MPSJ president Datuk Asmawi Kasbi (second right) planting a tree with MPSJ councillor R Rajiv (beside Asmawi) with Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne (standing second right), Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh (third right) and USJ residents.
SUBANG JAYA: A fresh patch of green is emerging among residential homes in USJ3A thanks to a push by locals for an urban jungle in their backyards.
Last Friday, residents and students planted 1,111 trees during the soft launch of the state’s first urban forest at Persiaran Setia.
The saplings will fill part of the 7.861 acres of green lung, the size of eight football fields, which has been gazetted as a green recreational land called the Urban Community Forest.
The unused plot, owned by Subang Jaya Municipal Council, sits between residential homes in USJ3A and USJ3C.
“This jungle will be both recreational and educational for children to learn about forest trees and rare species,” said MPSJ president Datuk Asmawi Kasbi.
The RM3 million project will be completed in phases next year, and will include facilities such as a jogging track, gazebo and a picnic area.
“We are targeting to plant up to 10,000 trees in the forest by next year, to fill the land and to reduce carbon footprint,” said Asmawi.
Each sapling costs RM100 and was donated by various organisations.
MPSJ has also engaged the State Forestry Department, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and Malaysian Institute of Planers (MIP) to be advisers for this project.
The urban forest, mooted by the USJ residents committee, has now been included in MPSJ’s 2011-2012 strategic plan, which calls for more trees to be planted in the municipality.
The site was chosen by the residents who wanted to prevent overdevelopment.
“The [residents committee] has fought real hard over the years to preserve any green land they see in their neighbourhood and have been pushing for it,” said MPSJ councillor R Rajiv.
Rajiv, who is the chairperson of the residents committee in his area, commended MPSJ for cooperating with the community.
Joining them at the tree-planting event was Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, who hoped that other councils would similarly set aside land for an urban forest in their area.
“It is important for a developed city to have an urban jungle as children do not even know what a forest is anymore,” she said.
Yeoh said to make that happen, communities should fight hard for sustainable development to preserve land and gazette it as a green area.
“Other councils can even add animals or fruit trees in their urban jungle,” she said.