VI. PROBLEMS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PLANNED ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES
2. Built-up environment
City Hall is the approving authority for all buildings, city traffic dispersal systems, provision of parking, public parks and housing/apartment densities. It also considers and approves applications for land-use conversions. In short, City Hall has the authority to change the landscape and character of any locality within the city. The increasing number of skyscrapers and the disappearing foliage cover in the city is increasing the heat level and aggravating air pollution. According to Sham,"the high density of tall buildings has created a ‘bowl effect’ trapping heat and air pollutants from industries and vehicle emissions". This situation is exacerbated by the reduction in evaporative cooling capacity as a result of declining vegetation in the city and the removal of rain by the drainage system. Consequently, the consumption of electricity, which is another source of pollution, increases as more people use air-conditioning, for example.. The heat sink problem in Kuala Lumpur therefore needs to be carefully studied. There should be more dispersion of industrial and commercial complexes away from the city centre. Greater attention should be given to the creation and maintenance of shady parks within the city area. Planting trees in isolation and along roads may not give the desire effect. Although land is scare and expensive, an attempt must be made to buy private land for that purpose. Sham has suggested the setting up of a national urbanization policy that will address and serve as a guide in the development of urban centres that are undergoing rapid changes.
The development of major roads and highways has not taken into account the importance of street and roadside landscaping. Agencies and developers responsible for road construction in most cases leave the responsibility of landscaping to City Hall. However, the ability of City Hall to carry out that task is restricted because of the lack of funds and manpower. The problem is compounded by a lack of firm guidelines and capacity to enforce landscaping requirements.