Cyberjaya to have solar-powered bus shelters soon

February 9, 2011 |

(The Star, Wednesday, 9 February 2011 – Metro – Page: 9)

All ears: The participants listening to Norasiah during the forum

SOLAR-powered bus shelters and covered carparks are among the plans for Cyberjaya’s green projects for the upcoming year. These and issues like solid waste production, urban planning and public transportation schemes, were discussed at the recent Information on Green Technology (iGreet) seminar, but it will take more than buzz words to change Selangor’s environmental report card.

Organised by Cyberview, the first session of iGREET for 2011 brought together representatives from across industry sectors and government departments to introduce green technology possibilities to the Cyberjaya community especially with Cyberjaya’s developers and stakeholders in mind.

Speakers at the event included Selangor Town and Country Planning Department deputy director

Norasiah Bee Mohd Haniff, who touted the conference as “a chance to share knowledge and experience in order to move towards developing green technology in this state and the country.”

But she was also quick to stress the importance of transforming Selangor’s metropolises into green cities that are self-contained and well-planned before it is ,too late. “We need sustainable development to remedy these environmental wrongs,” she warned. “We cannot deny the local environment’s status in Selangor issues still exist. It’s not a choice anymore, it’s a must.”

Green cities are compact with open spaces and green corridors, maximising the efficiency of urban land to meet current needs without jeopardising resource availability for future generations.

Norasiah said this vision could only be achieved by enforcing best planning practices and by regenerating dilapidated regions in order to strike a balance between development and the environment. She urged her department and other government sectors to better regulate development in collaboration with developers to create green cities.

“Gone are the days when we can just put through all the developments that fall onto our lap. “We must be selective with our developments and we must also work to phase out polluting industries by moving them towards cleaner mechanisms in their daily operations,” she said.

While Selangor is currently the only state with a commitment to sustainable development in Malaysia, it is also one of the most heavily polluted. With high population density, rapid sprawl and an urbanisation rate expected to reach 94% by 2020, Selangor is one of Malaysia’s least eco-friendly states.

Another issue high on the iGreet agenda was solid waste generation, with Selangor’s large manufacturing and construction sectors contributing heavily to pollution in the region.

Community members at the forum said existing initiatives to combat solid waste production, such as the “No plastic bags on Saturdays” and Pay As You Throw (PAYT) regulations, are too limited and need to be expanded.

Selangor currently produces more than 4,300 tonnes of waste per day, with estimates suggesting this figure will rise to 5,500 tonnes per day by the year 2020. Strategies were also suggested to change the current modal split between public and private transportation. Currently, the statewide ratio of private and public transportation is 90:10 respectively.

There are plans under the 2009 economic stimulus package to reduce this disparity to a 50:50 split by the year 2020 as part of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). However, participants debated whether these goals were realistic, given that reduction targets at the federal level were revised down to a 30:70 split atter a review of the second national physical plan.

Selangor Department of Environment assistant director (Development) Amirul Aripin, said an important initial step towards achieving a green future would be to make people think of themselves as “environmental citizens”.

“Our goals cannot be reliant on government action alone,” he said. “All individuals have a role to play in becoming environmental citizens, citizens of planet earth.” He said individuals should conduct “purposeful action” towards greener living by taking simple steps at home, such as turning off taps after use, buying energy efficient appliances, and installing water-saving devices in showers and toilets.

But as participants at the forum suggested, opportunities to enact environmental citizenship are limited without new infrastructure, such as separate bins for recycling and garbage and a holistic waste management system.

The recent iGreet forum was the seventh of the series, which aims to support the government’s aspiration to develop Cyberjaya as a pioneer green city. It was also the first session to be open to the public.

Among the ambitious green energy plans on the horizon in Cyberjaya are solar panels on bus shelters and carpark shelters, shaded pedestrian walkways and cycle paths to help reduce the region’s carbon footprint. In Cyberjaya, around 2,500 less vehicles each day use the roads due to an integrated public transport system, with free parking at bus stops and free shuttle services helping to ease traffic congestion.

The iGreet initiative has future plans to broaden its educational arms through school visits and social media to further engage the community with the latest in green technology.

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