A city set amidst greenery, Shah Alam tries to live up to its reputation as an environmentally-friendly township.
Shah Alam prides itself on its ecologically sound buildings and neighbourhoods as well as initiatives that protect the natural foliage surrounding them.
Activities in the forest
The first stop undoubtedly has to be the Malaysian Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Malaysia), Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam, a sprawling 817ha of rainforest reserve and the living, breathing heart of the city.
It is a point of interest for nature lovers who find solace in bonding with the environment through recreational pastimes such as cycling.
Fathurah Aman, 27, from Ampang, brought his nieces and nephew for a leisurely ride following recommendations from friends.
“It’s our first time here so we’re really excited to see what this place has to offer.
“After I heard about what a great park this is and the bicycle rental facility, which most places don’t provide, I thought it would be fun to bring them along and experience it together,” he said.
In addition to cycling, there are other activities integrated into the forest grounds at the Skytrex Adventure Park, from walking on “Dragon Bones” to gliding up 22m high on the “Flying Fox”.
The principles of safety, education, recreation and preserving the environment were important elements in the rainforest escapades idea brought over from France, said managing director and co-owner Azlan Idrus.
“The forest had been forgotten for a long time, but we worked together with the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry as they too wanted to bring the forest back to life.
“We used as many eco-friendly methods as possible to keep the forest intact, for example none of the tree platforms are nailed to the tree but secured with a compression technique, adjusted periodically for the tree to breathe.
“The trees might actually be under better care because we keep a closer eye on them by having proper forest management records and treat them when necessary.
“Plus, it’s good to get more children exposed to the natural environment, rather than staring at their electronic gadgets, and work with the relevant authorities to put up information panels,” said Azlan.
On the edge of the reserve, the Setia Eco Park neighbourhood was developed based on a green theme, with 25% of the area set aside for nature-inspired amenities to accommodate the surrounding flora and fauna.
Encouraging energy and water saving practices, each house was installed with a Building Integrated Photovoltaic Unit (BPIV) and Rainwater Harvesting System.
Resident Wong Khai Yeh finds comfort in co-existing so closely with the lush vegetation.
“It’s always a joy to come back to the neighbourhood after the hustle and bustle of the town; the natural greenery has a therapeutic effect on me,” said Wong.
Aside from Setia Eco Park, other areas such as Sections 4, 11 and 27 are also taking a step towards a greener society by nurturing the growth of sustainable produce through the Shah Alam City Council’s (MBSA) community garden campaign, tending to a variety of fruit and vegetable plants.
Eco-friendly and ecologically sustainable structures have been cropping up around Shah Alam with one such example being the Setia City Mall (SCM).
The ecologically-friendly building has everything from waste management and green leases to raise tenants’ awareness by educating them on the importance of energy-efficient lighting and equipment.
“SCM was built to minimise environmental impact and with retail sophistication in mind,” said SCM general manager Tim Hill.
“Right from the start, the mall was conceived as a green building by incorporating various environmentally-conscious features and we are pleased that our green credentials are in line with Shah Alam’s move towards becoming a greener city,” he said.
MBSA is doing its part by encouraging residents associations and local communities to participate in activities that benefit the local neighbourhoods through the clean zone campaign.
To promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent the release of carbon monoxide, a 2km-long bicycle path and jogging track were set up in Section 4 to connect parks in the neighbourhood.
A 10km bicycle trail around the city centre to discourage the use of motor vehicles is still in the development stage.
MBSA deputy corporate communications director Shahrin Ahmad said they are working with Kris Biofuels Sdn Bhd to recycle used cooking oil from food outlets, with 2,400kg of used cooking oil collected from January to March this year alone.
“MBSA is also actively inviting Shah Alam residents to embrace recycling activities through the provision of recycle collection centres at various points.
“We wholly support buildings using the Green Building Index elements such as rainwater collection, reducing electricity usage by opting for natural light sources, free flow ventilation and so on, which will be used extensively in the new Section 14 PKNS headquarters.
“Additionally, with the cooperation of NGOs and volunteers, we are targeting to plant 80,000 trees yearly in recreational parks and playgrounds with the “Trees For Life” campaign,” he said.