Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) expressed concern over the encroachment and destruction of the Sepetang River reserve in the Kerian and Larut Matang and Selama districts in Perak, which is still being carried out by irresponsible parties.
SAM’s recent survey with several committee members of Persatuan Kelip-Kelip Kampung Dew, Taiping found that an estimated 6 hectares of the Sepetang River reserve covered by Nipah (Nypa Fruticans) and Berembang (Sonneratia Caseolaris) trees have been felled.
The felling of these trees and destruction of forest at the Sepetang River reserve can have a negative impact on the river ecosystem, especially the fireflies and aquatic life mainly lobsters.
In addition, these destructive activities at the Sepetang River reserve can cause erosion of the river bank here as the trees that function as a natural fortifier have been felled.
On September 10, SAM received further complaints that the encroachment and destructive activities at the Sepetang River reserve still occurred despite the fact that the Kerian District and Land Office had conducted surveillance and issued a warning.
A proposal to establish a Permanent Reserved Forest here, known as Hutan Simpan Kelip-Kelip (HS Kelip-Kelip) covering 152.98 hectares was agreed in principle by the State Authority on 6 November 2013 but has yet to be gazetted till now.
The question is what are the barriers and constraints hindering the proposed forest reserve from being gazetted.
SAM hopes that the State Authority expedites the gazettement of the mangrove forest along the Sepetang River as a Permanent Reserved Forest so that the natural habitat along this river is protected and well managed.
S.M. Mohamed Idris