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Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020



1 Introduction

2 International and National Context of Growth

3 Vision and Goals of Kuala Lumpur

4 Economic Base and Population

5 Income and Quality of Life

6 Land Use and Development Strategy

7 Commerce

8 Tourism

9 Industry

10 Transportation

11 Infrastructure and Utilities

12 Housing

13 Community Facilities

14 Urban Design and Landscape

15 Environment
  15.1 Introduction
  15.2 Existing situation and issue
    15.2.1 Physical environment
    15.2.2 Flora and fauna
    15.2.3 Pollution
    15.2.4 Environmentally sensitive areas
  15.3 Objective
  15.4 Policy and proposal
    15.4.1 Tropical garden city
    15.4.2 Physical environment
    15.4.3 Flora and fauna
    15.4.4 Pollution control
    15.4.5 Environmentally sensitive areas
    15.4.6 Public participation
    15.4.7 Environmental management

16 Special Areas

17 Strategic Zone

18 Implementation



15.1 Introduction

716. The City environment includes, on the one hand, the quantifiable aspects of the ambient environment such as air, water quality and noise level and, on the other hand, the less measurable visual and sensual aspects of cityscape and amenity. It is also an important component of the quality of life that the City can afford its population and contributes to the overall image and identity of the City.
717. The environmental objective of the KLSP 1984 was ‘to secure the best achievable environmental standards through a judicious balance between development, ecology and national heritage’. The strategies supporting this objective were to promote a high standard of environmental amenity in terms of townscape and landscape and to attain an environment free from the major forms of pollution.
718. Environmental programmes subsequent to the KLSP 1984 have placed greater emphasis on amenity rather than the ambient environment. The emphasis has changed because of the realisation that environmental considerations should not be limited to concerns about pollution control but should be more positive in aiming to create more comfortable, pleasant and stimulating surroundings. In addition, standards on matters such as water quality, air quality, noise level, industrial emissions and effluent discharge are determined at a national level, while CHKL has been able to exercise more direct control over such matters as tree planting and cityscape.
719. Although it remains important to respond to the environmental issues faced by the City by taking appropriate preventive, mitigative or remedial measures, a parallel approach should be to direct action and programmes towards creating the particular city character and image arising from the vision for Kuala Lumpur to become a World-Class City. Furthermore, as the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur may have the potential and, perhaps the responsibility, to enhance nationally determined standards.

15.2 Existing situation and issue
 15.2.1  Physical environment
 a)  Steep slopes
 i.  Existing situation

720. Kuala Lumpur is between 30 and 200 metres above mean sea level (AMSL), and comprises extensive flat river plains in the north and east, steep sided hills to the west, north east and south and a narrow river valley to the south west, where Sungai Klang flows towards the coast (refer Figure 15.1).
721. Until recently, development on slopes exceeding 30 degrees still occurred, which has led to potentially serious instability of slopes especially in high rise and high density development.

 ii.  Issue

722. Inadequate measures to stabilise slopes or to cover disturbed ground in new development are the main causes of soil erosion. The KLSP 1984 addressed the issue of soil erosion and slope stability and provided guidelines for development. However, soil erosion from construction sites still occurs.

• Soil erosion from construction on steep slopes.

 b)  River water quality
 i.  Existing situation

723. Two of the three primary rivers in Kuala Lumpur, namely Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak, flow through the heart of the City. All three rivers originate from the highland areas in the northern part of Kuala Lumpur (refer Figure 15.2) and have massive suspended solid loading as is evident from their muddy colour. A major contribution to the situation is the discharge of silt from construction sites.

Figure 15.1 : Topography, 2000

Figure 15.2 : Rivers, 2000
724. Debris in the rivers is also a serious problem caused principally by the indiscriminate dumping of solid waste from squatter settlements along the riverbanks. The direct discharge of domestic wastewater into the rivers still occurs in some areas, further adding to the rivers’ pollution problems. As recorded in the Malaysia Environmental Quality Reports of 2000, Water Quality Index (WQI) showed that water quality for Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak is still polluted (WQI Class III 51.9- 76.5) which requires extensive treatment .

 ii.  Issue

  • Poor water quality of the City rivers.

 c)  Flood prone areas
 i.  Existing situation

725. Flooding has been a regular occurrence in Kuala Lumpur whenever there is a heavy downpour, especially in the City Centre and downstream areas (refer Figure 15.3). These frequent flash floods disrupt the City’s functioning, damage property and threaten human lives.

 ii.  Issue

726. General issues regarding flooding are highlighted in Chapter 11: Infrastructure and Utilities.

Photo 15.1: Flooding has been a regular occurrence in Kuala Lumpur whenever there is a heavy downpour, especially in the City Centre...
727. The development of structures within the river reserves has further reduced the flow capacity of the City’s rivers thus, increasing the likelihood of flooding.

