Does Malaysia Need The Green Belt Concept Environmental Sciences Essay

4756 words (19 pages) Essay in Environmental Sciences

5/12/16 Environmental Sciences Reference this

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Malaysia is moving forward to be an industrialized economy. Malaysia moved from material production to manufacturing. The Malaysia manufacturing sector contributed 32% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007, exports of manufactured products account for 75% of Malaysia’s total export in 2007. The manufacturing industries have become the economy’s main source of growth in recent years.

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According to the Third Industrial Masterplan (IMP3) 2006 – 2020, twelve industries in the manufacturing sector have been targeted for further development and promotion (Table 1). These industries are strategically important in contributing to the greater growth of the manufacturing sector, in terms of higher value-added, technology, exports, knowledge content, multiplier and spin-off effects and potential to be integrated regionally and globally. But, on the other side, the future target might also encourage environmental degradation if there is no comprehensive plan toward sustainable industrial development is taken into consideration.

Table 1: Exports and Investments Targets for the 12 Targeted Manufacturing Industries

Source: Ministry of International Trade and Industry

Environmental protection through pollution prevention and the meeting of environmental standards by waste treatment of the effluents in the various industries have not worked in many countries. The problem of industrial environmental pollution is particularly serious in developing countries where the enforcement of environmental regulations is not strictly enforced. Malaysia can experience high chances of negative environmental impacts due to its efforts to boost the rapid industrialisation of its economy. Many aspects of the residential environment and living conditions of houses located near industrial areas potentially affected.

Evidence shows that plants can reduce the pollution level. In develop country they have come out with a Greenbelt Plan to buffer the urban and industrial area from spreading its pollutants. A “greenbelt” is an area of land that is preserved for a non-urban land use. The term of greenbelts tend to share two features, an open landscape (“green”) and a linear shape (“belt”). All this while, greenbelt was not being strongly addressed on developing country due to its target on economic growth.

Develop country like United Kingdom and Canada have come out with their own Greenbelt Plan. Greenbelts in the UK have had a profound effect on the landscape around urban areas, for the most part achieving their purposes of keeping the countryside open and preventing new development except for agriculture, forestry and recreation. The London Green Belt was created in response to the unchecked and sprawling growth that took place in that city during the 1920s and 1930s.

1.2 Issues and Problems Statement

Rapid industrialization can have a detrimental effect on the environment which is related to several including resource use, water and air pollution as well as waste generation. The severity of these environmental consequences may vary, depending on the technologies used in the industrial production process and its organization.

Malaysia’s rapid economic and industrial growth is characterized as a mixed-use urban areas development that incorporates residential industrial areas. These residential areas support the industry by providing them human resources. This growth produces both positive and negative impacts on housing development. The lack of usable arable land for urban development further results in some housing estates being nestled within industrial establishments as consequences to urban sprawl.

Current status of green efforts in Malaysia is focusing on commanding and controlling the wastes occurring during the manufacturing stage of a product. In Malaysia, only big businesses have committed to voluntary initiatives towards green industrial development and this approach is yet to be accepted by SMEs (small and medium enterprise).

Landscaping the industrial areas by the development of greenbelts is an effective way of mitigating industrial pollution.The effectiveness of green belts differs depending on location and operation. They are often being eroded by urban rural fringe use and sometimes, development encroached over the green belt area, resulting in the creation of “satellite towns” which, although separated from the city by green belt, function more like suburbs than independent communities.

1.3 Objectives of Study

i) To clarify the importance of industrial greenbelt for economic growth whilst minimizing environmental degradation.

ii) To identify the significant aspect that should be considered for green industrial development.

iii) To give a recommendation for effective strategies of Greenbelts Plan for industrials area towards achieving sustainable industrial development.

1.4 Significance of Study

Greenbelts in urban areas particularly in industrial are important to the ecological health of any given region. The various plants and trees in greenbelts serve as organic sponges for various forms of pollution, and as carbon sequestration to help offset global warming. On the other hand, industrial activities in urban areas have caused cities to maintain higher temperatures than their surrounding countryside and these phenomena is known as an urban heat island. Parks and greenbelts will reduce temperatures while the Central Business District (CBD), commercial areas, and even suburban housing tracts are areas of warmer temperatures.

