FOCUS:Cleaner Greener Penang by Carolyn Khor


Cleaner Greener Penang by Carolyn Khor

Three years into the project, Penangites need reminding.

Envision a really clean and green Penang. 

Through state-endorsed initiatives, Penang has been using the tagline ‘Cleaner Greener Penang’ but as one housewife puts it: “How clean and green can Penang be when the hills are being hacked away by irresponsible developers?”

Ida, whose husband is Danish, compares Penang to Denmark - noting that here, the people just do not have the conscience to protect the environment nor have the understanding to lead a sustainable lifestyle.

Although the ‘No Plastic Bag’ policy has been enforced since two years ago, many have lapsed into their old ways of using the plastic bag. Even at RM0.20 per piece, consumers are willing to pay for the bag as there is little continuity to the ‘No Plastic Bag’ campaign to remind the people the importance of using recyclable bags and containers.

Bicycle Lanes in progress

The existing 1.2km bicycle lane at Jalan Tanjung Bungah is part of a master plan to make Penang a bicycle-friendly state. The lane, however, is not exclusive to cyclists and is a shared road concept where the road is pigmented in green to alert motorists to give preferential treatment to the cyclists.

An exclusive bicycle lane would make it much safer for cyclists.

The idea of the bicycle lane was first introduced by the Penang State Government in 2011 and was received with good response from the public. A RM30 million coastal bicycle route is currently underway and is expected to be completed next year. This bicycle lane project stretches 12.5km from the roundabout near Queensbay Mall all the way through the coastal area into George Town.

Presently, areas that fall under the council’s purview are being earmarked as bicycle routes.

“Although there are some technical issues involved, we hope that eventually, the bicycle lanes will cover the whole island,” said Teh Yee Cheu, the State Assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah.

Organic composts

Organic composts are another area the government is looking into to reduce waste.

In a pilot project in the Bagan Ajam market, a company appointed by the council, Shence Greentech Sdn. Bhd. collects organic wastes daily to process the waste into useful fertilizer.

According Phee Boon Poh, a State Exco, there has been a daily reduction of about 175 metric tonnes of wastes sent to the Pulau Burung landfill and a savings of RM1.4million per annum.

“We have saved about RM4,000 a day in transportation and storage costs due to this which can be used for beneficial community projects,” he added.

Parking coupons

The latest effort in promoting green living is the introduction of parking coupons. However, some opine that this method uses more paper than the triple-layered carbon-copy which will be phased-out in January 2014.

An alternative Penangites may opt for is to purchase the monthly sticker which comes at RM150 per month. Parking coupons costs RM0.40 for half an hour and RM3.00 per day.

A timely reminder

As the year-end approaches, it may be good for us to reflect on how far we have come in terms of being cleaner and greener during the last three years. Consume less, save more and love the environment. It is our duty.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.