THE state will set up a RM10mil ecological park in the densely populated Sungai Maong area here, said Environment and Public Health Minister Datuk William Mawan Ikom.
He said the proposed eco-park would address urban environmental problems like effluents, storm water and other non-poisonous sources of waste water.
“Natural ecological systems such as wetlands have been used for decades in all climates around the world for urban storm water and waste water treatment.
“Ecological parks and wetlands are now designed to provide multiple benefits, including aquifer recharge, regulation of urban ambient temperature, flood retention and creation of wildlife habitats,” he added.
Mawan said the state government was exploring various options for a sewage treatment system for the city, which could later be extended to other major towns.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said the successful oil palm plantation projects in Kanowit and Selangau in central Sarawak and Jambatan Suai in Miri convinced native customary right (NCR) landowners of the many benefits they could get by opening up their land for commercial development through joint ventures with the private sector.
“These plantations have generated many employment opportunities and contracts for the supply of labour, harvesting and transportation of fresh fruit,” he said.
Jabu said landowners who participated in the plantations earned more and improved their living standards.
About a million hectares of NCR land are currently underdeveloped or left idle.
Jabu said his ministry would help to develop the NCR land near rural growth centres into oil palm estates.