Greenbelts are also important to help urban dwellers feel more connected to nature. All cities should earmark certain areas for the development of greenbelts to bring life and colour to the concrete jungle and serving a healthy environment to the urbanities. The future risk from rapid expanding of industrial development should be investigate and must be seriously taken into consideration. Therefore, through the establishment of planned greenbelts it can helps in limiting urban sprawl.

2.0 EVOLUTION OF GREENBELT CONCEPT

2.1 History of Greenbelt Concept

The idea of greenbelt was inspired by Sir Ebenezer Howard, a British social reformer, at the beginning of the twentieth century. Howard proposed ‘Garden City’ which would not only be free of pollution but would also be antidote of polluted cities. The garden cities would be surrounded by a ‘green backcloth’ of agricultural land providing local employment opportunities as well as open space for recreation. It was British architect and planner Raymond Unwin, a town designer and contemporary of Howard’s, who coined the term greenbelt (Ruth and William, 1994). In 1898 the concept was developed to tackle the problems associated with the planning of ‘new towns’ located outside the periphery of London, which was then sprawling far into the countryside.

The Garden City Concept is one out of many attempts to reduce and solve social problems during the Industrialization Period. The problems occurred, as more and more farmers became workers in the factories. The living conditions became worse, due to the fact that many workers’ settlements were located next to the industrial areas or within the cities. Figure 1 illustrates diagram of ‘The Three Magnets’ where Howard analysed why people move to city or to the country side. Howard’s proposal emphasized the integration of the town, the country. He found out that both have advantages and function as magnets. He started with discussions of the optimum size for towns whereby a central city of 58,000 people surrounded by smaller garden cities of 30,000 people each (Figure 2). Green space or greenbelt and agricultural land will be as major component in the garden city whereby the permanent green space would separate the city and towns and serving as a horizontal fence of farmland. The requirement of the greenbelt or agricultural land for the Garden City in Howard’s view was 5,000 acres of the total 6,000 acres.

Therefore, his solution was to develop a city structure which contains the advantages of a city and those of the countryside. The main objective of the concept is to found a new city.

Figure 2: Ebenezer Howard, Garden City.

Figure 1: Garden Cities of To-morrow; The Three Magnets, Ebenezer Howard, 1902

In the United States, Franklin Roosevelt tried to adapt Howard’s new town concept as part of its resettlement program. In the American concept of greenbelt, relatively wide band of rural land or open space surrounded a town or city. The term greenbelt meant, generally, any swath of open space separating or interrupting urban development. The designated land is controlled through regulation or public or quasi-public ownership (such as the Nature Conservancy) to retain its natural character and provide a resemblance of rural ambience in urban areas (Ruth and William, 1994).

2.2 A Greenbelt as a Development Plan Component

A greenbelt is a policy and land use designation used in land use planning to retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighbouring urban areas. Similar concepts are greenways or green wedges which have a linear character and may run through an urban area instead of around it. In essence, a green belt is an invisible line encircling a certain area, preventing development of the area allowing wildlife to return and be established.

The green belt policy was pioneered in the United Kingdom in the 1930s after pressure from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and various other organizations. There are fourteen green belt areas, in the UK covering 16,716 km², or 13% of England, and 164 km² of Scotland; In United Kingdom town planning, the green belt is a policy for controlling urban growth. The idea is for a ring of countryside where urbanisation will be resisted for the foreseeable future, maintaining an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail. The fundamental aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open, and consequently the most important attribute of green belts is their openness.

2.2 Categories of Greenbelt

A greenbelt principal purpose is to protect open space for natural, cultural, or scenic resources, to separate urban communities, to preserve and conserve natural resources and agriculture. Therefore, greenbelt can be categorized as below.

