Protect urban green lungs

AS Penang goes through rapid urbanisation, we need to find ways to protect our green spaces within the concrete jungle.

These urban green spaces would serve as areas for city folk to get together and enjoy nature, said Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail during the ‘Malaysia Urban Green Space and International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration (Ifpra) Asia Pacific Conference 2014’ at the Bayview Beach Resort in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, yesterday.

“Malaysia has the vision of achieving ‘Garden Nation’ status by 2020, and in line with it, we have to find ways to ensure that development is balanced and our ecological integrity is preserved at the same time,” she said.

Patahiyah added that urban green space had become a focus point for people who are usually surrounded by buildings.

“Urban green space offers various benefits to the environment. It helps to control pollution, aids wildlife, and contributes to the spiritual development of society.

“Green spaces are usually used for recreational activities that lead to a healthy lifestyle,” she said.

MPPP Recreation, Tourism and International Affairs Department director Mohamed Akbar Mustapha said urban green spaces were open places that were transformed into parks or green spaces for recreational purposes.

“There are various ways of creating urban green spaces and the efforts can be seen at the Penang Municipal Park where the public visit the park regularly for recreational purposes.

“The park also provides signboards displaying Quick Response codes that will explain the functions of the park’s facilities, its history and scientific information of certain plant species, shrubs and trees.”

The three-day conference saw speakers from Switzerland, South Africa, British, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Denmark discussing challenges and sharing best practices for conservation of natural resources in the urban areas.

A total of 38 topics will be presented by the speakers on issues ranging from urban forestry to tree care, ecological and sociological functions, human need, education and ways to address the different types of users.

Some 100 participants are taking part in the conference, themed ‘Park as Melting Pots and Venues for Environmental Learning’, which is jointly organised by the council, Ifpra and Forest Research Institute Malaysia with the support of International Union of Forest Research Organisation.

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