Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Selangor assemblymen celebrate Earth Day with residents - The Star

May 6, 2008 By DEBBIE CHAN

NATURE lovers, residents and students thronged the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park to celebrate Earth Day recently.

Organised by Friends of Kota Damansara (FOKD) and the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), more than 500 people turned up to show support for an environmental cause and to take part in the activities designed to bring awareness to the community about the rich eco-system in the park.

The Malaysian Nature Society was also involved in the event.

The highlight of the celebration was nature lovers hearing the views of newly-elected representatives – Bukit Lanjan state assemblyman Elizabeth Wong, Kota Damansara state assemblyman Dr Nasir Hashim and Subang MP S. Sivarasa – on the environment and what they would do to improve the current situation.

Fun in the water: The residents going on boat rides during the celebration.

“We want the new leaders to see how beautiful this place is and we want the forest to be gazetted.

“We also want to educate the public on the importance of the environment. We don’t object to development but we want it to be sustainable,” said organising chairman Anson Ooi.

Wong, who is also the Selangor state exco member holding the tourism and environment portfolio, said there were many initiatives that she would be undertaking with the help of other assemblymen.

“The new Selangor Government will emphasise community-centred development to ensure sustainability and minimal impact on environment,” said Wong.

A task force consisting of non-governmental organisations, industry experts and scientists will be formed to advice the state government on environmental policies.

Among some of the other initiatives include the Green Rangers programme that was recently launched which uses the community as the eyes and ears of the state government to monitor and curb pollution and illegal rubbish dumping.

Total support: Visitors signing up at the booths to become volunteers for Friends of Kota Damansara.

“Consultation between residents and the authority is crucial so that development can be well-thought out without making the residents suffer,” said Dr Nasir.

“There will also be no more once-a-year environment week because we need a continuous effort for it to be effective and to truly make a change.

“We will start with at least once a month and look on increasing the efforts,” Wong said.

Petaling Jaya City Council representatives also presented the Local Agenda 21 with emphasis on the responsibility of the community to work with the local authority to ensure that sustainability happens.

“We hope that other councils will also adopt the Local Agenda 21 to continue this green effort,” Nasir said.

Among the activities at the event were jungle trail walks, night jungle walks, and boat rides.

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