Trees along Jalan Sultan Ismail at risk of falling, says expert

KUALA LUMPUR: The trees around Jalan Sultan Ismail here have the potential of falling following an incident where a large tree toppled during heavy rain and strong winds on Tuesday (May 7) afternoon.

Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (Ilam) president Associate Professor Dr Nor Atiah Ismail said it was because the tree root chain in the area was interconnected and had an impact on the durability of the trees.

Besides, the current uncertain weather factor in Kuala Lumpur could also contribute to incidents of fallen trees around the area.

"If we saw a fallen tree yesterday (May 7), it was the first sign of trees around the area to (risk) also fall. This is because the roots of the trees as we know are tangled and joined on the left and right.

"This root chain is actually very strong, but if one falls (like) yesterday it is actually a sign of an emergency. So mitigation needs to be done as soon as possible so that yesterday's incident does not happen again," she said while appearing as a guest on Bernama TV's Malaysia Petang Ini programme on Wednesday (May 8).

In this regard, Nor Atiah welcomes the desire of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to review the guidelines for the preservation of old trees around the capital, as announced by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Federal Territories) Dr Zaliha Mustafa on Tuesday.

Nor Atiah suggested that the guidelines to be established should be in line with city planning and there is a need to provide a database for each tree planted.

"In today's age of technology, we also need to digitise the landscape by having a large database. So every tree we plant (whether it's 30, 50, 70 to a hundred years old) needs to have a suitable database.

"Ilam has voiced this matter to DBKL, for us to digitise the trees in Kuala Lumpur and (to be) updated regularly... because these trees are living things and will change so we can't treat them like other infrastructure.

"With this database, we can monitor the tree's needs periodically, including the health of the tree itself," he said.

At 2.19pm on Tuesday, a tree that was over 50-years-old fell on Jalan Sultan Ismail, killing one man and injuring two others, besides damaging 17 vehicles and disrupting monorail services. - Bernama

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