III. EXISTING INSTITUTIONS AND MEASURES FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND DECISION-MAKING
C. Legislative requirements
3. Other areas of environmental protection and control
Water supply was formerly under the aegis of the Irrigation and Sewage Department. However, under the government privatization plan, that responsibility has been transferred to Puncak Niaga, a private entity that manages and treats the water supply for consumers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. But the same rules and regulations will be imposed on Puncak Niaga under the strict control of the Department of Environment.
The prevention of riverbank erosion comes under the control of the Drainage and River Management Department of City Hall of Kuala Lumpur. Under that management arrangement, City Hall of Kuala Lumpur can tap into the Improvement Service Fund for carrying out construction work on preventing riverbank erosion. The fund is financed by fees and fines imposed on errant developers. Much of the investment in construction work along the Klang River has been directed towards preventing flash floods, which occurred regularly before the implementation in 1991 of a major embankment protection programme.
Solid waste management, which was previously under City Hall of Kuala Lumpur, has been privatized and is now carried out by Kualiti Alam Flora. Likewise, industrial and toxic waste (excluding radioactive waste) management has been privatized and is now undertaken by Kualiti Alam. However, the Department of Environment rules and regulations continue to be enforced.
(b)Conservation of scenic areas
The success of Kuala Lumpur and the big increase in its population threatens the future health of the capital. As a result of the rapid pace of development in the past few decades, public open space is inadequate. In fact, Kuala Lumpur has approximately just one-third of the open space available in many major cities of the western world. While the growth of Kuala Lumpur will continue to present enormous challenges, the Recreational Parks and Landscape Department has already made considerable effort towards turning the city into a "Garden City of Lights". The City Hall "No roads without trees" programme is an example of what can be done in "greening" a city.
The mining town legacy of Kuala Lumpur, which scarred the surface of the land, can now be used as an opportunity to provide new water-based recreational facilities in a parkland setting. Fragments remain of the original river valley landscape such as Bukit Nanas, a remarkable forest reserve in the heart of the city. It is a densely wooded hill that has been preserved as a natural wilderness area within a few minutes walk from the central business district.
City Hall of Kuala Lumpur has also preserved several patches of green areas as parks. For example, there are three major parks in Kuala Lumpur, and a number of other public green spaces. Taman Tasik Perdana, which lies immediately to the west of the city centre and is adjacent to the Parliament Building, is a beautiful area of rolling parkland around large man-made lakes.
The first theme area within a park was the Orchid Garden, which opened in 1986, followed by the Hibiscus Garden, a showcase for thousands of varieties of the national flower of Malaysia. An old colonial bungalow within the site was restored for use as an exhibition gallery and plant tissue laboratory. Other theme parks include the Bird Park, which is a 20-acre aviary containing more than 5,000 native and imported species of birds in a natural parkland setting, the Mouse Deer Park and the Butterfly Park.
On small vacant lots of land (e.g., at road junctions), mini-parks have been established; where they lie next to residential areas, recreational facilities such as children's play areas or football fields have been included. Other areas of vacant land have been made into tree banks. Major new developments in the city have been landscaped to complement the existing greenery. Planting and landscaping work has also taken place around parking lots in order to improve their appearance and provide for parked vehicles during the hottest parts of the day. Additional mini-parks are also planned for the terminals of the LRT transport system and at the major transport hubs of the city, such as the Puduraya bus station (City Hall of Kuala Lumpur, 1991).
Tied to the creation of the mini-parks, and the greening of Kuala Lumpur as a whole, is a plan to reintroduce birds into the heart of the city. It is felt that the sound of birdsong can do much to alleviate the burden of traffic noise and that many of the smaller birds can provide colour for city residents. This ambitious scheme aims, by judicious planting, to encourage birdlife along specially created corridors through the city which would allow birds to move from the natural forest reserves around Kuala Lumpur to the larger parks, such as Perdana, Titiwangsa, Bukit Jalil and Bandar Tun Razak within the city.
Central to the idea of Kuala Lumpur as a "garden city" is a project to plant trees and other vegetation along the road and river corridors, not only to shade motorists and pedestrians but also to create pleasant links between the various districts.