Melaka steps up climate action

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  • 10 Jul 2019 12:00 AM
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Melaka Steps Up Climate Action as It Copes With Traffic Congestion, Flooding and Other Woes

Melaka registered 17 million visitors in 2018, almost 20 times the number of its residents. The result: a growing strain on infrastructure and public services, traffic congestion, deteriorating air quality, and a mounting garbage problem resulting in flood risks. This prompted city officials to make a successful bid to be part of 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), a non-profit organisation set up by United States-based Rockefeller Foundation that provides assistance to cities to be resilient in the face of environmental, social and economic challenges. On June 27, Melaka unveiled a broad resilience strategy to tackle some of its biggest environmental issues. Saurabh Gaidhani, associate director of 100RC Asia Pacific, told Eco-Business that city wants to decrease the number of private vehicles on the road by ensuring everyone has access to public transportation. This could be done through the construction of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system and the development of a water taxi service to ease congestion in the car-dominated city, as well as the creation of alternative routes to access the city. Public spaces will also have wider cycling and pedestrian lanes as an alternative for commuters. The Melaka government is also developing a flood mitigation plan, which aims to deepen and widen rivers, enlarge reservoirs and provide additional sluice gates, which control the flow of water in water systems, the report noted. City officials plan to enhance Melaka’s Watershed Plan, which will integrate all water resources in the city instead of just relying on the Durian Tunggal Dam, the main water source for the state. Rainwater harvesting will also be implemented, with the water stored for uses like irrigation, laundry, flushing, and cleaning. Hotels, as major consumers of water, will also be engaged to reduce water consumption as part of their licensing renewal process. The city, which has no material sorting facilities, also faces a growing waste problem. All waste is sent to landfills, in which will soon be at capacity. Waste removal services in public spaces are poor, partly due to the difficulty in accessing narrow roads. With the help of industry leaders in this week’s 100 RC summit in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, city officials plan to tackle how Melaka can adopt a circular approach to manage and reuse its waste. Meanwhile, the city plans to address its litter problem by reaching out to tourists through an awareness campaign to recycle and dispose of waste responsibly. Waste bins will be added at locations like shopping precincts, event venues, river boats, cafes and restaurants, which experience high pedestrian flow, according to the 46-page roadmap.

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