VI. PROBLEMS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PLANNED ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES
H. Air pollution
While City Hall of Kuala Lumpur is not responsible for providing urban transport, it is not unusual for municipalities to take on that role. In the case of Kuala Lumpur, urban transportation is provided by private companies while the fee structure is determined by the Ministry of Transport and its agencies. The City Hall structure contains a Public Works and Traffic Management Department. Its function is to plan, design and implement road projects in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. City Hall, through the Public Works and Traffic Management Department, strives to provide efficient and competent planning, implementation, management and supervision of urban transportation planning in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. Although City Hall is involved in the planning process, it does not make the major decisions on urban transportation projects. However, City Hall does have a major to play in ensuring that those projects are implemented as scheduled, through the identification and acquisition of the required land. City Hall also plays a supporting role by providing public facilities like bus/taxi stops, terminals for city buses and inter-town buses and taxis.
Since the financing, planning and implementation capacity of City Hall with regard to city transportation is limited, it is therefore not surprising that major transportation systems in Kuala Lumpur have been privatized. Once the entire traffic dispersal and urban transport system is completed and functioning with a proper feeder service, Kuala Lumpur residents may soon face restrictions on their right to drive vehicles as and when they like. It is likely that measures will be introduced that will make it very expensive to drive a vehicle on city roads. The construction of the transport systems is essential to ensure that the rate of private vehicle use is reduced. Carbon-based emissions are one of the main causes of the greenhouse effect. The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur has the highest growth rate in the fields of transportation, utilities and manufacturing activities in the country (chapter V, section D).A study by Hisham and others (1995) found high levels of total suspended particulate matter over the Klang valley. Klang factories and Kuala Lumpur traffic were also found to be the greatest cause of pollution in the Klang valley. Major polluters include the thermal power stations which emit 22 per cent of the dust, 64 per cent of sulphur oxide and 81 per cent of nitrogen oxide found in the city air. City Hall is not in a position to control those sources of pollution. The national car project tacitly encourages vehicle ownership and there is no pressure on the car manufacturers and assemblers in the country to install catalytic converters to reduce emission levels. National energy policy allows power producers to use a combination of coal and oil fired power plants. Appropriate pollution control technology at those power stations is non-existent or inadequate. The immediate solution to the problem can be addressed by targeting the immediate causes. (Webster, 1994). That includes measures to reduce traffic, the introduction of price discrimination on leaded and unleaded petrol, using cleaner fuels like LNG or liquid petroleum gas and regulations to enforce the use of catalytic converters. A longer-term solution would be the construction of freeways and rapid systems for moving people in the city. In Kuala Lumpur, both approaches are being taken in tackling pollution and congestion on city roads. In the case of pollution caused by coal and oil fired thermal energy producers, a longer-term strategy would be to design and incorporate cleaner and safer technology in the production process.