Friday, December 24, 2004

Environment and Tax

WARNING: Serious Post Ahead

The increasing urbanization, clearing of land for agriculture and exploitation of the natural resources has resulted in dwindling forest resources. Added to this is the indifferent attitude of Malaysians towards environmental issues. I guess this has partly to do with the fact that we are living in a country which lies in the tropical zone and has been blessed with abundant natual resources including flora and fauna.

While talking to some people about this issue, they would reply "what environmental problems?" Though there is no clear proof, the increasing ocurance of floods in various places in peninsular Malaysia has been linked to reduced forest cover and land clearing in the highlands and watershed areas.

So how do we go about improving people's involvement in such issues.

I guess, education plays a very important part and as maximum impact is made during childhood, we need to stress the importance of the importance of preserving the environment to our children. As emphasized in the 7th Malaysia Plan (1996-2000) "infusing formal environmental education in the school curriculum, active participation of public and private sectors including NGOs in promoting environmentally responsible practices; and broad base campaigns through mass media in encouraging life-long process of environmental education."

Another way is allow tax exemptions for donations to environmental protection organisations in the country. Please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, there is no tax exemptions for donating to environmental groups in Malaysia. Maybe these organisations can lobby the govt. to allow such exemptions, which can solve their funding problems. SO they can stop whining that they don't have enough money. A win-win situation if I may say so.

As a Native American saying goes, "We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children."

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