The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the Penang state government not to build a cable car connecting the Botanic Garden to the Penang Hill summit as it will have serious consequences for our environment and health.
The wellbeing of the people and the integrity of our environment should not be sacrificed at the altar of tourist dollars.
The provision of a cable car would lead to the construction of hotels, restaurants, theme parks, homes and roads to cater for the increased number of tourists and residents. Such development will have disastrous impacts on the
fragile hill environment and endanger the ecological balance.
It is bound to lead to a loss of forest cover and to pollution of streams on the hill. It will result in a reduction of
habitats and the consequent extinction of valuable plants, animals, birds and insects.
Its impact will also cause soil erosion, degraded land slopes and increased landslides. The authorities have obviously not learnt any lesson from the storm and the floods several years ago which caused massive landslides,
uprooted many trees and cut off communications on the hill.
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Currently, more than 5,000 people go up the hill, and this is already exceeding the carrying capacity of the hill.
A further increase in the number of visitors and residents, as planned by the government, will produce a substantial hike in the consumption of resources – food, water and energy – and the production of waste.
Waste can cause great damage to the hill ecosystems. The hill does not have adequate sewage and waste disposal facilities to handle the waste generated by large numbers of tourists and residents.
The cable car station is to be located in the midst of the Penang Youth Park and the Penang Botanic Garden. Thousands of people – children, men, women and senior citizens – go to these two major open parks for exercise and to enjoy the peace and tranquillity in the green surroundings.
The effect of placing the station there will be to exacerbate traffic congestion there and in neighbouring areas. Atmospheric and noise pollution will reach unacceptable limits and ruin the pleasure of those who patronise
the park and the botanic garden. Tourist buses and private cars will spew out dangerous exhaust gases and produce
The construction of the cable car and ensuing human activities on the hill and the station will produce large amounts of carbon dioxide and thereby increase our carbon footprint. This is in clear violation of Malaysia’s commitment under the UN sustainable development goals to reduce the carbon footprint.
Our leaders, and many other leaders in the world, are wedded to the neoliberal model of economic development. They are, like the lemmings, blindly pursuing the path of economic growth, leading to the destruction of our environment and global warming that threatens the very survival of our planet. – CAP