When you go watch the running or synchronised swimming events at the upcoming 29th SEA Games, take the bus or train.

Bring our own water container, or, at least remember to put your empty plastic water bottles in the correct recycling bin at the sporting venues.

That’s what the organising committee of the upcoming 29th SEA Games and 9th Asean Para Games urges people to do, as part of the Green Games initiatives.

People are highly encouraged to take public transport to the various venues instead of driving, with free bikes (a bicycle-sharing service) available at some places to make this workable.

In addition, each medallist in the Games will receive a seedling which will be planted at the Tropical Rainforest Living Collection Banun in Gerik, northern Perak.

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“As the Kuala Lumpur 2017 organiser, we are committed to delivering the Games in an environmentally-responsible way. We want to make a positive impact by using this platform to promote environmental protection,” said Shaiful Zahrin Subhan, chief operating officer of the Malaysia Organising Committee (Masoc).

“The KL2017 Green Initiatives include a sustainable management plan and activities which will be implemented in collaboration with key partners. We hope to inspire all stakeholders including venue owners, vendors and the public to continue their sustainable practices beyond the Games,” he said.

Kuala Lumpur 2017 (KL2017) is the brand name of the 29th SEA Games and the 9th Asean Para Games. The SEA Games will take place from Aug 19 to 30 while the Asean Para Games will be held from Sept 17 to 23. The Games will coincide with the celebration of Malaysia’s National Day as well as Malaysia Day. It will be the sixth time that Malaysia hosts the biennial games.

The five key green initiatives of KL2017

1. Energy management

The Green Initiative Committee will conduct energy audits at the main cluster venues. This is an analysis of the venues, indicating how and where energy consumption and costs can be reduced. The committee will also monitor and calculate the reduction of electricity consumption in the buildings throughout the Games.

Target: Improve energy efficiency at the venues by 15%.

2. Waste management

Recycling bins will be provided at the venues to encourage waste separation and to recover recyclable materials. Food wastes will also be processed into compost on site.

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Recycling will be promoted during the KL2017 SEA Games.

The Games will also see eco-friendly (compostable or recyclable) food and beverage packaging being used. Through this recycling programme, the aim is to minimise the volume of waste going to the landfills.

The committee is also working with hotels to collect used cooking oil to be upcycled into candles and soaps. A collaboration programme with NGOs to collect edible surplus food from the hotels for donation is also underway.

Target: Reduce waste going to landfills by 30%.

3. Transport management

Volunteers and members of the public will be encouraged to take the LRT, MRT, monorail, buses or car transport services instead of driving to the venues. This will reduce carbon emissions significantly as well as minimise traffic congestion.

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Bicycle-sharing services will connect people to the nearest MRT/LRT stations. Photo: Masoc

The committee will also partner with a company to provide free bike-sharing services to and from LRT/MRT stations for the public. This will facilitate “first mile and last mile” travel to venues from the train stations.

Athletes and officials will also use eco-friendly vehicles and adopt optimum travel plans.

Target: 30% of volunteers and spectators to travel by public transport.

4. Outreach and engagement

Guidelines will be prepared for the sub-committees, vendors and green volunteers to adopt sustainable practices before and during the Games. Both online and mainstream media campaigns to promote recycling and use of public transport are ongoing.

There will be 1,000 volunteers from local universities trained as “green ambassadors” who will be responsible for advocating waste separation and collecting waste data.

Target: To reach all key partners engaged in the planning and implementation of the relevant green initiatives.

5. Tree Planting

After the Games, trees will be replanted in destroyed or degraded forests. These are places with high potential biodiversity conservation values in Malaysia and will be part of the KL2017 Green Initiative legacy.

Meanwhile, the “One Medal One Tree!” initiative will see every KL2017 medallist receiving a seedling which will be planted at the Tropical Rainforest Living Collection Banun in Gerik, northern Perak.

The tree planting programme aims to offset the Games’ carbon footprint and to create a collection of rare and endangered trees.

This programme will also assist in establishing a Central Forest Spine (CFS) framework which aims to link fragmented forest areas across Peninsular Malaysia. By securing the connections between different forest complexes, it would provide routes for wildlife crossings.

Target: Offset carbon footprint by contributing 6,000 seedlings for replanting at degraded forest areas.

Shaiful Zahrin urged, “We hope everyone will give full support to the KL2017 Green Initiatives by making sustainable choices, namely taking public transport instead of driving to the venues and using the free bicycle sharing service linking up to the LRT/MRT transit stations.

“You can help to reduce packaging waste by bringing your own water bottles and food containers. Please avoid littering, reduce food waste and separate waste correctly at the recycling stations.”