Safer cycling paths key part of Mayor’s Earth Hour 2015 city pledge
Mayor of KL, Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib and WWF Malaysia Executive Director/CEO, Dato' Dr Dionysius SK Sharma
When the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) introduced Earth Hour in Malaysia in 2009, it joined over 7,000 cities across 162 countries taking a stand against climate change. With environmental effects becoming ever more immediate and problematic – flooding across the length and breadth of Malaysia, Kedah’s recent typhoons and last year’s extreme dry spells in the Klang Valley to name a few – the world is fast shifting gears and entering the age of sustainability.
As part of its KL City Plan 2020, KL City Hall has been working hard to implement green measures in line with sustainable development goals which, among others, promote a less carbon-intensive lifestyle.
“Cities are now the main growth centres of population, consumption, resource use and waste. This makes them the new hot spots for global environmental change. Cities can explore positive synergies or struggle with negative ones, and it is therefore important for KL City Hall to be the driver of change by taking lead,” said Mayor of KL, Datuk Seri Ahman Phesal Talib.
An extensive network of new bicycle routes could be implemented around KL says the Mayor
This year’s Earth Hour target hopes to see some 350 buildings in KL turning off their lights for one hour on 28 March, up from 277 last year and 86 in 2013. If this target is realised, the Mayor has pledged to introduce a new network of cycling routes throughout greater Kuala Lumpur.
The popularity of cycling in KL has increased dramatically over the last few years and these safe new routes will hopefully push more people to engage in this eco-friendly mode of transport. Cycling clubs have multiplied around the city and enquiries from international travel agents have poured into City Hall. Requests focus on the extent of cycling paths in KL as more tourists want this mode of transport while vacationing. Cycling has become KL’s new thriving tourism attraction.
There are also plans to expand the ‘KL By Cycle’ initiative, introduced by KL City Hall two years ago. Currently the route takes in only the heritage zone in the vicinity of Dataran Merdeka and the Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park, with hopes that these will soon be bolstered by routes in other areas.
WWF Malaysia Executive Director and CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius SK Sharma, said: “Today, we are heartened by KL City Hall’s commitment to become a more sustainable city. The introduction of new cycling routes and implementation of Styrofoam free zones in the city are very strong calls indeed to the public to go green. Let’s inspire residents to take personal accountability of the impact of the planet. After all, as consumers, we are the ones that collectively effect it.”
The Styrofoam-free zones and push for environmental friendly food containers are part of KL’s plans to take part in WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge 2016, a year-long competition among cities worldwide to promote renewable energy and prepare for climate change.
Earth Hour’s message and motto this year to ‘use your power to change climate change’ is one that should be adopted by all KLites, not just for this one hour, but for the entire year and beyond. It also promotes working together to make a positive impact on climate change.
The Mayor summed up the situation:“I hope that the public will be inspired to educate their family and community to love nature, as environmental awareness should be inculcated from a young age so it becomes second nature to the next generation. Preparing our children is our responsibility in order to save the planet.”
For more information on Earth Hour, visit wwf.org.my. Meanwhile, don’t forget to turn off the lights before heading out!