Groups spell out ways to cool down cities


  • Nation
  • Monday, 12 Jun 2017

PETALING JAYA: It’s the little acts like conserving water and saving electricity – even planting a tree – that can help cool the urban heat island effect in the cities, say environment groups.

Malaysian Nature Society president Henry Goh said while authorities should set aside enough land for green lungs in the cities, the public could also do their bit to help maintain such spaces.

“The first thing to inculcate among the public is to share the knowledge why trees are important to mitigate the heat exchange in regards to industrial emissions of heat and pollution.

“The public can also help by practising more care when disposing waste. Adopt the habit of reducing, recycling and reusing waste,” said Goh.

Conserving water, saving electricity and supporting anti-plastic campaign, he said, would also help towards reducing greenhouse gas and heat.

Power Shift Malaysia co-founder Adrian Yeo said even a simple effort such as planting a tree counted.

They were commenting on Sunday Star’s front page report about the urban heat island effect in Kuala Lumpur caused by rapid development.

A study had showed that the city was not only getting much hotter – up to 10 degrees more – than surrounding rural areas but it was also experiencing heavier rainfall, leading to more severe flash floods, and higher temperatures.

EcoKnights president Yasmin Rasyid said property developers could build each home with a rainwater harvesting tank.

“This can retain rain water for outdoor use before all of this rushes into the drains as storm water and floods the lower areas,” she said.

Yasmin said for free green lungs in the city, vertical gardens on rooftops could also be created, functioning as cooling systems for the buildings.

WWF policy and climate change head Lavanya Rama Iyer said urban folks should continue demanding the protection of existing green lungs such as in the recent cases of Bukit Gasing and Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

“All of us should signal to decisionmakers from local governments that greening the city is necessary for national well-being and development should not compromise this,” she said.

Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Aki urged all environmental NGOs to convene a summit to map out a blueprint.

“Deforestation must be stopped immediately. We need to slow down our development. A sustainable plan is needed to look into conservation and preservation.”

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