MOTORISTS who frequent Jalan Bersatu 13/4 Petaling Jaya were shocked to see the large shady trees that lined the whole stretch of road have been felled.
The road in the Section 13 industrial area that connects Jalan Semangat and Jalan Kemajuan, houses office units, warehouses, showrooms and churches on both sides.
Sheila Nathan, 45, and her colleagues at a publication company at the stretch noticed the tree felling exercise about two weeks ago.
“They chopped down whole trees. I really don’t see any reason to fell whole trees unless they are rotting or posing a danger to motorists and pedestrians.
“I enjoyed having those trees because they provided shade and kept the area cool,” said Sheila, adding that she had no idea why the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) did this.
Her colleague Rozita Saed, 40, said she was shocked to see the trees that provided much shade were chopped down.
“We need to learn to care for our environment better. If the trees were a hazard I am sure there were better solutions (than chopping them down).
“I have not seen any damaged branches falling on cars, so the tree felling was really unnecessary,”she said.
Jessie James, 29, said MBPJ should have a scheduled trimming of branches for the safety of road users – not just when someone complains or when there are incidents of fallen trees.
“But in this case, the council workers chopped off the trunks into pieces and left them along the road; some were even uncollected,” she said.
MBPJ, she said, should have conducted tests to check if the trees were in danger of falling, claiming that the trees looked healthy.
MBPJ Corporate Communica-tions deputy director Abdul Hakim Khairuddin said the trees were chopped down for major infrastructure upgrade project in Section 13.
The affected roads are Jalan 13/4, Jalan 13/2, Jalan 13/1 and Jalan 13/4A.
Package One is expected to be completed in September next year, he said, adding that, based on MBPJ’s Landscape Department guidelines, the trees would be replanted when the project is nearing completion.
The project, he added, was also to upgrade the drainage and pedestrian walkway according to the universal design guideline, landscaping works, as well as parking space for cars, motorbikes and the disabled.
Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) Malaysia president Henry Goh said it was both ironic and sad to see perfectly healthy, mature trees felled unnecessarily.
“With better long-term planning, the need for trees to make way for roads or any other purpose could be mitigated.
“Trees have many uses and functions. For example, the canopies of trees act as a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing pollutants from the air,” he said, adding that trees also provided shade from solar radiation and reduced noise.
“It’s critical for rainforest and trees in urban settings, such as parks, to be preserved.”
Goh said the carbon stored in the wood slowed down the rate of global warming and that trees also prevented flooding and soil erosion.
Trees too offer habitation and food to birds, insects, lichen and fungi.
“Therefore a more systematic and proper planning should be adopted in the selection of locations for the planting of trees,” he said.