Thursday, August 27, 2015

27 August 2015: 10 Years Since the Declaration of the Park

Ten years ago today, 27 August, over 107,000 ha of forest reserves in Selangor were
declared as  ‘Taman Warisan Selangor’ by the then Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia together with the then Chief Minister of Selangor.

It was a momentous occasion, with over 500 members of the public witnessing the event.  Protecting such a large area by the most developed state in the nation is an incredible achievement.  The declaration was held at the foot of the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge, the keystone feature of the Park.

The declaration of the Park was the culmination of the 2 year ‘Project Towards the Establishment of the Selangor State Park’ spear-headed by TrEES and the Town & Country Planning Department of Selangor.

After the declaration, gazettement of the area as ‘state park’ began on 25 January 2007.  As of March 2010, the Selangor State Government has gazetted
over 93,000 ha as ‘State Park’ under the National Forestry Act, Selangor Enactment, with the promise of gazetting the remaining areas of 15,355 ha, in the near future.  The area gazetted includes the magnificent Klang Gates Quartz Ridge.

Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor, or the Selangor State Park, is the third largest park in Peninsular Malaysia after Taman Negara and the Royal Belum State Park.  It is of critical importance to the residents of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, as it protects over 9o% of the water resources for these areas.

It is hoped that the on-going conservation and management of the Park will be a living testament to the State Government’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection. 

Being situated so close to a major urban area, there are a number of threats that the Park faces including the construction of the East Klang Valley Expressway, un-regulated tourism activity and illegal clearing and dumping within the Park.  Given the importance of this area, the Selangor State Government must step up its efforts to protect and conserve Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor. 

The health and wealth of all residents in Selangor, KL and Putrajaya depend on this Park.  Let’s all get active and involved in its conservation.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Future Is Ours To Make

We are a small team of students from the Faculty of Dentistry in MAHSA University.  As part of our studies, it is a requirement that we spend some time doing volunteer work.  One of our team members was a participant in TrEES’ school programme a few years ago, as a ‘Young Voice for Conservation’, raising awareness on Selangor State Park (Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor).  So he persuaded us to talk to TrEES and take up the Selangor State Park as our volunteer work.   After a few discussions, we chose the Kanching Falls because it is one of the oldest recreational sites within the Selangor State Park. 

Our mission was to raise awareness on the existence of the Park to the communities visiting the Kanching Recreational Park (Kanching).  It is the first time most of us are involved with a project revolving around spreading awareness and most of our teammates were relatively inexperienced.

Our work involved conducting a survey among the visitors, regarding Kanching Recreational Park and Selangor State Park.  With good communication skills and resourcefulness, we pulled through the first section of our project of spreading awareness and conducting surveys among the visitors at Kanching.

We contributed our ideas for the preparation of the questionnaire, and we helped each other when faced with different language barriers during the survey. Every team members not only did their delegated duty, but also helped each other throughout the entire project, with their own different skill sets.

From the project, we managed to collect data about the public’s opinion and awareness — albeit a small sample size — and had an on-site review of the state of Kanching.  It is shocking that the public does not know about Selangor State Park, and saddening that some visitors do not take care of Kanching. Through both the survey and observation, we hope more actions will be taken to improve the public awareness.

After our on-site efforts, we worked together to compile, interpret, and deliver the results of our project for TrEES.  With our results, we hope that we inculcated awareness, and provided data for TrEES to work on for improvement of their activity.  After the project, it disappointed us to see the ugly side of the human nature that leaves the forest in destruction, yet it highlighted the need for action to change the public mindset.

The project was a small step into the world of volunteering with non-governmental organizations, and humbled all of us in knowing that our actions are minuscule in comparison with the larger activities happening.  Never-the-less, it also brought us hope that every small effort helps.
As much as it seems that dentistry and environment are never on the same page, it makes a point for everyone to consider steps in protecting the environment for the future. Without the beauty of nature, what point is there to living in this world other than this materialistic and synthetic world of concrete and plastic? Is the future of plastic trees and concrete forests? The future is ours to make.

The team members are:
Lam Jiunn Liang
Liew Yi Ning
Lyster Edviano Loo
Phang Siew Hang
Raphael Lim Zi Sheng
Wong Hong Zhang

Please read the students’ write up on Kanching Recreational Forest

Please read a summary of the findings from the Students' Survey  

Quick Summary of Findings - MAHSA Students' Survey

Quick Summary of the Findings from the Students’ Survey:

A small team of students from the Faculty of Denistry in MAHSA University ran a survey among visitor to the Kanching Recreational Forest.  Here is a quick summary of what they found out.

Findings On the Park:
·       Most visitors did not know the existence of Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor as a whole or that Sungai Kanching belonged to Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor before agreeing to participate in our survey. Most of them knew that Sungai Kanching was a recreational park. Some of them thought that Sungai Kanching was Templer Park.
·       Before the survey, most visitors did not know that Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor was a major water catchment area for a large area of Selangor even though they knew some of the dams.
·       Most visitors did know that is it important to protect our forests.

Findings On Cleanliness of Park areas:
·       Regarding rubbish disposal, collecting the rubbish and disposing them back at home was preferred by the most number of visitors followed by packing up the rubbish and disposing them into the provided rubbish bins at entrance area, not near waterfall. It is also noteworthy that some visitors complain of monkeys ransacking the rubbish bins provided.
·       Most visitors are well aware that improper disposal of waste can lead the diseases, especially leptospirosis.
·       Most visitors agreed that there were lots of rubbish in the picnic areas even though rubbish bins were provided.

In conclusion, most visitors did not know about the existence of Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor, but most seemed to think it is important to protect the forest.  Most visitors stated that a good solution to the rubbish problem would be to pack your rubbish and take it home with you, yet there is still a lot of rubbish, leading us to believe that very few people follow their own advice.

Suggestions to Improve the Park:
  1.  Set up more sign boards with directions to guide visitors during their hike.
  2. Advise visitor not to feed the monkeys, which would attract more of them. Moreover, feeding the monkeys make them to be fearless of humans.
  3. The authorities should fine people who litter and pollute the river.
  4. The authorities should be strict on the act of visitors of Sg. Kanching.
  5.  The authorities can educate people who visit Sg. Kanching to dispose their trash properly.
  6.  The authorities should set up a deposit system for rubbish, like at Taman Negera.  If you bring out your rubbish, you will get your cash deposit back.
  7. Clean up the mud to free up spaces for visitors to park their cars.