IV. ASSESSING INTEGRATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES INTO DEVELOPMENT PLANNING
Local government plays a significant role in the life of a community. It helps to create economic opportunities for the local population by providing an infrastructure that is conducive to industrial development. It promotes the health of the community by ensuring clean air through adequate industrial and residential zoning and proper siting of industries away from housing estates. Local authorities also ensure that the community enjoys clean water, proper sanitation and waste disposal facilities, including sewage disposal. By regulating the food sales and food premises, local authorities ensure that the community is not exposed to contaminated food. In addition, local authorities have a duty to ensure that housing is fit for human use. With the rapid industrialization of the country, local government is now faced with an important challenge that directly impinges on the health of the community: the protection of the environment. That challenge is especially critical in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur which is the largest urban local authority in the country, responsible for a population of nearly two million.
Set against the experience of City Hall of Kuala Lumpur, this chapter argues that it is imperative to integrate environmental conditions into local development planning. The impediments towards such integration are also discussed. It is concluded that full integration is only possible if control is delegated to local authorities for the enforcement of environmental legislation. Additionally, local authorities should be empowered to undertake EIAs.