Mangrove forest in Kilim Geo Park under threat

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By S M Mohamed Idris

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Forestry Department of Kedah and the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) to pay serious attention and take immediate steps to protect and save the mangrove forest in the Kilim Geo Park in Langkawi Island from devastation.

The Kilim Geo Park covering an area of 100 square kilometres is a nature reserve with amazing flora and fauna including limestone, fossils, caves, lagoons, beaches and panoramic sea views.

However, a survey conducted by SAM found that the natural environment in this area, for example the mangroves, is being threatened by tourist boat activities and pollution due to littering.

The use of engines above 200-horsepower (hp) through the Kilim River by the boatmen is a concern because it threatens the area’s natural environment and disturbs the peace of the natural surroundings due to the loud noise.

SAM found that the tour boatmen speed through the river although there is signage at the riverbank cautioning them to slow down. The speed of the boat causes huge waves to lash onto the mangrove forests along the river, leading to our nature’s treasure being battered and the mangrove trees uprooted.

SAM proposes that the tour boat operators are only allowed to use boat engines of 60hp or less when operating in this area. This measure can reduce the adverse effects on the environment here.

The mangrove forest is also polluted with garbage, plastic, empty bottles and other waste. SAM believes that if the problem is not curtailed it will contaminate not only the Kilim River, but also threaten marine life found in these waters.

SAM calls on the Kedah Forestry Department, LADA and the Langkawi Municipal Council (MPL) to be more stringent in enforcing the law in order to curb this situation. Action must be taken against those who pollute the natural environment of the area.

SAM is dismayed that the state of the environment in Pulau Langkawi in recent years has declined due to the implementation of development projects that do not seriously consider the environment, cleanliness of the river, the sea and the importance of forests.

S M Mohamed Idris is president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM).

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