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‘Firefly colony will lose its light’

 | September 25, 2012

Commercial prawn farms along the Sungai Kuala Sepatang are destroying the habitat of the fireflies.

TAIPING: Prawn farms along the Sungai Kuala Sepatang may see the end of the fireflies of Kampung Dew. There are numerous prawn farms on the edge of the river, which contravenes the mandatory 50-metre buffer zone on each side of the river.

Perak Pakatan Rakyat chief Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said the waste from these farms is discharged into the river and is destroying the ecosystem. Riverine life like fish, crabs and snails are affected. The effluent is also destroying the nipah palms and the Berembang tree.

The Berembang tree (a mangrove species) is the only known habitat for fireflies.

Nizar blamed all these on Umno. He claimed the Barisan Nasional-led state government has given prawn farming licences to their cronies.

He said that the Kampung Dew villagers harvest the leaves of the Nipah palms to make attap roofing, baskets, mats and even cigarettes. The juice from the flowers is made into drinks, vinegar and its fruit can also be eaten.

He claimed that about 60 fishermen have lost their daily income as the crab and fish population had depleted because the water has been affected by the discharge from the prawn farms.

Nizar, who is also Bukit Gantang MP, said he will bring up the firefly issue in Parliament after the budget has been tabled on Friday.

Last Saturday, Nizar with PAS members, Pertubuhan Kelip-Kelip Cahaya Alam Perak (Kecap) members and NGO Persatuan Alam Sekitar Perak (PASP) visited the Kampung Dew firefly colony.

Kecap was formed by Kampung Dew villagers to manage the firefly location as a tourist destination.

Nizar told FMT that he had previously visited this firefly tourist attraction at night about three months ago and both sides of the river were lit up like a fairyland with thousands of fireflies perched on the leaves and branches of the Berembang trees.

Meanwhile, Kecap publicity bureau chairman Shukor Ishak, 43, told FMT that since 1996, there were 33 prawn farms located downstream, stretching to a total length of 12km from the Kampung Dew firefly jetty.

PASP committee member and Friends of the Earth Malaysia field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman warned the Kampung Dew firefly colony may meet the same fate as the Kampung Kuantan firefly colony in Selangor.

He said the Kampung Kuantan firely centre was once world famous but was now affected by developments in Selangor.


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