Figure 3: Category of Greenbelt

2.2.1 Shelter Belts and Wind Breaks

A shelterbelt is usually a barrier longer than a wind break and consists of a combination of shrubs and trees intended for the protection of field crops and the conservation of soil and water. A wind break is a barrier for protection from winds commonly associated with vegetable gardens and orchards. (Abbasi and Khan, 2000)

The objectives of creating shelterbelts are:

to protect agricultural land

to shelter population in a city-from hot wind blast

to arrest particulate matters as much as possible

to shelter live-stock

to control sand movement

to provide healthy habitat

2.2.1 Forest Belts

Forest belts is consists of protected natural forest. The objectives of preserving forest belts are:

to protect watershed area

to protect wildlife and its habitat

to act as major carbon sequestration

to preserve the exotic and indigenous species of forest vegetation

to achieve environmental equilibrium with development

2.3 Greenbelt Encroachment by Urbanisation

There is no doubt that human civilisation has had a negative impact on biodiversity and since the industrial revolution the negative impacts have only increased with processes such as over fishing and hunting, agriculture, the use of herbicides and pesticides and urban sprawl (Hunter, 2007).

Rapid urban growth has led to the problems of urban sprawl, ribbon development, unregulated development, high cost for urban infrastructure, and pollution due to the inadequate disposal of urban and industrial waste. All such issues involve land. Land can be used for agriculture, forestry, grazing, industrial and urban uses, utility corridors, roads, waste disposal and recreation. With the increase of urban population, more and more green areas have to be converted into urban use.

Large cities on the other hand need to have the land to spread out. Increase in population will put the pressure on land to serve a better accommodation and facilities for human needs. Industrial development will provide job for people, but in the same time it provides an opportunity to the developer to clear up the land for housing development. When there is housing development, other kind of development will follows, such as commercial & retail areas and school.

3.0 THE GROWTH OF INDUSTRIAL ESTATE

3.1 Industrialization Evolution

Ever since Industrial Revolution from late eighteen century, economic progress and development have been closely identified with industrialization. This thinking has continued to influence policy makers especially so in developing countries (Jomo, 1993). Since the early 1970s, it has been widely recognized that to ease the problems of poverty and mass unemployment encountered in developing countries, industrialization should play a key role in the economic growth of these nations.

The types of industries deemed most suitable for promotion in developing countries are the small and medium-scale industries. These industries are generally less capital intensive than large-scale industries and hence are more spread out in terms of ownership. Establishment of small and medium-scale industries could thus lead to a more equitable distribution of income. Former studies on development of small-scale industries have concluded that an effective means of promoting the growth and dispersal of small and medium-scale industries is the provision of proper sites for the establishment of these enterprises. These sites should preferably be located in an industrial estate which is defined as “a tract of land which is subdivided and developed according to a comprehensive plan for use of a community of industrial enterprises” (Fong 1980). In other words, an industrial estate can also be known as an industrial park.

An industrial park is defined as “a large tract of land, sub-divided and developed for the use of several firms simultaneously, distinguished by its shareable infrastructure and close proximity of firms”. Types and synonyms of industrial parks include industrial estates, industrial districts, export processing zones, industrial clusters, business parks, office parks, science and research parks, bio-technology parks and eco-industrial park (Peddle, 1993).

3.2 Industrial Estate Development in Malaysia

Figure 4: Malaysia’s Industrial Development Phase

(1867 – 1957)

Export of agricultural products & minerals

(1957 – 1969)

Import Substitution Industrialization Strategy (ISI)

(1970 – 1980)

Export Oriented Industrialization Strategy (EOI)

(1981 – 1986)

Import Substitution Industrialization Strategy (ISI)

(1987 – 1996)

Export Oriented Industrialization Strategy (EOI)

(1997 – 2005)

Recovery Period

(EOI)

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5

Phase 6

(2006 & beyond)

EOI

Phase 7

Malaysia’s industrial development can be classified into seven phases according to industrial strategies (Figure 4). The first phase was during the British colonial rule (1867-1957) which was largely limited to export of agricultural products and minerals mainly rubber and tin. The period immediately after independence (1957-1969) is the second phase largely dominated by the Import Substitution Industrialization strategy (ISI). Export Oriented Industrialization strategy (EOI) was introduced in 1970 until 1980, followed by the second round of ISI from 1981 up to 1986, an constitute the third and fourth phase respectively. The fifth phase marked the return to EOI in 1987 till 1996. The Asian crisis and the recovery period constitute another phase from 1997 up until 2005. The final phase was in 2006 and beyond where Malaysian economy hopes to move towards global competitiveness.

