Greening the Campus: IIUM’s Carbon-Cutting Journey

By, Mas Danialissa 

GOMBAK, 9 May 2024: According to Gendre’s 2023 blog post, carbon emissions are composed of carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas that absorbs heat. Greenhouse gases are substances that retain solar heat in the earth’s atmosphere and are classified as heat-trapping gases. Over time, this results in an increase of the mean temperature of the earth’s atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the earth’s atmosphere through various pathways, including the combustion of fossil fuels (e.g., natural gas, coal, and oil), the breakdown of solid waste, forest clearing, and chemical reactions occurring during manufacturing processes, mentioned Gendre. Indeed, carbon dioxide does not constitute the sole greenhouse gas (GHG) there are other gases such as fluorinated gases, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxides that are also significant contributors to climate change. 

GHG emissions comprise the entirety of these gases that capture heat. In this regard, university students can contribute to Malaysia’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions up to 45 percent by 2030 to combat the threat of climate change and global issues, mentioned Susskind et al. in their 2020 research article.

According to IIUM academics, Najib and Hamsa in their 2021 research article, that highlighted several factors that might contribute to the high rate of carbon emissions at the IIUM, including the favoured transportation choices like motorcars and motorcycles, which result in an accelerating number of vehicles by staff and students, and traffic jams during peak hours, follwoed by increased noise and air pollution, and insufficient parking spaces.  

According to Ismail et al.’s 2012 research article, the number of registered cars on IIUM campus had soared by 1.8 percent per year from 2007 to 2010, while the allocation of car stickers climbed by 27 percent from 2017 to 2018, reported IIUM’s Office of Security Management (OSEM) in 2019. The main concern regarding transportation at the IIUM was the infinite number of vehicles entering the campus and the lower rates of cycling, mentioned Najib & Hamsa. 

Initially, the IIUM took the initiative by promoting the use of bicycles as a travel mode on Gombak campus. It was expected to bring more pros for the community as it can reduce carbon emissions, and improve health, according to the Transportation and Parking Service office of the University of Western Australia, in 2016.

At the IIUM, the bicycle is not the mainstay of commuting planning outlined in policies and projects due to a few issues, reported Najib & Hamsa. There was the lack of convenient infrastructure as the cyclists needed to share the traffic lanes with motorized transport without clear safety precautions and regulations in place. It would be normal for students to feel unsafe riding bicycles on campus.  

Moreover, they needed to pass long distances since the main road in the IIUM was a one-way lane and there no specific road for bicycles at the time nor was any appropriate parking for bicycles. As a result, the students had to lock their bicycles by latching them onto the poles of street lamps and trees to secure their bicycles, wrote Najib & Hamsa.

In 2017, the IIUM Gombak campus introduced Malaysia’s first dockless bike hiring system, O-Bike. The distribution of O-Bikes at bus depots and other accessible spots on campus was to help students reach their destinations within the IIUM by using a greener form of transport. It was another approach adopted by the IIUM to promote a green environment and reduce carbon dioxide, mentioned Najib & Hamsa. Nevertheless, the initiative failed because the bikes took over the parking lots designated for motorcycles and the disabled person’s parking spaces.  

Following the unsuccessful launch of the O-Bike, the IIUM community now has access to UNiRIDE, a dockless bike hiring system. UNiRIDE and O-Bike use digital authentication codes to lock and unlock the bicycles, leveraging on current technology and operations, said Najib & Hamsa. These emphasized the implementation of Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) at the IIUM. Walking and cycling are cost-effective and environmentally benign modes of transportation, making it wonderful inventions to promote.  

On August 1, 2020, the IIUM ISTAC management office issued a vehicle sticker requirement for every automobile accessing the ISTAC-IIUM campus. Vehicles without one are not permitted to be parked on campus. The freshly designed car stickers for IIUM staff, vendors, businesses, and temporary employees were made available from January 2023 onwards at the One Stop Center of OSEM in Gombak, as well as OSEM offices on other campuses. A sticker costs RM10 for vehicles, trucks, and minivans, and RM5 for motorcyclists. This initiative is mainly for reducing carbon emissions.

In 2024, OSEM and the Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design (KAED) are collaborating to encourage the IIUM students and the whole community to use bicycles and micromobility devices on campus. Besides, the IIUM has formed two new lanes for non-motorized users.

Figure 1 shows an example of a bicycle path. Bicycle paths are segregated from lanes for motorized traffic through the use of a wide path or barrier. The second is a bicylce lane (Figure 2). It is part of the bicycle-only lane that is marked with signs or pavement markings. Figure 3 depicts a shared road for bicycles and motor vehicles. Designing bicycle lanes requires considering numerous elements. According to Litman’s 2009 article, bicycle paths should prioritize safety, security, pathfinding, continuity, attractiveness, flow, and universal design. 

Figure 1 Example of a bicycle path
Source: Windsor Star
Figure 2 Example of a bicycle lane
Source: WTTW News
Figure 3 Example of shared roadway
Source: National Association of City Transportation

The implication of the new road is inspired by Western countries; thus, this might be new to local students. Nevertheless, all stakeholders should learn to adapt with the new road regulations to ensure a safe culture and to reduce carbon emissions at the IIUM. For further information, readers can refer to the links provided:,, and ***