10 Ways To Make KL A Cleaner & Greener City

Posted by shloke 23 November 2009
(Now is the time to clean up KL City for future generations)
My Cartoon Doodle

Kuala Lumpur (KL) is fast becoming a modern and sophisticated city. Over one and a half million people are living and working in KL. It is still a preferred destination for lavish lifestyle, delicious food, unique skyscrapers and amazing shopping experiences. Many city dwellers often find it hard to give up the luxuries they have been accustomed to in their urban homes.

Unfortunately, the massive development has contributed to air pollution and bottleneck traffic jams. The excessive traffic jams are the main cause of environmental pollution. In addition, KL is getting dirtier by the minute. The city is littered with rubbish. I've seen people throw plastic bags, wrappers and other garbage out of their cars as if the whole country is just one big garbage dump - handiwork of ugly Malaysian.

Recently, I've participated in numerous campaigns organized by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (translation: KL City Hall) to clean up my residential area. Sadly, public awareness only last for two weeks. After that, people return to their filthy habits. Its' the infamous 'TIDAK APA' attitude among Malaysians. Despite the massive development, Malaysians seem to have little regard for the environment and cleanliness.

A greener and cleaner city is a desirable place for living and working. The cleanliness of our streets and rivers says a lot about who we are and what our values are. We need to discard our old habits before it’s too late. I am proposing 10 simple yet effective ways to make KL a livable city.

#STEP 1 - Use Public Transportation

A typical bus can take 40 single-passengers cars off the road.
Picture taken with my Nikon D60

Air pollution is at the top of the list of problems caused by motor vehicles. Cars take up too much space in KL where 4 out of 5 trips are made by car. This congestion costs us dearly. One third of drivers in KL City spend the equivalent of three workweeks in bumper to bumper traffic every year.


Use public transportation whenever possible. It will saves more than 109 million liter of petrol per year in Malaysia. Take bus, train or car pool. A RapidKL's bus can take 40 single-passengers cars off the road. As of 13th November 2009, RapidKL buses have 2.7 million ridership a week, carrying 380,000 passengers daily, in a total of 165 bus routes from 980 housing estates in Klang Valley (Ridership Numbers Adapted From: The Star).

Getting Around In KL:

Kuala Lumpur's public transport system consists of 3 LRT (Light Rail Transit) lines operated by RapidKL, the semicircular KL Monorail looping through the Golden Triangle and the KTM Komuter for trips to the outer northern, southern & western suburbs.

#STEP 2 - Help Clean Up A River

Cry Me a `Clean' River! Gombak/Klang river confluence next to Masjid Jamek, KL
Picture taken with my Nokia hand phone

According to Department of Irrigation & Drainage (DID), our rivers provide 97% of our water supply. Among the 189 river basins, 30 of them function as reservoirs which supply the 26.9 million people living in Malaysia with clean water that flows through our taps. Solid waste deposited by irresponsible individuals has badly affected the quality of water in our rivers.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail, had said on numerous occasions that people should change their perception of rivers and look at them as a resource rather than their rubbish dumping ground. The main causes of river pollution are industrial effluents and domestic waste disposal. This is aggravated by industrialisation and urban migration which results in squatter problems.

DBKL (KL City Hall) and KWP (Ministry of Federal Territories) need to actively promote public awareness on the importance of rivers and to highlight the critical state of pollution faced by our rivers. Local nature conservation groups regularly organize river clean up operations. These involve removing the waste that pollutes a water course and cleaning riverbanks. We need more campaigns to clean our dying rivers!


These operations always need volunteers. Do not be afraid to join one. It is an opportunity to help the environment and learn more about the stream, its banks, and the flora and fauna that live there.

#STEP 3 - Say NO to Plastic Bag & Styrofoam

My mom's eco-friendly reusable shopping bag :)
Picture captured with my Nikon D60

Plastic bag and Styrofoam require fossil fuels to produce and takes centuries to degrade. The flyaway pieces that do break off can endanger wildlife. Several hypermarkets in KL have banned plastic bag. That's not enough. We need to pressure DBKL (KL City Hall) and KWP (Ministry of Federal Territories) to pass similar initiatives. We should follow Penang and create a “NO PLASTIC BAG DAY” on every Monday.

