KUALA Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib has pledged to introduce newer and safer cycling routes in the city should more buildings switch off their lights when participating in this year’s Earth Hour.
He said in 2013, when they first collaborated with WWF-Malaysia to participate in the global environmental movement, only 86 buildings participated.
“But last year it increased to 277 buildings and I have set a target of 350 buildings participating this year.
“If we can reach the target, I promise to ensure that cycling tracks within the city are well maintained as well as introduce more routes,” he said in a press conference, yesterday.
Earth Hour will take place starting for an hour from 8.30 pm on Saturday.
“Cities, where everything is closely connected, have become the main growth centres for population, consumption and resource use as well as waste.
“This makes them the new hot spots of global environmental change.
“It is therefore important for cities to be more sustainable and timely for Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to be the driver of change by taking the lead.
“In conjunction with Earth Hour, DBKL has sent out about 700 letters to building owners to urge them to join and we hope they will respond positively to this initiative,” he said, adding that this was inline with the KL City Plan 2020.
“DBKL has also made it a condition for building developers to have a minimum of 10% functional green space in any future development to instill awareness for a greener city,” he said.
Ahmad Phesal added that DBKL, in a pilot project, would consider banning the use of polystyrene food containers at Dataran Merdeka as part of an awareness campaign.
Meanwhile, WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius SK Sharma said Kuala Lumpur was one of 7,000 cities across 162 countries to take part in Earth Hour.
“It is heartening to see DBKL’s move towards being a sustainable city getting a positive response.
“The awareness that a simple act of switching off the lights can help towards reducing energy consumption and in essence mitigate the effects of global warming.
“Our hope is that KL-ites will continue to practice energy saving beyond the 60 minutes.
“Conservation and sustainable consumption is the key to tackling this global issue,” he said.
Buildings taking part in this year’s Earth Hour include the Petronas Twin Towers, KL Tower, Bangunan Daya Bumi, DBKL Towers 1, 2 and 3 as well as all community halls and DBKL branch offices, shopping malls and hotels.