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In early 1970s it has been realized that rapid economic development in developing countries leads to an acute inequality in income distribution. To prevent massive dissatisfaction among their citizens, developing countries were urged to achieve economic growth (particularly industrial growth) with distribution of income as their development goal.

Malaysia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and in many ways a Third World success story. From a country dependent on agriculture and primary commodities in the sixties, Malaysia has today become an export driven economy spurred on by high technology, knowledge based and capital intensive industries.

The establishment of industrial estates in the locations where such activities are desired became a good way of promoting growth and dispersal of industrial activities which can accelerate the economy of the country. Industrial estates are specific areas zoned for industrial activity where infrastructure (such as roads, power and other utility services) is provided to facilitate the growth of industries and to minimize the impacts on the environment.

Industrial estates may include effluent treatment; solid and toxic waste collection, treatment, and disposal; air pollution and effluent monitoring; technical services on pollution prevention; quality management (quality assurance and control); and laboratory services.

In the context of economic strategy, State Economic Development Corporations (SEDCs) were established by the various Malaysian states to stimulate industrialization through the development of industrial estates in the respective states. The industrial estates to be established by these SEDCs are envisaged to be in the form of improved tracts of land, with access roads and utility services. Industrial land so developed are leased out (usually for 99 years) to interested entrepreneurs. The lower rates are for industrial land developed in the rural areas, while the higher rates are for such land developed in the urban areas.

Currently, Malaysia has over 200 industrial estates or parks occupying a total of 16,000 hectares and 13 Free Industrial Zones (FIZs) developed by government agencies, namely, the State Economic Development Corporations (SEDCs), Regional Development Authorities (RDAs), port authorities and municipalities throughout the country.

New sites, fully equipped with infrastructure facilities such as roads, electricity and water supplies, and telecommunications, are continuously being developed by state governments as well as private developers to meet demand. Specialised parks have been developed in Malaysia to cater to the needs of specific industries. Examples of these parks are the Technology Park Malaysia in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the northern state of Kedah which cater to technology-intensive industries and R&D activities.

3.3 Environmental Impacts from the Industrial Estates

The effects on the environment connected with industrial activities are mainly related to the production of industrial wastes either from its emission or effluent discharges. Figure 5 illustrates on the possible environmental impacts of industrial estates.

POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF INDUSTRIAL ESTATES

Spills

Contaminated soil & lost future land use

Disposal of solid wastes

Local nuisances such as noise, lighting & transport

Landscape disturbance

Ozone depleting & greenhouse gases

Habitat degradation

Air Pollution

Freshwater Pollution

Marine Pollution

Risks from hazardous waste

Exposure to toxic chemicals

Figure 5: Possible environmental impacts of industrial estates

Industrial development may always cause changes to the physical environment. Under natural condition, landuse changes can be absorbed by the physical environment through interactions of the various components to attain a dynamic equilibrium state. Rapid human disturbance will create imbalance to the environmental ecosystem as well as to human quality of life. There are a number of forms of industrial pollution. One of the most common is water pollution, caused by dumping of industrial waste into waterways, or improper containment of waste, which causes leakage into groundwater and waterways. Industries release pollutants which impact air quality that lead to photochemical smog, haze and acidification. Due to industrial discharges, and the indiscriminate disposal of raw materials, land pollution takes place. Both, air and water pollution will affected human beings, birds and aquatic life.

Ozone depletion is another result of industrial pollution. Chemicals released by industries will affect the stratosphere, one of the atmospheric layers surrounding earth. The ozone layer in the stratosphere protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The emission from industries will removes some of the ozone, causing “holes”; to open up in this layer and allowing the radiation to reach the earth. Ultraviolet radiation is known to cause skin cancer and has damaging effects on plants and wildlife.

