Plant trees, stop deforestation

Greening Malaysia: Penang Island City Council landscape department staff and members from various NGOs planting bakau minyak in Kuala Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau, last December. — Filepic/The Star

THE Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) welcomes the government’s 100 Million Tree-Planting Campaign 2021-2025 as a move to green the country. However, the government has to ensure that the task is not given to any private companies to handle.

The campaign should empower the people to get involved in the planting under the supervision of the Forestry Department. In this way much money can be saved besides achieving the campaign’s objectives. Also, involving the rakyat in this campaign will teach them to learn to appreciate and take ownership of trees in the community.Greening the country with the tree-planting effort alone is insufficient if deforestation is allowed to continue unabated. The campaign will be seen as mere whitewash for Malaysia, which has earned the “distinction” of “having the highest rate of forest loss” among 10 countries worldwide that are reducing their forest cover.A study by the University of Maryland in the United States found that some 230 million hectares of Malaysian forest was lost between 2000 and 2012. Deforestation reduces biodiversity, increases greenhouse gas emissions, disrupts water cycles, and increases soil erosion.

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