KUCHING: Each time Flora Eliza Saban drives past Jalan Stadium at Petra Jaya, she smiles at the sight of her little “babies” growing taller and greener, and this fills her with pride.
Seven months ago, the 23-year-old fresh graduate helped to plant five trees along Jalan Stadium as part of Kuching North City Hall’s (DBKU) efforts in making its jurisdiction greener in conjunction with the Kuching City Day celebration.
The tree planting activity marked the launch of DBKU’s participation in the global competition, Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC).
Over 100 people including DBKU Mayor Datuk Abdul Wahap Abang Julai, civil servants from other agencies, WWF-Malaysia and students from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak lent a hand to plant a total of 738 trees in a day.
This activity augurs well with the “Garden City” concept and more importantly, the trees planted are expected to help reduce roughly 738 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the lifespan of the trees.
Since 2013, WWF has been challenging cities around the world to do more than just turn off their lights for Earth Hour.
The EHCC, which is a year-long competition among cities to promote renewable energy use and prepare for climate change, was introduced to encourage cities to think green.
“The tree planting activity was a first for me and I do not have green fingers.
“I’m so glad to see the trees that my friends and I planted last July are now growing very well.
“I feel proud that I contributed to greening the city and doing my part to help address climate change,” said Flora.
Another tree planting participant, Deborah Andrew, 27, said that the activity is a good effort to expose Kuching folk to the importance of having more trees.
She hoped that more city dwellers would do their part – from planting more trees at their backyard to using less plastic bags while shopping – as these small steps will go a long way in making the city greener.
Kuching is one of the four cities in Malaysia taking part in the EHCC 2015/2016. The other three are Petaling Jaya, Malacca and Penang.
Worldwide, a total of 123 cities from 21 countries are taking part and cities will be judged based on the measures taken to promote environmental sustainability.
The result of the challenge will be announced in May.
In line with DBKU’s participation in EHCC 2015/2016, the city hall has pledged to plant three trees for every tree felled in its jurisdiction and to stop using styrofoam food and drink containers in its official events.
Tree planting is one of the many green initiatives embarked by DBKU for the long term as part of its Clean Beautiful and Safe Enhancement Plan for 2013-2017 (CBS).
As part of CBS, city hall has embarked on a lighting transformation programme, where existing street-lights were replaced with LED lighting along Main Bazaar, Gambier Street and Kuching Esplanade – the city’s historical and heritage area.
Another source of pride for DBKU is its river rehabilitation project where DBKU seeks to enhance the outlook of Kuching’s natural heritage through its Sarawak River cleaning programme that is carried out daily.
This year Earth Hour will be observed on March 19, Saturday, 8.30pm local time globally.