MNS: Road project to affect Sepang mangroves

A monitor lizard in the mangroves in Sepang.

A monitor lizard in the mangroves in Sepang.

A CLUSTER of mangroves that play a critical role in the ecosystem and Sepang district’s oldest historical buildings are to be destroyed to make way for a 6.1km four-lane highway project.

The project by Selangor Public Works Department (JKR) is said to not affect the existing road system. However, it looks like it will have a significant impact on the mangrove ecosystem.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) executive director I.S. Shanmugaraj Subramaniam said mangroves protect the coast against erosion and flooding due to wind, waves and water currents, and protect against siltation as well as absorb pollutants.

“They also host a number of threatened or endangered species that offer nutrients to the marine food web,” he said, adding that it also provided spawning grounds to varieties of fish and shellfish which the fisheries industries and local communities relied on as sources of income.

Once destroyed or removed, he said the ecosystem such as the one in Sungai Sepang Besar cannot be rebuilt.

“Mangrove ecosystem serve as a carbon sink, storing more carbon than they release. If the highway project continues, there will be a huge impact and this shows that there is in reality, no respect for the environment,” he added.

Also to be destroyed as part of the project is Sepang’s District Office Administrative Centre which was built in 1892 and today serves as MNS’s Environmental Interpretive Centre focussing on the conservation of mangroves and the Sepang rivers while promoting environment and nature based programmes.

“Since 2009, almost 18,000 mangrove trees have been planted in the area with the support of 56 corporate companies, six universities and 15 schools around the Sepang area,” added Shanmugaraj.