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Vol 18, December 2018

 
Microplastic is an emerging pollutant that are gaining attention among researchers around the world due to their ubiquitous occurrence. Although marine plastic pollution has been studied for decades, the extent and effects of plastic pollution elsewhere is only just beginning to be explored.
 
Microplastics are defined as a micro-sized plastic class with less than 5 mm. Microplastics are divided into two categories, namely primary and secondary. Primary microplastics are micro-sized plastics produced by industries in a form of microbeads that are usually contained in the products such as facial cleansers, cosmetics, and toothpaste. While secondary microplastic is produced through the breakdown of plastic sources driven by UV light radiation and chemical or thermal degradation. The main concern of the microplastic contamination is that it has potential as a transport agent of other pollutants, especially those with hydrophobic characteristics. Hydrophobic contaminants that are permanent, bioaccumulated and toxic will directly affect the organism and lead to human consumption. Recent studies have found an increasing trend of pollutants in human food sources, something that requires serious attention.
 
 Aquatic ecosystems in Malaysia are also part of this emerging global issue. Scientific knowledge on the microplastic distribution and its concentration in our environment is vital as part of national effort to develop effective management and mitigation measures. For this purpose, in 2017 a group of scientist at UMT has established Microplastics Research Interest Group (MRIG) consisting experts from comprehensive field of studies which includes; Marine Biology (Dr. Yusof Shuaib Ibrahim, Principal Investigator; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Aishah Abdullah), Environmental Chemistry (Prof. Dr. Norhayati Mohd Tahir), Physical Chemistry (Dr. Alyza A. Azmi), Chemometrics (Dr. Wan Mohd Afiq Wan Mohd Khalik), Metagenomics (Dr. Shumpei Iehata), Ocean Dynamics (Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Fadzil Mohd Akhir and Analytical Chemistry (Dr. T N Sabiqah Tuan Anuar).
 
The MRIG focuses on quantitation, characterization and method development for microplastics (MPs) analysis and marine debris in order to identify the path and fate as well as to increase the understanding of this emerging pollutants in the food web. In detail, this research group are looking on microplastic pollution in term of their abundance and diversity, the trophic level transfer in food chain- their path and fate, and the relationship of marine organism’s microbiome composition with microplastic ingestion (metagenome and the chemical characterization and analysis for the determination of chemical compounds associated with microplastic polymers). Moreover, this group also working on the solution of the microplastics, such as the development of bioplastics derived from renewable biomass sources as well as the development of biomaterials that can be used for microplastics clean up.
 
Regarding microplastic research, recently this group have published several articles, including microplastics abundance in fish of seabass Lates calcarifer (Ibrahim et al., 2017; Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences, 21(5): 1054–1064), microplastics ingestion by bivalve Scapharca cornea (Ibrahim et al.; 2016; MEJSR, 24 (6): 2129–2136) and microplastic in Malaysian waters (Khalik et al., 2018, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 135: 451–457), together with more than 10 undergraduate and postgraduate theses on this subject. Some of these studies are partly funded by the Malaysian Ministry of Education (FRGS).  The MRIG research group also actively engaged with other microplastic and Marine Debris researchers in other Malaysian institutes such as Universiti Malaysia (Dr. Goh Hong Ching) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (Prof Dr. Zulfiqar Yassin and Assoc. Prof. Dr Mas Rosemal Hakim Mas Haris), Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (Prof Dr. Lee Yeong Yeh), as well as international collaboration from Indonesia, Center of Deep-Sea Research, LIPI (Ms. Corry Yanti Manullang). Since 2017, MRIG scientists have been selected to join Research Network on Microplastic Pollution for IOC-WESTPAC. The task was to study the abundance of microplastic in the pristine, moderate and urbanized area of Malaysia, in which are presented annually in the WESTPAC Regional Microplastic Workshop. It is envisioned that this whole project will provide more valuable information in water quality and marine pollution globally, especially with emphasize to the South China Sea water and WESTPAC regional countries.
 
Microplastic findings in the aquatic and terrestrial environments directly show that our ecosystems are also being threatened by this global problem. Naturally, government efforts such as the Lets breakup with single-use plastic program organized by the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) are welcomed by all parties. In addition, our research group has embarked on an awareness campaign at any level including schools, on the dangers of plastic use and microplastic contamination with a slogan "small hands change the world". We hope the campaign can inspire the younger generation and raising awareness about the microplastic pollution and its danger to our future.

