IN an e-mail response to StarBizWeek on the sustainability issues in on Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin says the KL Structure Plan and the KL City Plan are blue prints that guide the development of the city up to 2020.
The Structure Plan comprises of written statements that formulate the overall vision for the city while the KL City Plan facilitates the implementation of programmes. Below are highlights of some areas that are being looked into to improve the city.
SBW: Under the Economic Transformation Programme, there is also a plan to clean up the rivers but there are other issues as well. How will City Hall coordinate this and how does this tie-in with the “greening” of KL? Will this be another expensive public enterprise in which taxpayers will see little benefits? What is the cost so far?
Raja Nong Chik: The river of life programme aims to revitalize the Klang River to generate economic value through enhanced real estate value and tourist zones. It will be a catalyst to enhance livability by providing green areas and at the same time, focus on cleaning rivers to improve water quality.
Cleaner river improves water management by allowing water treatment intake points to have access to better quality water, while flood mitigation measures are also a major factor.
Intensive cleaning and flood mitigation works are the most crucial parts of the whole programme and will include rivers from upstream in Gombak and Selayang. The budget allocated for the works is RM3bil. Initial works are scheduled to start in the third quarter of this year.
Works are also being carried out to upgrade existing sewage systems to reduce pollutants from entering into the river.
What is the future of waste management for KL? Is it sustainable?
The Department of Solid Waste Management is working closely with City Hall through the implementation of the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Act that would emphasise separation at source. The EPP target of a higher recycling rate of 40% by 2020 is also being addressed by studying the possibility of improving food wastes collection and processing that enables better use of technology to generate more sustainable outcomes like energy production and the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
In addition, greater attention is being placed on construction and demolition wastes and the Government hopes to improve the disposal system to better manage the reuse and recycled rates of such wastes.
Does the current plan for KL's green space take into account population growth and urban expansion? Are there plans for more green space?
The provision of green spaces takes into account the growth of the city and its population. Green areas and public open spaces need to be defined.
Green spaces are defined as an area where a part of it has trees or green cover. This includes open areas, infrastructure corridors where some utility infrastructure may be located.
Public open spaces are used for recreational activities and sports. They are fields, neighbourhood playgrounds, parks, open spaces within sports complexes, polo and golf courses.
Badminton, basketball and tennis courts, stadiums are also considered public open spaces.
The green and open areas in the city are created to improve the quality of life and to add biodiversity. Other functions are to cool the area and to improve air quality.
We are thinking of the future generation. We are in the tropics and we want to beautify the city. The creation of these green spaces also provide areas for recreation and help boost tourism.
There are parks in the city of more than 50ha like Taman Tasik Perdana and Taman Lembah Kiara.
There is Taman Titiwangsa, which is more than 25ha, that can accommodate 200,000 people. So around the city, there are parks of different sizes.
Then there are smaller parks of between one and five hectares.
In residential neighbourhoods, they could be less than one hectare.
So around the city, there are both public and private open space. By 2020, KL is expected to have a population of 2.2 million and there are plans to increase the ratio of public open space per city dweller by controlling developments in the city and opening up public open spaces along rivers.
What constitutes “livability” for City Hall? How does density ratio figure into this? What is KL's current population?
In 2000, Kuala Lumpur has a population of 1.305 million and currently KL's population is estimated at 1.627 million. This means KL's population growth is at the rate of 2.2% per annum in the last 10 years.
Livability is generally measured in terms of stability, access to healthcare and education plus an efficient transportation system and accompanied by an enabling cultural and living environment.
Under the Greater Kuala Lumpur/ Kiang Valley national key result area (GKL/KV NKEA), we are working towards improving basic services and transportation, while other NKEAs focuses on Health and Education.
We thus envisage that Kuala Lumpur's current population of 1.63 million will be enjoying a better “livability” environment in the coming years.
Population density is growing but provision of a clean and green environment as well as better housing and traffic management will help to drive Kuala Lumpur into the top 20 most livable cities in the world.