PETALING JAYA: They have been working tirelessly to care for the Bukit Gasing Forest Park, one of the few green lungs in the concrete jungle of central Klang Valley.
“The trees here help to curb pollution. We need to protect that,” said Raj Mansukhlal, who is a committee member of Friends of Bukit Gasing (FOBG).
One of FOBG’s main focus is to keep Bukit Gasing in its natural state.
Together with relevant authorities such as the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), FOBG carries out a number of environmental activities.
Similar to the previous year, FOBG worked with MBPJ planting trees in Bukit Gasing.
They managed to plant over 100 trees this year and not just along the hiking trails.
“We went deeper into the forest to plant the trees. Some of our members then spent the next two months following up and checking to see if the saplings were growing well,” said Raj.
“We managed to plant almost 200 trees last year,” he added.
FOBG also takes measures to ensure the safety of hikers in Bukit Gasing.
One of their ongoing efforts is a trail marking initiative that is in the works with MBPJ.
Once a rubber plantation, Bukit Gasing has a number of common trails through it.
“Many people come to Bukit Gasing to hike or to simply enjoy nature, and if they’re not familiar with the trails, they can get lost,” said Raj.
“We’re looking to create trail markers for proper hiking routes to help them find their way and at the same time, close off old trails to give nature time to recover,” he said.
He noted that many people would create their own markers by tying raffia strings or even carving marks on trees.
“These acts hurt the forest. We need to try to minimise that as best as we can, so that’s how the trail markers would help too,” he said.
Their persistent efforts have been recognised when they were named as one of the Star Golden Hearts Award winners for their environmental preservation and conservation efforts.
FOBG also works on public awareness campaigns to educate the community on nature and its resources as well as the right way to preserve, protect and enhance them.
Raj noted that many of the things, which used to thrive in Bukit Gasing had since declined.
“Just five years ago, I used to see so many fishes in the ponds, as well as butterflies, squirrels and frogs along the trails.
“But now, I no longer see even the beautiful and intricate spider webs,” he said.
“That’s just in five years. Imagine how it would be like 20 years down the road.”
The NGO also takes on a number of proactive measures to assist MBPJ and DBKL in maintaining the trails in Bukit Gasing by clearing fallen trees or even making small repairs to old trails.
FOBG hopes to work even more closely with both MBPJ and DBKL in their efforts to preserve Bukit Gasing and its surrounding areas.
Other efforts include watchtower restorations in both the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor sides of Bukit Gasing.
FOBG’s long-term goal is to have rangers to help prevent acts of vandalism and to provide protection for visitors to Bukit Gasing.