KUALA TERENGGANU: Several improvements will be made to avoid damage to the scenic beauty of Pulau Kapas with the recent influx in tourist arrivals.
State tourism, culture and information technology committee chairman Ariffin Deraman said among others, more rubbish bins would be provided and signage put up to remind the public of the need to maintain cleanliness on the island.
“The state government is aware that the number of visitors, particularly for day-trip packages, has increased significantly since July.
“This is beyond our expectations and has exceeded the carrying capacity of the island, thus raising concerns among many quarters on issues such as indiscriminate garbage dumping, coral reefs destruction and damage to the island’s natural beauty, ” he noted.
He said nature lovers were calling on the Terengganu government to take necessary measures to address the problem of rubbish on the island as it caused damage to the coral reefs.
In thanking netizens for their ideas and constructive criticisms, Ariffin said the state government had no plans to restrict the arrival of tourists on the island.
Instead, he said, efforts would be made to improve and provide more infrastructural facilities on Pulau Kapas.
He said Marang District Office and the local council were conducting a detailed study to ensure the influx of tourists did not harm the island.
“Several measures have been taken, including by the Marine Parks Department which is monitoring the situation to ensure that boats bringing passengers on day trips to the island do not operate earlier than 8am, ” he added.
Pulau Kapas is popular among tourists because of its close proximity to the mainland, which is about 15 minutes boat ride, compared to other resort islands which take between 30 and 45 minutes.
Although it is closer to the mainland, the beauty of its coral reefs is comparable to those boasted by other resort islands in Terengganu where divers can see marine creatures such as the colourful Nemo clownfish and turtles.
Pulau Kapas also offers affordable tour packages, especially the day-trip package which is suitable for family picnics or with friends.
Based on records, about 42,000 tourists visited the island every month since the recovery movement control order.
Marang district officer Tun Ahmad Faisal Tun Abdul Razak said more mega gotong-royong activities and cleanliness campaigns would be conducted on the island.
“We hold gotong-royong activities frequently on Pulau Kapas, and it will be intensified with the participation of the local community as well as tourists to instil a sense of responsibility in maintaining the island’s cleanliness, ” he said, adding that a new public toilet was also being built on the island. — Bernama
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