3 October 2019 – Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) receives first prize under the category ‘Best Non-Government Organisations (NGO)’s Leading Practices’ for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Award for Environmental Management (KSAAEM) in the Islamic World for 2018-2019.

The prestigious award was presented at an opening ceremony of the 8th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers held at the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) Headquarters in Rabat, Morocco. The award was granted by the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and ISESCO.

Present to receive the award worth USD$30, 000 on behalf of UTB was Yang Mulia Dayang Dr. Hajah Noor Maya binti Haji Md Salleh, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic). Sixteen other recipients from thirteen Islamic countries also received their awards at the ceremony.

The winning project was entitled “Mitigating Floods and Fire Hazards in Forestry Using Internet of Things (IoT) System in Brunei Darussalam”. The project was led by Yang Mulia Dr. Wida Susanty binti Haji Suhaili, Assistant Professor from the School of Computing and Informatics, UTB along with other members of the team which include graduates from the University, Yang Mulia Nurul Wardah binti Haji Hamzah and Yang Mulia Siti Aisyah binti Haji Jalil.

According to Dr. Wida, the project was an attempt to use the IoT system in Brunei particularly in the peatland area. Few years back, peatland forest fire have been occurring in the Belait District over the Badas area caused by human activities. This has potential in disrupting the ecosystem that may lead to the degradation of the peatland forest which became prone to fire, given the right conditions. Therefore, this project aims to prevent peatland fire from occurring.

The project proposed a peatland fire prevention mechanism where it artificially keeps fire-prone peatland areas wet during prolonged dry climate to reduce the risks of forest fires. A detection sensor is used to monitor water level in the peatland areas. If excessive dryness is detected, the system will respond by releasing water from the dam to wet the soil from drying. On the other hand, if the water is found to be excessive, the system will drain the water to avoid flooding.

Dr. Wida also said that uniqueness of peatland and the attempts in conserving the area has significantly expanded in this project. She also highlighted that with the formation of the Networked ASEAN Peat Swamp Forest Communities (NAPC), researchers within the region are working towards a centre where they can share data and store information. She also thinks that working together to address this issue would help in conserving the peatland, not just in Brunei but as well as in neighboring countries in Southeast Asia in order to promote sustainable management of peatlands in ASEAN.

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