS and if we’re lost in the jungles, we can use the handphone to call for help.”

Seet and Saim point out that their work as a geologist is not only limited to the study of rocks, but can also contribute to many aspects of life such as the economy, culture and environment. They also see geology as the study of the history of the planet so unfortunate events, man-made or otherwise, can be avoided.

The study of rocks never sounded so cool as when Seet and Saim described it. It’s apparent that every rock has a thousand stories to tell and it is through a geologist that these stories can be told. Alamat emel ini dilindungi dari Spambot. Anda perlu hidupkan JavaScript untuk melihatnya.

 

Saim_ROCKS(From left) Saim, Azuhan and Seet believe that by understanding geology, one can get to know the environment better