Activities in industrial estates also can cause noise pollution. Industrial noise refers to noise that is created in the factories which is jarring and unbearable. Sound becomes noise only it becomes unwanted and when it becomes more than that it is referred to as “noise pollution”. Heavy industries like shipbuilding and iron and steel have long been associated with Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Continuous exposure to noise pollution leads to hearing impairment especially for people who are working in the industry and common people as well. It has been scientifically proved that noise more than 85 decibels can cause hearing impairment and does not meet the standards set for healthy working environment.

4.0 A RATIONALE FOR AN INDUSTRIAL GREENBELT

4.1 Current Status of Greenbelt Consideration in Industrial Estate

As highlight in earlier chapter, current status of green efforts in Malaysia is focusing on commanding and controlling the wastes produce during the manufacturing stage of a product. Green efforts in Malaysia can be classified into four groups as follows:

Broad Guiding Principles: Establishing common principles and statements of intent across subscribing organizations.

Process Based Management Systems: ISO 14001 is a well known example of a process based environmental management system.

Performance Based Systems: Public disclosure of industrial pollution programs is examples of voluntary programs with clear performance standards.

Process-based Systems with Performance Elements: Establishing a hybrid system that combines a structured management system approach with specific performance requirements.

Unfortunately, there is no specific guideline and regulation of creating and preserving greenbelt in developing industrial estates as many parties seen it as a secondly important factor. In Malaysia, Kulim Hi-Tech Park is the first in country that can be seen as well planned fully-integrated high technology park. Besides providing one of the best infrastructures, the Park’s Masterplan also emphasizes on the quality of life within a self-contained township. Amenities incorporated in the plan include a shopping centre, a hospital, educational institutions and recreational facilities. But still, we are lacking in controlling the development over-exploitation the land resulting which can resulting environmental deterioration.

4.2 Pollution Status Caused by Industrial in Malaysia

The two major environmental issues in Malaysia caused by industrial activities are atmospheric pollution and solid and hazardous wastes (Khidir and Suhaiza, 2009).

4.2.1 Atmospheric Pollution

Atmospheric pollution has long been associated with the burning of fossil fuels, the resulting sulphur dioxide being a major atmospheric pollutant. Combustion of motor fuels causes an added influx of volatile organic compounds (VOC), coupled with carbon dioxide (CO2) and Nox, nitrous oxides. In Malaysia, local and transboundary emissions play very important roles in determining the status of the atmospheric environment (Hassan, Awang and Jaffar, 2006). The major pollutants observed are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) and total suspended particulate matter, in particular PM10 (Hassan, Awang and Jaffar, 2006).

Industries including power stations, motor vehicles and open burning activities remain the major sources of air pollution in the country. In 2008 a total of 22.971 industrial sources were identified to be subjected to Environmental Quality (Clean Air) Regulations, 1978. The breakdown of industrial sources by states is as shown in Figure 6. The highest number of stationary pollution sources was in Johor (8141:34%) followed by Selangor (4127:18%) and Perak (2956:12.9%). This is possibly due to the large industrial area in Johor and Selangor that contributed to the pollution. Besides that, both states have a rapid landuse development resulting to the environmental degradation. As to particulate matter, the highest contributor was industries (40%) followed by power stations (25%), motor vehicles (14%) and others (21%) (Figure 7).

Source: *DOE, Environmental Quality Report 2008.

Figure 6 : Industrial air pollution sources by state in Malaysia, 2008

Motor vehicles

Power station

Industrial

Others

4,557

(14%)

7,784

(25%)

12,664

(40%)

6,667

(21%)

Source: *DOE, Environmental Quality Report 2008.

Figure 7: Particulate Matter (PM) emission load by sources (metric tonnes),2008

4.2.2 Solid and Hazardous Wastes

Growing affluence and increasing concentration of population in urban areas have increased the generation and types of solid waste produced. Solid waste management is one of the most important issues of local authorities; where much money is spent in the collection and disposal of solid waste (Hassan et. al, 2000). Toxic and hazardous wastes are also one of the major issues in Malaysia. Currently, Malaysia produces about 10000 tonnes of waste every day, equal to 0.8 to 1.5 kg per capita (MGCC, 2006). According to Hassan, Awang and Jaffar, 2006, the amount of solid waste collected in Malaysia is 70 percent of waste generated The remaining 30 percent not collected ends up in illegal dumping sites, or is diverted at source or during collection for recycling purposes. The illegal dumping sites can cause leachate which possibly will contaminate the soil as well as the waterways. The recycling activities amount to only 5% of total waste generated.

