Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Towards a clean and green environment - The Star

Jun 4, 2008 By DEBBIE CHAN

SELANGOR is set to be the most environment-friendly state in the country if it is able to achieve its clean and green agenda.

For a start, the state government will require all new developments to have at least two hectares of recreational area per 1,000 people.

According to state Environment, Tourism and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong, this guideline is mandatory in the National Physical Plan but is currently not in force in Selangor.

“This is not happening now so a lot of things have to be rectified at the state level,” Wong said.

I promise: Elizabeth Wong showing her pledge to The Star group chief editor Datuk Wong Chun Wai before pinning it up on the MY Act board.

The state government is also looking at amending by-laws for local councils to resume their responsibilities on rubbish collection and water management instead of outsourcing them to private companies.

“The current system doesn’t seem to be working with a lot of weaknesses, from complaints of rubbish not being collected to the inefficiency of the sub-contractors, so we will look into that,” Wong said.

She said she would be tabling several environment regulations at the next state assembly meeting that would focus on amendments of jurisdiction and new enactments.

“I’m looking at a total regulation on sand mining to curb smuggling and over-mining.

“Of course I will have to look at the economic and legal aspects of it,” she added.

Wong said she would also focus on bringing into force the current guidelines on environment issues.

“There are other small measures that I have in mind, including meeting hypermarkets to discuss the possibility of using only bio-degradable plastic bags and ultimately shifting to cloth bags, as well as the idea of banning styrofoam boxes from the state secretariat cafeteria,” she said.

Since Wong took office as a state executive councillor in mid-March, the main complaints that she has had to deal with are illegal dumping, pollution and landfill.

“I think there is no use trying to implement ad hoc measures just like how I have stopped the token cleaning of the Klang River.

“We should look at the problems on the whole and resolve matters at the source,” she said.

Wong also encourages youngsters with interesting environment-friendly ideas and concepts to submit them to the state government so that they can be given due consideration in the decision-making process.

“If the youngsters have anything to propose, I’m open to listening and discussing the ideas with them.

“They can present their concepts and if it lies under the state’s jurisdiction, we will definitely look into it,” she said.

Wong believes that the community should be allowed to lobby and be part of the decision-making process.

“My personal agenda is to get people to be more active in collective movements which can bring amazing results,” she said.

Wong was at Menara Star where she made her pledge as part of The Star’s Green Every Day - Act Now! campaign held in conjunction with World Environment Day 2008.

Her pledge is to help increase the green and forest areas in Selangor.

“My portfolio covers everything in regard to the environment – from preservation to prevention, rivers, soil, pollution and oil.

“It is in my capacity to try to reclaim green areas,” she said.

“Trees are important to help urbanites to breathe fresh air and ultimately, for health reasons, we should have sufficient trees in the city,” she said.

Wong will be participating in The Star’s Green Every Day - Act Now! event at Taman Lembah Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail from 9am to 4pm on Sunday.

There will be a lot of environment and community activities on the day.

Admission is free and people are encouraged to bring along their children. The sponsor for the event is Bonuslink.

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