Part of this article has been published in MajalahSains.com. This article was written by members of the Microplastic Research Interest Group (MRIG), School of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu: Sabiqah Tuan Anuar (PhD), Alyza Azzura Azmi (PhD), Wan Mohd Afiq Wan Mohd Khalik (PhD), Shumpei Iehata (PhD), Mohd Fadzil Akhir (PhD), Yusof Shuaib Ibrahim (PhD)
 
Buddies Club UMT exclusively was formed under the International Centre. It is a group of UMT students who are the helpers if there are any events under the International Centre. UMT International Centre will recruit new buddy every semester. Usually, the local students who had gone to the overseas for practical, exchange student program or any other programs automatically will be appointed as a buddy.

They also organized many programs especially for international students such as team building, welcoming programme and gathering activities. For this semester, above 30 buddies (from every school) are active where they contribute their energy in handling some events or programs. Another thing that Buddies have contributed is forming and helping the international community in UMT. This could be a chance for them to contribute something to the International Centre.
 
UMT and the Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on September 31, 2016. As a result of the MoU, CVASU sent 35 of their students to the Industrial Training School of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (PPSPA) from 6 November 2016 - 5 December 2016 on fisheries and aquaculture in the field of Fish Production, Fish Health and Fish Nutrition Technology.

In 2017, PPSPA received a total of 34 final year students and a lecturer from the Faculty of Fisheries, CVASU to undergo Industrial Training at PPSPA, UMT. For the continuation of the MoU, CVASU has sent 45 students to Industrial Training at PPSPA, UMT from 21 October to 19 November 2018 and assisted by a lecturer from the Faculty of Fisheries, CVASU. The students were divided into 2 groups for the training period in PPSPA and AKUATROP while in UMT. CVASU students took 3 courses at the PPSPA, UMT. The courses are AQU3101: Seed Production Technology, AQU3301: Aquatic Organism Health and AQU3202: Nutrition and Livestock Food Technology. They were exposed to theoretical and practical courses in the laboratory of PPSPA and AKUATROP.

The objectives of this program are to fill up the Student Mobility Program (Inbound) which is one of the Key Performance Index (KPI) under the Critical Agenda Program (CAPS) and this program is one of the activities under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that has been signed between UMT and CVASU. Moreover, the effort of internationalization and improvising the image of UMT to foster closer cooperation with MoU UMT partners also can be done through this program. Last but not least, this program helps to promote the program of study at UMT to increase the inclusion of pre-graduate and post-graduate students internationally.
 
As we celebrate our 16th anniversary of UMT Convocation, who is better than our students and alumni to tell us what they love about UMT. There is one outstanding lady, Cut Uliza that just finished her study in Master of Aquaculture along with the title of the very first batch alumni of UMT Asean Scholarship. UMT Asean Scholarship was offered in 2017 and the main objective of UMT Asean Scholarship is to increase the number of postgraduate students of UMT.

Cut who is admired for her impeccable sense of timing, hardworking and kindness was hail in Acheh, Indonesia. She just started her study in master on November 2017 and finished on November 2018 and wishes to further her study until the Ph.D. level in this university since she is satisfied with the facilities, surrounding and the lecturers’ quality in UMT. CONGRATULATIONS on your massive achievement!
 
The 16th UMT Convocation 2018 happened from 11th November 2018 until 13th November 2018 with the graduation of Ph.D., Master, Bachelor and Diploma. Along with the convocation, there was a Pesta Kooccurre with shops that sold many types of snacks, heavy meals and drinks. It took place at the Dataran Pesta Konvo UMT from 10th November 2018 until 14th November 2018.

On 13th November 2018, an event of cultural performances and singing also conducted on that night from 8.30 pm until 12.00 am. The event was called Gala Night where many performances from local students and international students. For the local students, there was a busking did by a group of students, theater and a traditional Malay dance from a cultural club of UMT. Not only that
, there were also performances of Chinese, Sarawak and Sabah dance carried out.

Meanwhile, for the international students, there were also singing and dance performances on that night from various countries such as Bangladesh, Jordan, Indonesia
and Thailand. A dance called Dabke Dance from Jordanian students and a Malay song that entitled Salam Terakhir were presented by Bilal Adil Mohammed from Iraq. For the Bangladesh students, there were singing and dance performances. Thai and Indonesian students also performed that night.
 
 
Our mailing address is:
The Chancellery, 
University of Malaysia Terengganu, 21030,
Terengganu, Malaysia
 






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Universiti Malaysia Terengganu · The Chancellery,  · Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu 21300 · Malaysia

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