The following is a press statement released by Lim Guan Eng (The Chief Minister of Penang) in George Town on Friday, 9th October 2009:

“No Plastic Mondays” have reduced plastic bag consumption by more than 580,000 plastic bags over 13 days.


Avoid plastic bag and Styrofoam takeout. Bring along your cloth bag during shopping. Ask you workplace to replace Styrofoam coffee cups with reusable mugs or drinking glass.

#STEP 4 - Stray Cats & Dogs
(Adopt A Pet From Your Local Animal Shelter)

Let's create a better world for animals.
A stray dog in Pulau Ketam. Picture captured with my Nikon D60.

According to SPCA Malaysia, each year thousands of cats and dogs enter shelter (over 7, 000), yet only 17% are adopted from there. By adopting a cat or a dog from a shelter, you're giving a homeless pet a new chance of life.


Visit SPCA, to view guidelines for adopting a pet. If you decide that you and your family are ready to make this commitment, don't spend money needlessly in a pet shop, thus encouraging even more pets to be raised. Find your next family member at the local animal shelter instead. Currently, there are close to 400 kittens, cats, puppies and dogs at the SPCA Animal Shelter in Ampang Jaya. Click here to read FAQ about Pet Adoption

SPCA Contact Details:

SPCA Selangor
Jalan Kerja Air Lama,
68000 Ampang, Selangor.

Animal Shelter & Admin Dept: 03-4256 5312/ 4253 5179 (8.30am - 4pm Daily)
Public Relations Dept & Inspectorate: 03-4253 5312 (10am – 6.30pm Daily)

Fax: 03-4252 8382

Email: enquiries@spca.org.my

#STEP 5 - Do Not Drop Your Garbage Indiscriminately When Traveling

It's SMELLY, UGLY & DIRTY - somewhere in KL
Picture taken with my Nikon D60

Across Malaysia, the average rate of recycling is less than 20%. In some KL places, rubbish bins are rare or altogether absent.


Do not drop your trash just anywhere - especially if you are on an excursion - even if the environment already appears to be dirty or strewn with dumped waste. Take your trash back to where you are staying and disperse of it properly.

#STEP 6 - Introduce Environmental Education to Schools

Work with WWF and spread the Green Message

Many local environmental NGOs (e.g. MNS - Malaysia Nature Society & WWF - World Wide Fund For Nature) offer free or low cost education presentations or field trips for school-aged children. They usually focus on the natural features it has to offer.


Spend some time organizing environmental awareness programs with these NGOs. It is a good way to increase awareness among students, teachers and parents.

WWF Official Portal: http://www.wwf.org.my/
MNS Official Portal: http://www.mns.my/

#STEP 7 - File Your Income Tax Electronically

GO GREEN, GO E-FILING! A screenshot of Malaysian Income Tax BE Form.

Each tax season, IRB (Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia) issues nearly 2 millions paper forms or the equivalent of nearly 75 000 trees. E-filing which now accounts for 30% of all returns significantly reduces the amount of paper used. The IRB has set a goal to have 80% of the returns e-filed, but this can't be achieved unless consumers continue to use the service and urge tax professionals to e-file whenever possible.


File your personal income tax returns online. You'll save paper and get your refund faster.

Official Portal of IRB: http://www.hasil.org.my/

#STEP 8 - Reduce Traffic Jams & Pollution
(Take Your Children to School on Foot)

School bus is COOL! "I Am Doing My Part to Save the Earth"

Fewer than 15% of children walk or bike to school; although some take buses, nearly 60% are driven. Cars already produce a fifth of carbon dioxide emissions, and their numbers will increase considerable over the coming decades to meet growing demand in Malaysia. Almost 35% of morning commuters are parents and kids on their way to school.


Instead of taking your children to school by car, send them by public transportation or school bus or accompany them on foot or by bike.

#STEP 9 - Plant A Tree
(Make KL A Green City Not A Concrete City)

A canopy tree in Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, KL
Picture taken with my Nikon D60

Today, less than a third of the world is still forested. Worldwide, over the last 10 years, forest has been reduced by 2.4%.


Plant a tree. You will be joining the fight against global warming and the atmosphere pollution caused by CO2 emissions.

