top of page

HOTTER THAN EVER:
A REPORT FROM MY NEIGHBOURHOOD

NYRE Written Article Competition 2023

1st place- Article

10-13 years old

Hotter Than Ever: A Report from My Neighbourhood

By Laura Arissa Nunis Binti Mohamad Azrizal 
(SK Taman Impian Emas, Johor Bahru)

It is June 2023, in Taman Impian Emas, Johor Bahru. Like some other normal days, I look outside the car to enjoy the quiet ride on my way to school. The sun is up, and it is only 7 in the morning, but from the brightness of the early sun ray, I can tell it is going to be another scorching hot day.

 

It has been about two months since the school announced that all students can wear co-curriculum shirts instead of school uniforms, which means no stuffy clothes, ties, vests and blazers. Teachers are also included and allowed to wear sports attire to work (MOE, 2023). The reason for this is to give the school community some flexibility during the extremely hot phenomenon because it can cause heat waves that may affect our health, such as heatstroke and dehydration (Sinar Harian, 2023).  

We know that Malaysia is a tropical country that is humid and hot all year round, with temperatures during the daytime ranging from 27 to 32 degrees Celsius (MET Malaysia, 2022). However, the extremely hot phenomenon can record daytime temperatures from 35 to 40 degrees Celsius (Sunil, 2023). Additionally, the forthcoming El Nino phenomenon is expected to continually cause this year’s high heat to last the longest time ever.

And so, while observing the scenery around my neighbourhood, I notice some things that might be contributing to the unusually hot weather we have been experiencing lately. For that, I wanted to share my observations in this article. 

Laura 1.png

Photo 1: Greeneries have to go for new residential (Source: Google Map, 2023; Impianemas, 2023)

The Cause: Extensive Residential Development


Taman Impian Emas is a peaceful and fast-growing township in Johor Bahru. This place has changed a lot and grown bigger, making it an attractive place for people to live. There have been a lot of new houses built in the area to offer to more people from different backgrounds. And this is the issue that I found worsening the effects of extremely hot weather. 
As the development expands, they replace greeneries such as trees and woods with buildings and roads. These greeneries are super important because they help cool the environment by giving shade, letting out moisture through evaporation, and stopping heat from being absorbed. When there are no natural ways to cool down, heat waves can get really bad, especially in places where many people live.

At the same time, all these new houses they are building are making it way hotter in this area. It is because the material they use to build houses, like glass and metal, allows the heat to be absorbed and kept for a long time. And with not much greeneries in the area, the buildings and roads that are made of heat trap materials make the heatwaves even hotter. So naturally, the surrounding temperature is increased. This situation is called the urban heat island effect (NST, 2021).
Moreover, when there are more people living in an area, each household tends to use more energy. For example, when it gets hot outside, we will turn on the air-conditioner for a longer time. This makes the air-conditioner releases more heat into the air. That is why the environment gets even hotter, especially during heat waves.

Laura 2.png

Photo 2: Heat trap materials in construction can cause urban heat island effect (Source: Impianemas, 2023)

Laura 3.png

Photo 3: Garden at the home concept (Source: Facebook - Taman Impian Emas, 2020)

Since the extremely hot weather is a global issue, we cannot entirely prevent it from happening. But we can reduce the effects by taking care of our neighbourhoods in an eco-friendly way.

The housing developer must know how green building standards and sustainable building methods are used to build residential buildings. This includes designing houses using the ‘passive house’ concept to make the house itself a solution to environmental challenges (The Edge Malaysia, 2022). The house is positioned to keep it out of direct sunlight and ensure the house’s layout is set up to let air flow and cool it down. Subsequently, we do not need to install air-conditioners in every room in the house. 

Also, the developer and community can work together to get residents to care more about the environment through educational activities. For example, organize talks, seminars, and awareness programs to teach residents about sustainable practices, reducing trash, saving energy, and preserving biodiversity. Most importantly, we must promote the use of eco-smart home appliances and encourage residents to start a garden at home.

The Remedy: Sustainable Township

From my observation, I learned that the developer of Taman Impian Emas has shown efforts to make this neighbourhood into a green township. They build green spaces like parks, gardens, and natural places. These green spaces provide recreational opportunities, support biodiversity, improve air quality, and reduce the urban heat island effect. The developer is also active in replanting trees in the development areas. This kind of green effort should be made a mandatory practice for every developer company in Malaysia.

Conclusion

It is important for us to take care of our neighbourhood. We live, work, and play in our neighbourhoods, and they directly affect our well-being and the wellness of the world. As a developing country, we cannot say no to development. But it is important to know how to deal with environmental problems alongside development. 

Developers can improve environmental protection and resident satisfaction by focusing on sustainable approaches to their buildings. It includes efforts such as using energy-saving appliances and eco-friendly materials and promoting sustainable practices in the community. Developers can also create and maintain parks and other green areas within the neighbourhood. It will help protect natural habitats, increase biodiversity, and provide residents with a place for recreational activities.

As for Taman Impian Emas, it is an example of a sustainable township that improves the quality of life for its residents. However, they must stay alert to green practices and set standards for the next generation of city planners. I am rooting for more developers in the country to join towards creating environmentally friendly neighbourhoods.

(974 words, exclude title and photo captions)

References

bottom of page