Blog visitor Kevin writes about the lack of tree care in Penang. Trees along our roadsides experience a lot of stress. In comparison, how many trees in the wild on Penang Hill or in the jungles were uprooted?
Are you suggesting that we chop off all trees just because there is a risk that they will fall?
This is what Malaysians do best. We like to blame God for everything that happens. If a landslide occurs, act of god. If a ramp collapses, act of god, if there are flash floods, act of god, if the mast of umno building collapses, act of god and now if a tree collapses, also an act of god.
When can we start being responsible for the things we do? I have always said there are proper ways to do things and there are wrong ways. Have you seen how trees are cared for and maintained in Singapore? And many of them are easily twice to three times the size of the trees along Green Lane. How is it that they do not have problems like us?
Could it be because god dislikes Penang as compared to Singapore and so creates more ‘acts of god’ in Penang? Or could it be that we do everything the wrong way.
In Singapore, the Parks Board oversees every single tree there, when they are planted, root barriers are built, anchors are made and the correct tree is planted at the correct depth to minimise mishaps. The trees are monitored constantly, trimmed when necessary and treated to ensure they are always healthy. In Penang, they plant anything (even plants that shed so much) and they simply dig a hole for it, even if it is just two feet from the road, there are no reserves or green pockets and the plants sometimes sit on a narrow strip which are less than 1 metre wide. Then we blame God because it is so convenient. Who even advises them? Why can’t they learn something from their many trips abroad?
Penangites must be the first to show to all of Malaysia that we, like other cities in the developed world, can implement best practices and follow them. I call on the state govt to set up a Parks, Gardens and Greenery Board to oversee all such matters and to at least minimise if not prevent completely such incidents.
Nobody in their right mind would say that trees cannot be cut for safety reasons such as when a tree has decayed. If a tree is decayed it can be removed and re-planting can be done.
People object only when trees have to be sacrificed for road works such as widening. In Penang, when roads are widened, not only are trees axed, but even pedestrian walkways are sacrificed for the benefit of motorists. If a tree has to be moved from an area to facilitate construction, it is all right, so long as re-planting of shady trees are done at the same location after construction is completed.
Right now, we axe the big trees and once construction is over, we replace them with so called ornamental shrubs which do not provide any shade for pedestrians and which do little to give us a green canopy effect that Penangites cherish. And this has been happening for a long time so you cannot blame people for protesting.
If you take a walk around the major roads in town you will see that the area is bare and lacks sidewalks unlike the case in Singapore, where trees are kept and sidewalks and roads built with the trees in mind. I have attached a link to show you how well planned trees and wide sidewalks are in Singapore, something which should and can be replicated in Penang, at least on all roads where we are spending money upgrading (might as well do it 100% right this time).
They built their roads and sidewalks around the trees, not replaced them with shrubs. And the flora are maintained so well that nobody dies because of a tree. Remember Singapore is also an Island with limited land and an even larger population. Now compare the link I have attached with the roads we have in George Town and one knows how much improvement we can make to our beloved Island. (Other) photos … show how badly planted the trees along Green Lane were compared to those in my link. The tree that fell, barely had enough soil to grip onto.
This link shows how big trees can be preserved or introduced by the side and in between roads without compromising on road width. Penang can study how Singapore has made it work …
Compare this to our Gottlieb Road which was just upgraded last year without much thought for greening it:
So much more could have been done to green the place like in the examples shown. The state govt know that greening can be done because it has done so on some stretches of Dato Keramat and Carnarvon Road where credit should be given. But their implementation does not seem co-ordinated as evident in their other projects like the one in Gottlieb Road.