Avoid building highways through forests

Avoid building highways through forests

THE Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) shares the concerns of the Malaysian Nature Society about the many infrastructure projects that are cutting through natural forest reserves without consideration for the wildlife that the projects are encroaching on (“No more roadkill, please” –The Star, Feb 24).

The much touted Sustainable Green Transportation Policy and the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports that are all designed to protect the long term survival of the environment have often failed to address all concerns, including those related to the protection of wildlife and of endangered species in particular.

In the Klang Valley, where three new highways have been proposed, two are known to be cutting through forest reserves, which will encroach into and affect the natural environment in these reserves. These highway projects should consider seriously the welfare of wildlife and of how their movement, safety and survival are affected.

The IEM calls on the authorities to avoid having highways that cut through forest reserves in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of these natural environments. Granted that in some specific instances it may be unavoidable and even justifiable for the infringement into forest reserves, the impact should be minimised through proper environmental and engineering design that would, say, provide for underpasses for the movement of wild animals crossing the highways.

EIA reports must address all environmental concerns and such reports should be taken seriously and implemented by all parties involved in a project. Perhaps, then, some endangered species may be spared the onslaught and possible extinction in our country.

Ir Prof Dr LEE TEANG SHUI,
Secretary,
Institution of Engineers Malaysia.

Article Source http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/3/16/focus/10927371&sec=focus

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