Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) objects to a proposed development project in Kampung Tengku Laksamana and Kampung Sematang Tepi Laut, Kuala Kedah because it is causing destruction of the mangrove forests here.
The future project will also affect the source of livelihood of 200 traditional fishermen and threaten the environment in this area. It is reported in a news article that the local authority, Alor Setar City Council, has approved land clearing and reclamation for a condominium development project in the coastline near Kampung Tengku Laksamana.
In a survey conducted by SAM, we found that at least five hectares of mangroves fringing the two villages have been felled and land reclamation works had begun.
But surprisingly there is no construction project identification signboard although villagers claim that work had started last year.
SAM was informed that following the destruction of the mangroves here, fishermen’s catch had decreased to 50%. Fish, prawns, crabs, clams and cockles that were the main catch for fishermen had dwindled and are threatened with extinction.
In addition to affecting the source of income of local fishermen, SAM is concerned that the impact of mangroves destruction will include coastal erosion and susceptible to damaging effects in the case of a tsunami.
SAM is disappointed that the objections by the villagers have not been given considerable attention and action has yet to be taken to resolve their predicaments.
SAM urges the Kedah government and local authority to take immediate action to stop the land reclamation and halt the mangroves felling here.
If the development project is continued, SAM believes that the remaining 300 hectares of mangroves here and the lives of 130 families in these two villages will be seriously threatened.