Chipping away at our green lungs

  • Behind The Cage
  • Friday, 05 Sep 2014

Beautiful scenery of the enviroment at Bukit Kiara.

BUKIT KIARA is a vibrant green lung in the heart of an urban jungle, but many are afraid that this pristine getaway is in danger of being lost.

This beautiful nature park has still yet to be gazetted after the Government agreed to do so in 2006, and over the years regular joggers and cyclists have seen heavy machinery rolling up into the park and slowly changing their nature retreat.

Trees have been felled, slopes and trails dug up, concrete drains built, tarmac roads paved, and high wire fences built; bringing up several concerns of the park’s animals and surrounding environment.

“There is no communication whatsoever about what is going on. There are no notices being put up to tell people what’s going on or what they’re doing to the land,” said Rebecca Thomason, the assistant secretary of Traks.

Traks is an non-governmental organisation (NGO) that builds and maintains mountain bike trails along Bukit Kiara and other jungles in Selangor. The NGO is one of the many advocates who want Bukit Kiara gazetted and safe from developers and government bodies.

If you have been to Bukit Kiara recently, you would have noticed bulldozers digging up parts of the slopes and some of the trails, and I asked what was going on.

Thomason said that they learnt that Jabatan Landskap Negara (JLN) have been attempting to "rectify" the slopes in the area because they were starting to slip and were concerned about the safety of the joggers and cyclists.

“I am glad that they are concerned about our safety,” she said, but questions their methods of “rectifying” the slopes.

“They cleared all the trees and used mesh and grass instead, and in the process the soil they dug up buried a trail called 4K and still have not restored it,” said Thomason.

With JLN digging up the slopes and leaving the area in a huge mess with the soil piled to the side of the tarmac road, it not only creates a huge eyesore, but it is also dangerous for joggers and cyclists.

“I wonder if they even realised that there was a trail right next to where they were digging. What if there were people down there, what if the soil buried them? But thankfully, that didn’t happen and nobody was hurt,” said Thomason.

I have personally experienced the terribly slippery and muddy state the road becomes after it rains and I have been close to slipping a couple of times.

I just hope that in future, more notice and warning will be given to the visitors of Bukit Kiara in preparation of such potentially hazardous work.

I am aware that the minister of housing, urban wellbeing, and local government Datuk Adbul Rahman Dahlan has met with several organisations including Traks and Friends of Bukit Kiara earlier in the year and that he listened to their grievances and concerns regarding Bukit Kiara.

Some of the issues raised were the widening of trails with heavy equipment, which is not sustainable, and the 3.5m fence that surrounds the park that acts as a barrier to animals trying to cross the fence.

Thomason said that since that meeting, nothing much has been done to improve the situation.

“The minister agreed to restore the trail that was buried. But nothing has happened yet,” said Thomason.

“There is also no move on the gazettement,” she said, but adds that she understands that there are many stakeholders involved and that such things take time.

“There is just no sense of security. We could lose Bukit Kiara next week,” she said.

I hope that people realise how much we need that patch of nature and greenery within our busy city, and that we shouldn’t waste it to build yet another shopping mall or hotel to add another block of concrete to Kuala Lumpur.

Thousands of people flock to Bukit Kiara to exercise and keep fit surrounded by mother nature, surely that brings more value than having another commercial building within our midst.

We all have to remember that once you cut down all those trees and tear away the hill, you will never get it back.

So let us protect the treasure that is Bukit Kiara and preserve what’s left of it’s natural beauty.

> The views expressed here are entirely the writer's own.
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