Forest researcher says findings on how project would impact wildlife were incomplete
Lim said the project would have a major impact on the wildlife in the area as the proposed route of the EKVE would cut through the Hulu Gombak, Ampang and Hulu Langat Forest Reserves, affecting some 214.7 ha of forested area.
The area also presently serves as an important water catchment area to the Klang Valley.
“The project is going to impact mainly on the wildlife in the area. But, the report noted there was no attempt to properly quantify the animals in the area.”
The executive summary of the report, made available to the public on the Environment Department’s website, only mentioned the species identified in the area and the number which are endangered (see accompanying story).
The preparation of the report was facilitated by UKM Pakarunding Sdn Bhd, which was commissioned by project proponent EKVE Sdn Bhd to carry out the study.
It was mentioned in the report that a “detailed study method” by UKM Pakarunding conducted on six sites in the Hulu Gombak and Ampang Forest Reserves, revealed tigers and tapirs in the area.
Lim said although a rapid survey was conducted at two sites located within Hulu Langat Forest Reserve, there is no mention about the exact size of the study sites or quantity of animals in the area, some of which are endangered species.
Lim said another “fundamental failure” of the report was the lack of mention that the proposed route of the expressway would cut through the Selangor State Park.
“A total of 400ha needs to be degazetted, in order for the project to be carried out,” he said.
“A public hearing should be held for the excise of forest in a state park under the National Forestry Act 1985. But so far, the Selangor government has not held one.”
The report proposed several measures to protect wildlife in the area, including the creation of corridors to guide the movement of animals.
The Selangor State Park was gazetted in 2007. As of March 2010, the Selangor government had gazetted over 93,000 ha, which also includes the Ampang Forest Reserve.
The gazetted area includes the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge, which is home to the endangered mountain goat species known as serow.
Lim said the public feedback period for the EIA report which is expected to end on Jan 23 should be extended as many people are also not aware of its existence.
He said the other concern is on the possible pollution of rivers running through the area as the proposed route would cut across approximately 19 rivers and tributaries.
He said some of the rivers, as noted in the report, are of Class 1 and 2, whereby the rivers could be sourced for water supply and conserve sensitive aquatic species.
“Increased pollution from car fumes, increased sedimentation from the construction work as well as possible oil and grease spills would pollute the rivers,” he said.
The report stated the construction of an access road could potentially cause soil erosion into existing drains which would increase water turbidity and sedimentation leading to flash floods.
It also mentioned the possibility of slope failure of seven slopes on the route during the construction phase.
Effects of proposed project
Kuala Selangor Expressway (LATAR Expressway) beginning from Templer’s Park Interchange along Federal Route 1 (KL-Rawang) to the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, linking the Elite Expressway from Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam to Saujana Putra.
The project includes the proposal for two parallel tunnels, each with a length of 200m and a distance of 15m between them, to be constructed below the Quartz Ridge in the Hulu Gombak Forest Reserve.
Some of the impacts raised by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the proposed project are:
>> Increase in air pollution. Site clearing, earthwork and transportation of construction material will increase the dust levels in the air which could affect the health of residents especially at Kampung Muhibbah and Kampung Datuk Mufti Shuib, both in Ampang.
>> During operation of highway, exhaust fumes would be main contributor of air pollution in the area
>> Loss of forest area and flora. The forested area boasts a number of endangered species of flora under the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) red list of threatened species,
>> Increased disturbance, disorientation and displacement of wildlife,
>> Loss of wildlife due to clearing of forested area,
>> Possible degradation of water quality in the water catchment area surrounding the Klang Gates due to surface runoff and soil erosion, and;
>> Increase of dust pollution.
The report can be viewed at the National Library, the Department of Environment’s (DOE) office in Putrajaya, state offices and the Ampang Jaya, Kajang and Selayang municipal councils. All written comments should be forwarded to the DOE by Jan 23.