• Obstruction of storm water flow by structures in river reserves.

 d)  Sinkholes
 i.  Existing situation

728. The underlying bedrock for most of the northern part of Kuala Lumpur varies from marble limestone and granite to a mixture of schist-phylite and quartzite-phylite. Marble limestone and quartzitephylite are predominantly found in the central part of the City, especially in the City Centre. The southern part of Kuala Lumpur is principally made up of granite (refer Figure 15.4).
729. Areas with marble or limestone under layers are susceptible to underground structural collapse due to the formation of hollows or sinkholes. Most sinkholes occur within fault lines where permeation of underground water from major waterways reaches the marble or limestone and dissolves them by acidic reaction.

 ii.  Issue

730. Sinkholes have occurred mainly in areas close to the two major rivers as they pass through the City Centre, where rapid development involving large-scale projects have disturbed the water table. These sinkholes have, in some cases, disrupted building construction.

• Disruption of construction by sinkholes.

 15.2.2  Flora and fauna
 i.  Existing situation

731. There are three forest reserves in Kuala Lumpur namely the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve (10.52 hectares), Bukit Sungai Putih Forest Reserve (7.41 hectares) and Bukit Sungai Besi Forest Reserve (42.11 hectares) (refer Figure 15.5). Bukit Nanas, in the heart of the City Centre, is one of the oldest virgin forests in the region. These residual forest areas are home to a number of fauna species particularly monkeys, tree shrews, squirrels and birds.

Figure 15.3 : Flash flood areas, 2000

Figure 15.4 : Underlying bedrocks, 2000

Figure 15.5 : Forest reserves, 2000
732. There are also several isolated tracts, including parts of Kampong Sungai Penchala and Damansara, which contain forest vegetation. Although substantial in size, most of these forested areas are located on hill slopes and are surrounded by development projects.

 ii.  Issue

733. Some of the remaining forest areas are under threat of development. The encroachment of development has, in most cases, made the forest areas no longer sustainable as self-contained habitats for indigenous species. In some areas, whole colonies have disappeared while in others, they have been reduced to scavenging thus, bringing them into conflict with residents in adjoining housing areas.

• Threat to residual forest areas.

 15.2.3  Pollution
 a)  Air quality
 i.  Existing situation

734. Based on the Malaysia Environmental Quality Report 2000, the Air Pollutant Index (API) showed that air quality for Kuala Lumpur was between good (API 0-50) to moderate (API 51-100) most of the time, except for a few nhealthy
days experienced during the drier months of May and July (refer Figure 15.6). However, ‘unhealthy’ air quality conditions were occasionally recorded in Kuala Lumpur and were mainly due to the presence of high levels of ozone, formed by the reaction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile compounds (VOCs) emitted from motor vehicles and industrial sources, react in the presence of sunlight and heat.

 ii.  Issue

735. The main sources of air pollution in the City are open burning, emission from motor vehicles and construction work, together with a minor contribution from industries in the fringe areas of the City. The deterioration of air quality can be a serious hazard to human health leading to respiratory diseases as well as a reduction in visibility.

Figure 15.6: Air Pollutant Index (API), 2000
  • Deterioration of air quality.

 b)  Noise Level
 i.  Existing situation

736. Based on the Malaysia Environment Quality Report 2000, noise monitoring concentrated mainly on assessing the impact of noise exposure to sensitive noise receivers at premises such as schools and hospitals in Kuala Lumpur were found to be between 57.8 decibels to 71.8 decibels during day time (7 am to 10 pm) which exceeded the limit of 55 decibels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The main source of noise is vehicular traffic while other noise sources, such as those from industrial machinery and the LRT, affect localised areas.

 ii.  Issue

737. Development guidelines do not stipulate adequate buffer zones between residential areas and potential pollution sources. In some cases, highways and major roads cut through densely populated residential areas. High noise levels apart from causing discomfort can lead to health problems.

• High noise levels in many parts of the City.

 c)  Contaminated Land
 i.  Existing situation

738. Existing disposal site in Taman Beringin and the ex-solid waste disposal sites near Sri Petaling and Jinjang Utara are considered as contaminated land due to the unsystematic disposal solid waste and treatment. Methane gas, chemical and toxic waste and leachate from these sites contaminate the land, surface water and underground water as well as the air quality.

 ii.  Issue

739. Rapid development has created pressure for the need to redevelop these contaminated areas. Rules and special regulations in controlling the usage of contaminated land need to be formed based on suitable standards, procedures and technologies.

