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Thursday August 4, 2011

Mangrove land ravaged

ABOUT 95% of mangrove swamp land along the coastal area in Selangor belong to individuals.

Selangor Forestry Department assistant director (operations and enforcement) Mohd Yussainy Md Yusop said the mangrove swamps stretched from Sabak Bernam right up to Sepang.

“The department only looks after the land which comes under the forest reserve and the rest is managed by the respective land offices.

Tumbling down: Mangrove trees that were cut at the swamp area in Sepang.

“The owners are not supposed to burn or cut the mangrove trees on their land,” he said.

He added that the department did not have the authority to do anything if the owners chopped down the mangrove trees or cleared the land.

“It is sad that natural resources like mangrove swamps are given away to individuals. Mangrove areas should be protected instead of being developed.

“If a tsunami hits the Selangor coast, the mangrove swamps will act as a protective barrier against the huge waves.

“Even the eco-system at the mangrove swamp helps fishermen as it acts as a breeding ground for fish,’’ said Yussainy after visiting a clearing of mangrove swamp in Sepang on Tuesday.

Barren land: Selangor State Forestry Department officers looking at a map of the area at the site where the mangrove swamp has been cleared.

StarMetro received complaints from environmentalists on the clearing of the land that occurred a few months ago.

A fisherman, who wants to be known only as Ismail, said he knew the individuals who owned the land.

“They are high profile people, including one who is a Datuk,” he said.

He added that the Kuala Langat District Council had planned to develop the area.

The Kuala Langat land office had given out 12 lots to individuals more than three years ago.

State Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said she needed to see the evidence before deciding on the next course of action.

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