PRESS STATEMENT 30 SEPTEMBER 2014
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Penang State Government to probe who has been felling mangrove trees in Sungai Tembus near Penaga in the district of Seberang Perai Utara (SPU).
SAM’s survey here found signs of clear-felling of mangrove trees in the forest and we are unsure of the reason for this destruction.
SAM is surprised because prior to this felling of mangrove trees, SAM and the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) had strongly opposed the proposal for aquaculture development covering 204 hectares involving the mangrove forests in this area.
To date, SAM and also local residents who are predominantly fisherfolk do not know the status of the proposed project. Thus we are astounded as to why the mangrove forests here are being felled indiscriminately.
Previously SAM got to know that the proposed aquaculture development project has not yet received approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Hence we question who is clearing the mangrove forest here and for what reason.
SAM requests the state government and the local authority to disclose findings of their investigations and the latest status of the proposed aquaculture project in the area.
SAM and CAP will continue to object to the aquaculture project planned in this area because it can be disastrous to the environment due to the destruction of the mangrove forests and would subsequently threaten marine life and jeopardize the livelihood of nearly 1,000 fishers here.
The project could also cause coastal erosion, affect nearby fishing villages, affect neighbouring agricultural land and the exposed area will be threatened by storms, strong winds and the aftermath of tsunami would be more severe.
What is happening in Sungai Chenaam in Seberang Prai Selatan (SPS) and Balik Pulau, Penang prove that aquaculture projects also contribute to pollution.
Thus SAM hopes that the state government will seriously consider the environmental and socio-economic problems associated with aquaculture development and hence cancel the aquaculture project planned in Penaga.