ISKANDAR MALAYSIA, WEDNESDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2018: The Iskandar Malaysia Ecolife Challenge (IMELC) 2018 has attracted a record participation of 403 schools and 40,000 students from around Johor in its bid to educate and encourage the community to lead a low carbon lifestyle by saving water and electricity as well as managing waste wisely.

“Environmental conservation is one of the 3 aspects of focus under Iskandar Malaysia’s Circle of Sustainability development guideline, with the other two being social development and economy growth. Programs like IMELC help us to achieve the desired balance in our development so that everyone can enjoy a ‘greener’ living environment in the region,” said Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive, Iskandar Regional Development Authority.

The 2018 challenge came to a conclusion this morning after 15 schools with the highest savings in electricity and water usage as well as collection of recyclable waste pitched their environment-saving ideas and competed to be crowned the champion for IMELC 2018. This year’s overall winners plus winners from the water and electricity savings category and the recycling category shared a cash prize of RM30 thousands for school development activities.

“For IMELC 2018, the total carbon reduction by the participating schools is 590,662.64 kgCO₂. This is equivalent to a total amount of RM266,153.51 money saved and earned from this challenge which is, an increase of around 66% from last year. This shows that in our effort to reduce carbon emission and live a ‘greener’ life, we can actually save or even earn money,” added Datuk Ismail.

In the recycling category, 131 schools collected recyclable waste amounting to 185,070.38 kg with the total income reported from the recycling amounted to RM58,664.55.  For electricity saving category, 143 schools submitted their monthly bills which recorded RM174,925.14 in savings. For water saving category, 168 schools submitted the monthly bills that led to RM32,923.82 in savings.

In light of the growing success of the program, IMELC was recently honored with the ESD Okayama Award. The ‘ESD Okayama Award’ is given to reward outstanding ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) practices in local communities around the world and IMELC is one of the only two recipients in the world for 2018. IMELC was also bestowed with the Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) Award 2015 – Outstanding Flagship Projects under Climate Change Category by the United Nations University (UNU), deemed as one of the most successful projects under RCE Iskandar. RCE Iskandar, established in 2014, is one of the 149 Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development.

“Iskandar Malaysia is honoured to have received global recognition for our effort and achievement in creating a low carbon society and it is programs like IMELC, which is truly driven by the community at large, that we are especially proud of. This program truly reflects the importance of partnership between the public and private sectors and the community towards building a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing that Iskandar Malaysia envisions to become,” said Datuk Ismail.

This year’s edition of the challenge is a collaboration between Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Johor State Education Department (JPNJ) and SWM Environment Sdn Bhd. IMELC 2018 also gets support from Green Technology Applications for Low Carbon Cities (GTALCC), which is a project under the partnership of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) and SEDA Malaysia, and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

IRDA, UTM, JPNJ and SWM Environment Sdn Bhd have also signed a Letter of Collaboration (LoC) to foster research and academic partnership and cooperation especially on research and implementation of Iskandar Malaysia Ecolife Challenge at all the schools in Iskandar Malaysia and selected schools within State of Johor.

Dr. Uzir Abdul Malik, Executive Director, SWM Environment after the ceremony said, “We are delighted to continue the collaboration with IRDA, UTM and JPNJ as it is reinforcing our commitment not just solely creating awareness among the pupils but also to penetrate into the community through the educational institution across the state of Johor. Apart of that, SWM Environment has also provides 3R Cage to each participating schools and encourage them as well as cultivate recycling as part of their life.”

The closing ceremony was officiated by YB Dr Sulaiman Mohd Nor, State Assemblyman for Kemelah, the official representative for YB Tuan Haji Aminolhuda Bin Haji Hassan, the Chairman of Johor State Islamic Affairs and Education Committee. Also present during the event were Tuan Haji Shaharudin Bin Sharif, Director of ), Johor State Education Department (JPNJ); Dr Uzir Abdul Malik, Executive Director SWM Environment Sdn Bhd; Prof. TPr. Dr. Ho Chin Siong, Director, UTM-Low Carbon Asia Research Centre the official representative for Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM); Mr. Boyd Dionysius Joeman, Head of Environment Division, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and En. Norizal Khushairi b. Mohamad Zamri, National Project Manager – Green Technology Application for Low Carbon Cities (GTALCC), Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA Malaysia).

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