By FAREZZA HANUM RASHID SERDANG firstname.lastname@example.org
SUBANG Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and its synergies partner, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), recently took a step forward in their “green initiative” with the launch of Serdang Greentown.
Serdang was chosen because it is a city which has been developed and is still being developed in a way that affects the preservation and conservation of the environment.
On the day of the launch, residents were up early for a bicycle convoy from the UPM mosque to the Sri Serdang lake garden.
The convoy symbolised the green initiative of reducing motorised vehicles on the roads.
Working closely together, MPSJ and UPM have joined forces and knowledge in nine fields, namely community service, environment, engineering, green city, sources of information, safe town, human capital development, municipal services and environment beautification.
Unlike other green campaigns, the launch of Serdang Greentown was also historic in that it marked Serdang as the first “Biomass Town in Malaysia”.
Biomass is a renewable energy source that can be used directly or converted into other energy products such as biofuel.
This includes biological material from living, or recently living organisms such as garbage, wood, waste, landfill gases and alcohol fuels.
In Serdang, the biomass project is exercised through separation of food waste in food courts, market waste separation and organic waste composting project.
By composting wastes, landfill spaces can be preserved.
Officiating the launch of Serdang Greentown was MPSJ president Datuk Asmawi Kasbi.
Asmawi expressed his appreciation to UPM for sharing its biomass efforts with MPSJ and called for the community to take part as well.
“The issue of uncollected rubbish is always highlighted in the mass media. By practicing biomass, the community can help clean the town as well as improve its quality of life,” he said.
Asmawi also challenged the community to change its mindset, to not just stand idly by as the authorities and agencies struggle to improve the environment for them.
Also present were UPM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi, UPM deans and representatives of Biomass Policy Division Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Japan.
Radin thanked MPSJ and the residents for the support and cooperation given to UPM in its effort to promote a greener and safer Serdang.
Stressing that it is vital to make Greentown a success, Radin called on the community to work towards Serdang’s prosperity.
“The initiative to make the world a better place should start from the people for the people,” he said, adding that with such good intentions, there will be organisations to support them.
There were exhibition booths put up by UPM faculties and other organisations to enlighten the residents on the many ways that they can control and improve the environment.
A. Sujithradevi from UPM’s biology department hoped to reach out to housewives on vermicompost, a process of composting leftover dry foods using worms.
“It is cheap, easy and safe. You only need a bin and some worms, and you can reduce waste collection cost and the impact on landfills. It’s not high-tech and anyone can do it,” she said.
After the official launching, Asmawi, Radin, residents and vendors of Sri Serdang took part in planting fruit trees around the lake garden.
MPSJ, UPM and the vendors of the stalls of the Sri Serdang lake garden each planted 20 trees while the residents planted 40, for a total of 100 new fruit trees.
A resident, P. Puvaneswari, helped to plant mango and soursop trees with her daughter and neighbours.
“I’m very happy with this campaign as I also plant trees at home. I just hope that the kids that like to hang out here don’t vandalise the garden by pulling out the newly-planted trees,” she said.
The recycling centre located at the lake garden also took the opportunity to promote recycling among the residents.
“The practice of recycling is very poor in this area,” said Janagi Metal Sdn Bhd director, V. Nanta Kumar, who runs the centre.
“In Sri Kembangan, I could easily collect 100,000kg of items in a year but here I only get around 12,000kg,” he said.
“We distribute flyers, pamphlets and run campaigns with UPM students but the result is not so good.”
Nanta not only collects all recyclable items such as papers, glasses, metals and electronics, he will also pay for them.