• No control and regulation in the usage of contaminated land areas

 15.2.4  Environmentally sensitive areas
 i.  Existing situation

740. Environmentally sensitive areas can be defined as areas that need special attention or consideration before any development can be approved in the area and its proximity. Environmentally sensitive areas such as those that are susceptible to erosion, flooding, steep slopes, sinkholes, air, water and noise pollution as well as forested and heritage areas are not well documented.
741. Due to the lack of guidelines, the impact of development on environmentally sensitive areas has not been given adequate attention, leading to degradation of the City’s natural environment.

 ii.  Issue

742. Existing planning guidelines are not comprehensive enough to gauge the impact of development projects on environmentally sensitive areas.

• Lack of development guidelines for environmentally sensitive areas.

15.3 Objective

743. In order to enhance the quality of life in the City to a level commensurate with its vision to be a World-Class City, CHKL aims to:

• create a Tropical Garden City sensitive to it natural site and appropriate to its tropical regional location;

• continue to maintain a judicious balance between development, ecology and national heritage;

• enhance the city living environment; and

• attain an environment which is free from the major forms of pollution.

15.4 Policy and proposal
 15.4.1  Tropical Garden City

744. Landscaping and beautification programmes carried out in recent years have proved to be extremely successful and have helped to transform the City environment especially in the City Centre. These programmes must now be intensified and broadened to cover all residential, commercial and industrial areas of Kuala Lumpur in order to fully realise the objective of creating a Tropical Garden City.

EN 1: CHKL shall promote landscaping and beautification programmes in residential, commercial and industrial areas.
EN 2: CHKL shall intensify the programmes of roadside and streetside planting and landscaping of open spaces and recreational areas.
745. Some privately owned open spaces, vacant sites and other undeveloped areas in the City, particularly those which are in public view or which are close to landscaped open space, should be properly landscaped to improve environmental amenity.

Photo 15.2: Landscaping and beautification programmes will be intensified and broadened in order to fully realise the objective of creating a Tropical Garden City

EN 3: CHKL shall ensure the provision of proper landscaping of existing private open spaces and other vacant areas.
746. Strategies need to be formulated to incorporate the rivers and ex-mining ponds into the environmental amenity of the City through the use of landscaping and other improvement measures.

EN 4: CHKL shall ensure the landscaping of rivers and the rehabilitation of ex-mining lands.
EN 5: CHKL shall initiate an appropriate strategy for integrating the major rivers and abandoned mining ponds as an amenity and feature of the City’s urban design.

 15.4.2  Physical Environment
 a)  Steep slopes

747. Development on hillside shall be given serious attention in accordance with the prevailing rules and regulation and policies adopted by the government. In particular, the ‘fit to terrain’ concept in layout design should be applied in all developments in hilly locations.

EN 6: CHKL shall not permit development on hillside with slope that exceeds the allowable level, rules and regulations set by the Federal Government.
EN 7: CHKL shall ensure that geo-technical study is carried out for all hillside developments.

 b)  River water quality

748. An essential prerequisite for improving the water quality of the rivers is to ensure that all wastewater from local sewers is properly treated before being discharged into the river and drainage system.

EN 8: CHKL shall, in co-operation with the sewerage concessionaire, ensure that there shall be no further discharge of untreated domestic wastewater into the rivers and drainage system.
749. The squatter resettlement programmes will help to improve water quality by eliminating a major source of pollution. However, alternative methods of cleaning up the City’s waterways by adopting advanced but cost effective technologies should be investigated. Such methods could include the use of cascades to increase oxygenation and aeration of the rivers and improve their capacity to support aquatic life.

EN 9: CHKL shall investigate the feasibility of new approaches to increase oxygenation, aeration and water quality of the City’s rivers to support aquatic life in rivers.

Photo 15.3: The use of cascades to increase oxygenation and aeration of the rivers and improve their capacity to support aquatic life.

 c)  Flood Prone Areas

750. CHKL shall continue to cooperate with the Federal Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) in maintaining the flow capacity of the rivers and ensuring that there is no clogging. The feasibility of constructing gross suspended solid traps upstream and at other strategic locations to collect waste and reduce clogging should be investigated to provide more effective long-term measures to prevent flooding.

