Hote­lier’s green ef­forts bloom­ing in Langkawi

The Borneo Post - - HOME - By Hamdan Ismail

LANGKAWI: The names ‘Moringa’, ‘Black Sol­dier’, ‘Mi­mosa’ or ‘Heli­co­nia’ may not be found in the list of em­ploy­ees at Frangi­pani Langkawi Re­sort and Spa, here, but they have been ‘work­ing’ there for the last 13 years.

Yes, they are among the plants and in­sects that have con­trib­uted to­wards mak­ing this re­sort, lo­cated at Pan­tai Tengah in Langkawi, the green­est one around, as well as help it win a num­ber of ac­co­lades since its es­tab­lish­ment in 2005.

The owner of the four-star re­sort An­thony Wong, 62, who is a nat­u­ral­ist and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, is the man be­hind all th­ese green ini­tia­tives.

In fact, he con­sid­ers na­ture as his most im­por­tant ‘busi­ness partner’.

“We just can’t go against na­ture. We have to un­der­stand and learn how it works and how we can work with it,” he said, as he took this writer on a tour of an or­ganic farm and con­structed wet­land that he has cre­ated in a cor­ner of the re­sort grounds.

At the Pa­cific Asia Travel As­so­ci­a­tion (Pata) Travel Mart 2018 that took place in Langkawi last month, Frangi­pani Langkawi Re­sort won the Pata Gold Award for En­vi­ron­ment – En­vi­ron­men­tal Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme.

Wong’s con­structed or ar­ti­fi­cial wet­land and or­ganic farm are lo­cated on a half-hectare plot at the south wing of the re­sort.

The con­structed wet­land may look ordinary but it was de­vel­oped by Wong in stages since 2005 to repli­cate the ac­tual state of a nat­u­ral wet­land.

The in­spi­ra­tion to cre­ate an ar­ti­fi­cial wet­land on his re­sort grounds came af­ter a small river that used to flow through the prop­erty be­came stag­nant fol­low­ing phys­i­cal de­vel­op­ments that took place in the sur­round­ings.

In fact, the river had turned into a lake filled with dark coloured water.

“In­stead of moan­ing about it, I car­ried out nu­mer­ous ex­per­i­ments at the site over the years to find the best way to re­duce the de­vel­op­ment im­pact and even­tu­ally I came up with the con­structed wet­lands project,” said Wong.

The project, ac­cord­ing to him, in­volved the cul­ti­va­tion of plants such as water mi­mosa, pan­dan, yam, heli­co­nia and water hy­acinth all over the wet­land area as they serve as ef­fec­tive nat­u­ral fil­ters for the waste water that was chan­nelled into the lake from the re­sort.

Over time, this nat­u­ral process suc­ceeded in treat­ing the waste water and ren­der­ing it potable.

“There is no chem­i­cal treat­ment in­volved. It’s all about bio­engi­neer­ing and the un­der­stand­ing of how things work in the nat­u­ral world,” Wong said, adding that rain­wa­ter was also har­vested at the re­sort for plant wa­ter­ing and laun­dry pur­poses.

As for the re­sort’s or­ganic farm, those who have lim­ited knowl­edge about or­ganic farm­ing might find Wong’s idea of breed­ing fly lar­vae

We just can’t go against na­ture. We have to un­der­stand and learn how it works and how we can work with it. — An­thony Wong, Frangi­pani Langkawi Re­sort and Spa owner

a bit hard to di­gest or be­yond their imag­i­na­tion.

Of course, it is not the lar­vae of any ordinary fly species but that of the Black Sol­dier fly, sci­en­tif­i­cally known as Her­me­tia il­lu­cens, which has the abil­ity to pro­duce lar­vae that only feed on food waste or dead an­i­mals.

Wong said th­ese lar­vae played an im­por­tant part in ac­cel­er­at­ing the pro­duc­tion of com­post, a de­cayed or­ganic ma­te­rial used as a fer­tiliser for plants.

In some ad­vanced coun­tries, empty lar­vae shells left by this fly species were used as chicken feed or turned into wound dress­ing prod­ucts, while the lar­vae are used to make biodiesel or feed for farmed fish.

“When given the task to clear up food waste, th­ese (Black Sol­dier) lar­vae are un­stop­pable... they will con­sume the scrap food con­tin­u­ously un­til they be­come adult flies,” he said.

Un­like the com­mon house fly, the adult Black Sol­dier species only feed on water and is not known to be a dis­ease car­rier.

Wong’s re­mark­able ef­forts to pro­mote an en­vi­ron­men­tal-friendly tourism op­er­a­tion are not only con­fined to his or­ganic farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties but also ev­i­dent around the re­sort, such as the salt­wa­ter swim­ming pool and colour­ful wall decor com­pris­ing used glass bot­tles, as well as the ca­sua­r­ina and co­conut trees that pro­tect the shore around the prop­erty.

He has also started an ac­tiv­ity to col­lect food waste from other ho­tels and food out­lets around Langkawi to be pro­cessed into com­post and poul­try feed.

This ini­tia­tive, which is be­ing pro­moted via so­cial me­dia, has re­ceived tremen­dous pub­lic re­sponse.

While pledg­ing to con­tinue find­ing more ways to en­hance green prac­tices in his ho­tel, Wong also hoped to as­sist the lo­cal com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly the fish­er­men and farm­ers, to be in­volved in or­ganic farm­ing.

“By prac­tis­ing or­ganic farm­ing, they can re­duce the im­pact of their ac­tiv­i­ties on the en­vi­ron­ment.

They can get in­volved in the sup­ply of value-added food (prod­ucts) and get bet­ter re­turns from their in­volve­ment,” he said.

As far as Wong is con­cerned, there is noth­ing that can be con­sid­ered as waste.

“They are all re­sources”, he de­clared.

For sure, his green­ing ef­forts will con­tinue to bloom to help keep Langkawi as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble for as long as pos­si­ble.

Frangi­pani Langkawi Re­sort and Spa is best known for its en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly fea­tures and the cre­ation of this salt­wa­ter swim­ming pool is one of them.

Big tanks and nat­u­ral re­sources that formed are among the in­gre­di­ents in the cre­ation of a con­structed wet­lands at Frangi­pani Langkawi Re­sort and Spa. — Ber­nama photos

A sec­tion of creep­ing plant sur­round­ing a tree at the com­pound of Frangi­pani Langkawi Re­sort and Spa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.