Cameron Highlands needs strict zoning laws, says environmental group

IPOH: The worst of the impact from Cameron Highlands’s overdevelopment must be strictly managed by balancing environmental preservation and development, warns an environmental activist group.

Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach) president A. Dilip Martin said the highlands’s overdevelopment could only be solved with strict zoning laws that designate specific areas for conservation, development and agriculture.

Multi-faceted approaches must include strict zoning regulations, sustainable development practices, reforestation and conservation initiatives, community engagement and education, enforcement and adopting innovative technology.

"Sensitive areas should have the highest level of protection," he said.

Dilip Martin was commenting on a viral one-minute video clip earlier this month, which showed water flowing down a road and caused alarm among the local community and netizens.

According to the Cameron Highlands Public Works Department, the incident at KM79 of the high-traffic FT59 route near Kampung Raja was due to clogged sewers since April 3, adding that clean-up work, traffic management and repairs have been done.

Dilip Martin added that land planning must integrate environmental, social and economic goals while promoting ecotourism to minimise environmental impact.

“Encourage and implement green building codes that require using sustainable materials and energy-sufficient designs. The authority should also encourage agricultural practices that reduce soil erosion, use less water and avoid harmful pesticides," he said.

Dilip Martin said the community and tourists should be educated about the importance of environmental conservation and sustainable practices.

"The local community should be involved in decision-making processes and conservation efforts to ensure their needs and knowledge are considered," he said.

"Farmers should be encouraged to use smart farming technologies to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

"Renewable energy sources like solar and wind should also be promoted to reduce reliance on fossil fuel," he said.

"By integrating these strategies, Cameron Highlands can continue to thrive as a hub for tourism, housing, and agriculture while protecting its unique and fragile environment," he added.

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