EN 10: CHKL shall re-activate the rehabilitation programme of Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak.
751. The existing flow capacity of the rivers must not be allowed to be reduced any further by the construction of permanent structures in the river reserves.

EN 11: CHKL shall not approve development involving permanent structures in river reserves.

 d)  Sinkholes

752. In order to minimise the danger of structural collapse and the potential disruption of construction activities in areas of limestone formation, geotechnical reports should be submitted together with development applications.

EN 12: CHKL shall require development applications in areas of limestone formation be accompanied by geotechnical reports.

 15.4.3  Flora and fauna

753. The indigenous flora and fauna of the City are precious resources that must be conserved and, where possible, encouraged to proliferate for the benefit of the City’s population and ensuing generations.

754. An interconnected network of green spaces will be created by linking major parks, forest reserves with river, road, rail and utility reserves. This continuous belt of green areas will help to create sustainable living environments for wildlife. Programmes should be formulated to give greater in-depth attention to the conservation of the City’s natural elements including indigenous plants and trees, animals and birds thus, reinforcing to the City’s tropical character. These programmes could include the enhancement of food resources for wildlife such as planting fructiferous trees and providing feeding stations.

EN 13: CHKL shall conserve residual forest areas and maintain a sustainable variety and population of wildlife within the City boundaries.

 15.4.4  Pollution control
 a)  Air quality

755. Reducing the amount of road traffic has a direct effect on reducing air pollution. Transportation policies, therefore, that promote the use of public transport over private transport not only assist in traffic demand management, but also reduce air pollution. Other programmes to reduce the effects of pollution from vehicles will be implemented such as the building of natural and man-made buffers alongside roads using dense tree planting, hedges and bunds as dust traps.

EN 14: CHKL shall ensure the provision of adequate landscaped buffer areas between highways and other builtup areas.
756. The Department of the Environment is responsible for enforcement measures related to air pollution and it will be necessary for CHKL to coordinate closely with the department in order to reduce air pollution.

EN 15: CHKL shall, in co-operation with the Department of Environment, undertake measures to reduce air pollution in the City.

 b)  Noise level

757. The transportation policy of promoting public transport and reducing private vehicles on the road is also a crucial strategy in lowering noise levels. In addition, the need to increase setback standards between residential dwellings and major roads should be examined.

EN 16: CHKL shall implement measures to reduce noise levels in the City.

 c)  Contaminated land

758. Contaminated lands need to be treated so that they can be used again for suitable activity. The treatment of contaminated land is estimated to take a period of more than 20 years. During the period, these areas shall be made as sensitive green areas. Hence suitable treatment regulations and procedures need to be prepared.

EN 17: CHKL shall ensure that contaminated land be treated and designated as sensitive green areas.

 15.4.5  Environmentally sensitive areas

759. Measures must be introduced to create a sustainable environment which maintains a judicious balance between development, ecology and national heritage. To avoid compromising the City’s natural and built heritage, environmentally sensitive areas should be designated and properly documented. Guidelines should also be formulated to guide, control and manage development in and around these areas.

EN 18: CHKL shall designate environmentally sensitive areas and prepare guidelines for their control and management.

 15.4.6  Public participation

760. Economic activities with involvement of the public should be implemented within the context of Local Agenda 21. The public participation should assist in achieving susutainable development in optimal utilisation of available resources.

761. The concept of eco-partnership, which places emphasis on the concerted efforts of various stakeholders such as private enterprises, various government agencies and community based and non governmental organisations (CBOs and NGOs) to carry out study activities aimed at increasing public awareness on sustainable environment, should be promoted and enhanced. ‘Clean street’, ‘clean air’ and ‘clean water’ campaigns, in which CHKL in collaboration with NGOs and privatization concessionaires, can take the lead to extend the concept of eco-partnership. The public should also be encouraged to adopt the 3R concept of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. Such programmes can be organised at a neighbourhood level.

EN 19: CHKL shall, in collaboration with other government agencies, the public and the private sector, undertake pro-active measures to ensure sustainability in economic, physical and social development in congruence with existing

 15.4.7  Environmental management

762. The policies that have been formulated and the guidelines to be drafted, shall form the basis for a comprehensive framework to guide, control and manage new development and improvement works in Kuala Lumpur. In order to implement these measures, the Environment Unit under the Health Department of CHKL should be strengthened to regulate and facilitate coordination with other stakeholders as well as all related departments both inside and outside CHKL.

EN 20: CHKL shall coordinate with other relevant stakeholders to implement the policies and guidelines of environmentally sensitive areas.