Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mother Earth - Have We Gone Too Far?

These few days have been very sad days for our country with three major incidents of landslides in one week. First with the collapse of a bungalow in Ulu Yam resulting in 2 deaths, followed 5 days later with the collapse of a retaining wall in Jalan Semantan damaging 11 cars, and the latest was the tragedy at Bukit Antarabangsa causing 4 (5?) deaths. The latest incident is the 12th landslide that occurred at Ampang hillside.

Have we gone too far in abusing our Mother Earth? I'm afraid that the answer is on the affirmative. We have been polluting seas, poisoning rivers and destroying hills rampantly in the name of development. We have been damaging God's creations that have been providing us with all our necessities for our survival without giving any respect to them.

From an Islamic perspective, we the mankind are wholly responsible in causing all damages on this earth and all the 'fasads' as mentioned in alQuran.
'Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men's hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return'. (30/41)

Hills and mountains were created by Allah to perform their specific functions as stated in alQuran:
'And the earth We have spread out (like a carpet); set thereupon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of thing in due balance'. (15/19).

Therefore by destroying hills and mountains, we are inviting our own destruction and this principle was well understood by our forefathers and neglected by modern men. The wisdom expressed by the Red Indian leader, Chief Seattle on the necessity to protect the earth when the then US President made an offer to buy a large area of Red Indian land was described as the most beautiful and profound statement on the environment. Among others he wrote that 'the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth' and 'if we sell you our land, love it as we've loved it; care for it as we've cared for it'. The essence of it was that we have to love and care for our Mother Earth.

Technically speaking, by building structures we have been creating instability at the hillside area by disrupting groundwater movement. In designing the slope protection methods, engineers would take factor of safety (usually less than 2) as normally done on any design works. Sadly in Malaysia, there are many factors that also affect the whole quality of works, such as poor workmanship by contractors who tend to cut corners to maximise profits, unskilled labourers (who are mostly foreigners) who have no appreciation of quality aspects and also corrupt local authorities. Considering the above negative factors, the so-called factor of safety is only left on the design submission by the consulting engineers. Maybe it is time to apply Hammurabi's Code of Law which specified that:
  • If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
  • If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to death.
  • If it kills a slave of the owner, then he shall pay, slave for slave, to the owner of the house.
  • If it ruins goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.
  • If a builder builds a house for someone, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means
But one thing I am quite sure of these incidents is that earth-movers and excavators will start operating again if nothing happens within the next 3 months, further damaging the hillslopes. Our system is very wrong and our politicians do not have enough political wills to change the situation. Very sad, and the number of death due to landslides will be just another statistic.



Abdul Azim said...

"Janganlah melakukah kerosakan di bumi"

Allah tidak menzalimi kita tapi kitalah yg menzalimi diri sendiri..

Terbuka mata kita dgn post ayah..

tamupulaumelaka said...

4 unsur amat mustahak,Allah jadikan untuk keperluan insan. namun kemusnahan oleh 4 unsur tersebut juga besar.
'Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Berkuasa ke atas sesuatu'.
'Dia lakukan kepada apa jua yang dikehendakiNya'.


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