Calls to protect green space

Environmentalist wants action to be taken to protect the country’s green spaces.

Environment and sustainability are hot topics. Homes and offices are increasingly being built with green credentials. We are becoming more conscious of the world around us. Encouraged to recycle and reuse to minimise waste. Plus take advantage of the world’s natural qualities to generate electricity such as through solar panels.

Now developers are being called upon to become more concerned about the environment, and not just by reducing carbon footprints. Something that is common in the western world where areas are naturally preserved not to be built on. An environmentalist in Malaysia has said that any development on either public or green spaces should include a proposal to advise of any negative influences on the surrounding environment.

Anthony Tan Kee Huat, executive director at the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia, has commented that being eco-friendly is not enough. He believes that the focus needs to shift from humans demands to how development can influence existing nature.

He commented, “We have to weigh the cost of ecology. Unfortunately, the ringgit sign weighs more than nature does… If they plan to build on green spaces, they should consider allocating a new green space for pre-existing animals and ensure that it is the same as the previous green space that they took.”

One such example is Bukit Kiara Park. Dubbed as Kuala Lumpur’s version of New York’s Central Park or even London’s Hyde Park, this expanse of 188 hectares includes jogging tracks, camping areas, places to cycle and picnic amongst a whole host of other activities. Parts of which have been sold off to developers. Resulting in the public parks at risk as nature is disturbed. Subsequently reducing space for people to enjoy.

Tan is wary of selling off this type of land to developers. He feels that there have been other similar cases that have resulted in the project not being finished but the environment already having been damaged. He therefore feels that there should be a focus on redeveloping older buildings rather than starting from afresh. A practice that is common across the west and something that Tan says should be adopted in Malaysia.