KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 (Bernama) -- Oil palm mat, a locally developedinnovation to prevent soil erosion, may be making an environmental impactin Beijing when the Chinese capital plays host to the Olympic Games in2008.
The mat, developed by the Malaysia Palm Oil Board and made from oil palmbranches, is currently undergoing trial at a 65-ha site in China.
If successful, the mat will be used to cover miles of the Gobi Desert inthe west of Beijing which will reduce dust from sand storms being blowninto the capital city during the summer games.
Speaking to reporters at the inaugural Malaysia-China Seminar on Scienceand Technology here, Prof Dr Hejun Yin of the Institute of ElectronicsChinese Academy of Sciences said that preliminary tests had shown positiveresults.
"We have found that the mat, besides preventing sand from being blown offthe surface, it can also retain water and release it when the weather isdry," he said.
Malaysia is currently the world's largest palm oil producer and from theextraction of the oil, thousands of tonnes of oil palm waste areincinerated or left to decompose.
The mat is also part of an ongoing effort by the government to generatevalue by-products from oil palm wastes.
The two-day seminar, which began Thursday, is attended by 120 governmentofficials and scientists from both countries and is opened by DeputyScience, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha.