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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Planting mangroves sapling in memories of victims


(From left) Saaban Zainul, Abdullah Salleh, Meor Razak Abdul Rahman, Mohd Jamil Jahaya and Perak Jaring chairman Hashim Abdullah planting the saplings at Kampung Gula.


KUALA GULA: Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) together with the West Coast Fishermen's Action Network and the Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association organised a mangrove replanting exercise recently to remember the 68 victims who died in the 2004 tsunami.

In collaboration with the Peninsular Malaysia Forestry Department and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, about 6,000 mangrove saplings were planted at seven locations in the country.

The locations were Pontian in Johor, Manjung and Kuala Kurau (Perak), Seberang Perai Selatan, Langkawi, Kerpan and Merbok (Kedah) with the help of fishermen and the local communities.


SAM's representative Meor Razak Abdul Rahman said one of the lessons from the tsunami was that areas covered with mangroves and other tree species acted as natural buffer zone against high waves.

Following the tsunami, the government initiated a planting programme involving mangroves and other suitable species along national coastlines.

"This programme focuses not only on tsunami-hit areas but also covers other states as well," he said.


Our focus is on rehabilitating and conserving designated coastline areas.

The country's coastline spans more than 4,600km.

"We have identified the high-risk areas and it is included in the programme. These are besides Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor which were the five tsunami-affected states," he told the Northern Streets when met at the replanting exercise in Kuala Kurau, recently.


Between 2005 and last year, Meor said five million mangrove saplings were planted at 290 sites covering an area of 1,819ha nationwide under the government's programme.

He said besides natural challenges such as soil condition, weather, water level and tidal flow and plant survivability, the preservation of mangrove forest also face challenges due to land tenure ownership, unplanned land development, pests and diseases, vandalism and pollution.

"We are continuously organising campaigns to increase awareness on importance of coastline conservation besides getting more people engaged in conservation works," he said.

Meor said besides stabilising buffer zones against strong waves and erosions the replanting programme had benefited and protected approximately 60 villages along the coastlines.

"The mangrove riverine system also provides fish, shrimps, cockles and crabs which the villagers depend on to earn their living," said Meor, adding that the coastal dwellers, locals and other members of the public are continuously encouraged to participate in tree-planting activities carried out by SAM and its partners.

Source: New Straits Times

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