MIRI: Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has said he would not allow urban Sarawak to become a “meaningless, unhappy concrete jungle”.
He sees an urgent need to create more green lungs within cities and towns in every division to mitigate unhealthy impacts such as vehicle congestion, and air and noise pollution.
Adenan wants to see at least one sizeable green lung being turned into a totally protected nature reserve to ensure that urban Sarawak would not be over-developed.
He said here yesterday that the state government was concerned about the preservation of the environment, not just for rural areas but also cities and towns.
“We in Sarawak are still blessed with plentiful of flora and fauna. We can find these natural assets of ours not just in rural areas but also in urban areas.
“However in Sarawak, we are seeing a surge in traffic congestion in cities and towns as well as increasing air and noise pollution. This is a result of the fast pace of urban growth and population increase.
“We need to mitigate these unhealthy impacts. We need to create more breathing spaces in our cities and towns by preserving more spaces as green lungs.
“In Miri city, we have taken the historic step of turning Piasau Camp into a totally protected nature reserve because of the presence of hornbills,” he said.
“This nature reserve is located within the city limits. This is the first time we have a totally protected park within the city in this state. I look forward to creating more of such nature reserves in every city and town in Sarawak.
“In Kuching, we already have a green belt running from the Sarawak Museum backyard to the Astana grounds across the river.
“We will look at having more green lungs in Kuching. In Sibu, the town is a bit congested and we will need to look into creating a big green lung there also, somewhere where we can find enough land.
“Other towns in Sarawak will also need to be given similar attention,” he said when attending the ceremony to gazette Piasau Camp as a totally protected nature site.
The ceremony was graced by Head of State Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Adenan said the state government was committed in its aim to see as least 10% of land in Sarawak be gazetted as national parks, nature reserves and animal reserves.
He thanked Shell and Petronas for allocating RM5mil each to Piasau Camp to undertake conservation projects.
Piasau Camp is located near Lutong bazaar. It was the residential estate for Shell expatriates from the early 1900s until two years ago.
Permanent secretary to the Resource Planning and Environment Ministry Datuk Sudarsono Osman, in his speech, said the conversion work by phases, including demolition, enrichment planting and landscape restoration and biodiversity protection would commence soon.
He said the 88.5ha Piasau Nature Reserve Project Implementation Committee had been established to oversee the overall management and development progress of the nature reserve.
At the event, the Piasau Nature Reserve logo was also revealed, featuring the iconic Oriental Pied hornbill.
Also at the ceremony was Shell Malaysia chairman Iain Lo, who said sustainable development was about operating the business in a manner attuned to community expectations, with a shared responsibility with government and society to help facilitate the development of strong and sustainable communities.
Adding to this, Petronas executive vice-president and chief executive officer (upstream) Datuk Wee Yiaw Hin stressed that group had always supported the preservation of the nation’s eco-heritage.