Manufacturing industry

6,830 (38.73%)

Sewage treatment plants

9,524 (54.01%)

Agro-based industry

491 (2.78%)

Animal farm (Pig farm)

788 (4.48%)Solid, toxic and hazardous wastes become pollutants to the water. In 2008, 17,633 water pollution point sources were recorded. These comprise of sewage treatment plants (9,524:54.01%) inclusive 668 Network Pump Stations), manufacturing industries (6,830: 38.73%), animal farms (788:4.48%) and agro-based industries (491:2.78%) as shown in Figure 8 (Department of Environment).

Source: DOE, Environmental Quality Report 2008.

Figure 8 : Composition of water pollution sources by sector, 2008

Manufacturing industry was in the second place of water pollution sources. This is due to the expanding of industrial estates in the country. Compared to 2007, there are declining in water quality trend of river basins in 2008 (Figure 9). From 94 clean river basins were recorded, it reduce to 79 in 2008. Whereas, the number for both, slightly polluted and polluted river were increased.

Figure 9 : Riber basins Water Quality Trend based on BOD subindex (1998-2008)

Source of Pollution (Activity): Sewage, agrobased & manufacturing industries.

Pollution Indicator (Parameter): Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

Clean

Slightly polluted

Polluted

Source: *DOE, Environmental Quality Report 2008.

From all those charts and statistics, there are evidences to shows that industrial estates have become one of the major contributors to environmental pollution in the country. Therefore, there is need for an alternative plan on how to overcome this problem eventhough special requirements and regulation has been put into efforts but still there is declining in environmental quality.

4.3 Greenbelt as Environmental Pollution Abatement

In the context of environmental pollution abatement, a greenbelt has been defined as a strip of trees of such species, and such a geometry, that when planted around a source, would significantly attenuate the air pollution by intercepting and assimilating the pollutants in a sustainable manner (Ruth and William, 1994). The concept of greenbelt as a source of pollution abatement was recognized initially by three nations: The U.S.A., Britain and Kenya (Ruth and William, 1994; Gareth et al., 1992; Andy, 1991; Parsons, 1990). In reality greenbelts almost always include other vegetation, especially shrubs, which also play some role in capturing pollutants. But trees are the mainstays of greenbelts, and often greenbelt plantation is simply referred as ‘trees’ eventhough other types of vegetation is also established and nurtured.

4.3.1 Air Pollutants Removal by Vegetation

Plants remove pollutants from the air in three ways:

(i) Absorption by the leaves,

(ii) Deposition of particulate and aerosols on leaf surface, and

(iii) Fallout of particulate on the leeward (downwind) side of the

vegetation because of the slowing of the air movement

(Tewari, 1994; Rawat and Banerjee, 1996).

Vegetation acts as CO2 sink and some species have the capacity to utilise air pollutants effectively. Several plants have the capacity to collect the dust suspended in the atmosphere and dilute the concentration of toxic and harmful gases. Trees have been reported to remove air pollutants like hydrogen fluoride, SO2, and some compounds of photochemical reactions and collect heavy metals like mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) from the air (Hill, 1971; Lin, 1976).

After absorbing the air pollutants, trees change them to harmless metabolites through various physiological processes. Of course each and every plant cannot be an agent of air pollution control; only those which can tolerate pollutants can act as attenuators. All-in-all, increasing vegetation in the cities, towns, and industrial establishments holds great potential to combat air pollution. Substantial evidence is available to support the view that plants in general and trees in particular function as sinks for gaseous pollutants.

4.3.1 Soil and Water Pollutants Removal by Vegetation

Surface water streams are also affected by industrial effluents and organics. Most of the treated industrial

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