#STEP 10 - Practice Sustainable Tourism

Visitors to Bazaar Ramadan at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, KL
Picture taken with my Nikon D60

When you travel in KL, you can also have a positive impact. Follow these five simple steps to support local tourism.

  • Patronize local businesses as much as possible.
  • Give back to the community by supporting humanitarian projects and social works.
  • Use local sources for everything from public transportation to restaurant food.
  • Use tour operators that respect fragile habitats and can show visitors what local conditions are really like.

10 Ways to Make KL City Cleaner & Greener:

  1. Use Public Transportation
  2. Say NO to Plastic Bag & Styrofoam
  3. Adopt A Pet From Your Local Animal Shelter
  4. Help Clean Up A River
  5. Do Not Drop Your Garbage Indiscriminately When Traveling
  6. Introduce Environmental Education to Schools
  7. File Your Income Tax Electronically
  8. Reduce Traffic Jams & Pollution
  9. Plant A Tree
  10. Practice Sustainable Tourism

I LOVE to hear your creative ideas to spruce up KL. Feel free to drop your comments.

Last updated October 29th, 2020 (1:36 p.m.)


  1. fufu Says:
  2. ops... i gotta leave a comment even i am busy with my assignments... as i am working on some of the problems you mentioned here right now... #1, #2, #8, #9 and #10... especially #1 to make kl a transit oriented sustainability city =p and #8... i wanna make kl a pedestrian-friendly zone... make it more accessible to the green spaces... insyallah this blog would increase the awareness... LOL

  3. Good suggestions there, but I don't see any initiative by City Hall and other local authorities yet to involve the public in river cleanup and rehabilitation campaigns. I think their main concern is safety. Well, YTL pledged RM1 billion to clean up the rivers of Peninsular Malaysia and until now, we've seen nothing. He should go into politics.

    I particularly liked that part about adopting stray animals and supporting environmental groups.

  4. shloke Says:
  5. ~Covert_Operations'78~

    Hi! Welcome to my photo & travel blog.

    Nowadays, river clean up campaigns are organized by local NGOs & non-profit groups. Here is one good example reported in The Star paper dated 21st November 2009:


    I remember seeing loads of TV and newspaper ads from JPS Malaysia. Unfortunately, it was a short term campaign to make our river cleaner.

    Yep, public security is importance. But, our river deserve even more attention. Well, I guess there is a lack of coordination and concerted effort between JPS and DBKL to restore our river.

    My goodness...I have no comments for Mr. Yeoh :)

    Pet adoption is really important. SPCA cannot keep all of the sheltered animals. According to SPCA Malaysia "SPCA have existed for almost 50 years, in this time the number of animals euthanased annually has only ever increased.


    You need to check out KL City Plan 2020. I've sent you an email.

    Well, I hope Malaysians is able discard their 'tidak apa' mentality and start greening our city before it's to late to do anything.

    Cheers to all!

  6. Ken Wooi Says:
  7. really good writeup..
    interesting and detailed methods in helping the earth to go green..
    well, we all know KL is quite a hectic city.. many things are done without considering the nature because it's one hell of a competition out there.. haha..

    anyway, like the tips.. a good one.. and oh yah.. the bus pic.. that's from ipoh right? haha.. that's the spot i always wait for buses back during school days.. =D


  8. Roger Says:
  9. Well-thought out and useful ideas. KL's cleanliness has improved tremendously and alongside its beautification initiatives the capital is attractive. The provision of more dust bins should help.

  10. shloke Says:
  11. kenwooi

    Thanks! Welcome back to my photo & travel blog :)

    I have to say it again....KL-lites do not have the right attitude when in comes to cleanliness. We can keep our house squeaky clean...but can we do the same for our beloved KL City?

    Yep, the picture was taken in Ipoh. Whoah! Ken you have eagle eyes!


    I agree with you. But, the cleanliness and beautification campaigns usually limited to Golden Triangle in KL. We need an overall greening and cleaning in all parts of KL. Just look at KL river - one word to sum it all = REVOLTING!

    We need more dust bin and civic-minded people

    Cheers to all!

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Traveling & photography are the most rewarding & enriching experiences in my life. Photography is all about discovery, enjoying myself, having adventure, learning people & nature. The greatest experience for me is the connection I felt with NATURE. If you haven’t seen Malaysia, you haven’t seen the world! My photography works are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.
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