Taiping is not in danger of losing its status as one of the world’s eco-friendliest tourist destinations despite some land clearing activities, especially in Bukit Larut, officials told The Star.
Notably, the town was the only place in Malaysia that made it to Green Destinations’ Sustainable Destinations Top 100 for 2018.
According to Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) President Datuk Abd Rahim Md Ariff, some land clearing activities in the town for some projects are unlikely to impact Taiping’s inclusion in the rankings.
The is because local officials made sure that these developments followed the guidelines, such as those for roads, drainage, earthworks and building constructions. “We have also checked all these with the respective technical agencies and gotten their approval.”
Abd Rahim said this after Sahabat Alam Sekitar (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman queried if Green Destinations ¬– a global non-profit group that recognises efforts by different governments around the world to create sustainable tourist attractions – visited Taiping before finalising the 2018 award recipients.
Meor Razak claimed that MPT only submitted a dossier regarding Taiping to Green Destinations.
“Based on our own field work, we found several areas, particularly those near the Bukit Larut range, that were cleared for some development project. This means there is no sustainability, although it could be isolated and insignificant.”
“These areas that have been cleared are visible to visitors and these could raise questions,” he explained.
According to Green Destinations’ website, Taiping is Perak’s second largest town that is known for its waterscapes and greenery.
Dubbed as the Rain Town, due to the high precipitation there, the area is home to many beautiful natural attractions like waterfalls, mountains and wildlife.
As such, Meor Razak is calling on municipal authorities to protect and preserve Taiping’s natural tourist attractions.
“MPT needs to tighten enforcement and impose stricter conditions when approving projects or else everything will be unsuccessful.”
Regarding the areas, where there had been land clearing, he revealed these are located in the districts of Larut, Matang and Selama. “We have checked and the said areas are for agricultural purposes.”
According to Abd Rahim, Taiping’s inclusion in the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 for 2018 was conveyed to MPT through an email dated 21 December.
This is after they sent a dossier about MPT to Green Destinations earlier last year. The documents included videos, photos and promotion materials so that Taiping can be assessed by the group.
Apart from providing accurate information, which is among the organisation’s requirements, the dossier included detailed information on sustainable and controlled areas such as Bukit Larut, Kuala Trong, Batu Kurau, Kampung Dew, Kuala Sepetang, Taiping Lake Gardens, Taiping Zoo and Night Safari, as well as Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve.
“These places have ecotourism and heritage values and can generate economic opportunities to the local community,” said Abd Rahim.
Green Destinations’ Sustainable Destinations Top 100 for 2018 will be officially announced on 6 March 2019 at ITB Berlin, the biggest tourism trade fair in world.
Image source: taiping.my
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