Did you know that what happens hundreds and even thousands of kilometres away from us can affect the quality of our tap water? Effluents from agricultural run-off, plantations or factories, logging upstream, rubbish and untreated sullage all pollute our rivers and affect our water quality, fish and other aquatic life. In recent times, prolonged water cuts due to river pollution affected millions of consumers in the Klang Valley.
This is where sustainable land-use planning comes in. It is the process of organising, managing, and regulating the use of land and their resources to meet the socio-economic development of the country whilst safeguarding the environment. Land-use planning is used to meet people’s needs in the most efficient and sustainable way while taking into account the land’s natural capacities.
Land-use planning is essential in physical environmental management and biodiversity conservation. Impacts due to poor land use are regularly highlighted in the media: river pollution due to effluents from polluting activities upstream of water intake points, conflicts of land use such as the citing of housing projects adjacent to landfills - the list goes on. Land is finite and as more competing uses for land and its resources arise, conflict often follows.
Land-use planning and management mechanisms that design and incorporates the needs of various sectors are therefore vital to help reduce land-use conflicts, conserve critical ecosystems, protect and manage environmentally sensitive habitats, restore degraded conservation areas, and ultimately, ensure a healthy and safe life for Malaysians.
WWF-Malaysia uses land-use planning to support other areas of work, particularly in lobbying for the creation and management of protected areas, highland conservation and management, protection of endangered species habitats, forest conservation and management, and freshwater and marine ecosystem conservation.
We aim to promote sustainable land-use policies, planning and management in the overall land governance system of Peninsular Malaysia, and protection and management of environmentally sensitive areas across the peninsula.
WWF-Malaysia hopes to achieve these goals by employing a number of strategies, which include:
Engaging with relevant authorities at the state and local level to promote sustainable land-use planning and advocating for the protection of Environmentally Sensitive Areas as identified in the National Physical Plan and other landuse plans
Reviewing land-use planning documents such as the State Structure Plans and District Local Plans and providing recommendations for sustainable land-use development
Reviewing Environmental Impact Assessments and providing constructive comments and recommendations for strong mitigating measures to safeguard sensitive ecosystems and habitat.
Participating in meetings, dialogues and technical committees to promote sustainable landuse planning and implementation as well as promoting nature based solutions