The Establishment of Centre of Excellence for
Environmental Forensics Faculty of Environmental Studies
UNIVERSITI PUTRA MALAYSIA

Justification

The awareness to maintain a hygienic environmental among Malaysian people is increasing. Government also has put special emphasis in the 9th Malaysian Plan for Environmental Preservation. Industrial activities including the agricultural industry contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, uncontrolled released pollutant from those activities could endanger the long-term economic growth of our country. The pollution due to a variety of anthropogenic activities could harmful both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Leachate from landfills is one example of source pollution.

In 1990, there were about 230 official municipal dumping sites in Malaysia. 82% of the landfills sites were categorized as controlled tipping, 14% as crude opens dumps and only 4% have been categorized as sanitary landfill. In 1994, the amount of waste generated and collected in Kuala Lumpur was around 3 million kg/day. In 1998, the amount of waste generated has increased to about 3.5 million kg/day and is expected to be around 7.9 million by the year 2000, 9 million kg/day in 2005, 11 million kg/day in 2010 and by 2015, the amount of solid waste generated in the city would be around 14.3 million kg/day.

Sewage is a source of pollution caused by human activities particularly those living near to stream, coastal and marine environment. Since the recent years, this type of pollution is increasing. The sewage pollution is closely related to disease which is brought by its water and its impacts are widespread in the world. The residual of urban sewage runoff enters the aquatic environment through effluent and it represents a huge input of anthropogenic organic compounds due to deposition, resumption and transport by water current. Therefore, the research of fate of organic pollutant is important to evaluate the impact on the environment.

Another environmental pollution important source is heavy metal.  The excess heavy metal released to environment is major pollution problem faced by around the world. Aqua’s waste exist from most industry including metal electrolysis,   mining operation, tanning skin processes, time kloral, transmitter manufacturing, meltdown process as well as alloy production and the storage of batteries. Metal ions yield from its products will not be harmless. Heavy metals could adversely effect to environment such as As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Zn, Pb, Cd, Ni, and Cr.
 
Based on the statement above, the pollutant source of fingerprint recorded using forensic technique environment is very useful. The most important element in environment forensic is molecular marker; which is a very effective tool to provide information on organic material and physical resources, chemical, and biological processes which occurred. This technique is effective when there were no short-cut way to identify one pollutant or to know whether specific compounds had undergone any change prior to the release into to environment. Hence, the forensic environment technique which involves molecular marker approach adaptable to each unique situation and provide information of organic substances source as well. A half of molecular markers is photocopied by man either deliberately or no, while others were photocopied biosynthetic processes. The various method of chemical fingerprinting has been utilized successfully to identify pollution where terpanes, steranes, PAHs and sterols were used as molecular marker.

Therefore, the establishment of Centre of Excellence for Environmental Forensics coincides with the scenario of pollution that has stated above. Furthermore, that establishment of the excellence centre is able to uphold the mission and vision of UPM as a world-standard university in research and education. This centre will also contribute to scientific knowledge for scientist and academician, policy maker, private sectors and society generally.

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