IPOH: Villagers in Segari here are shocked after discovering a site being cleared for prawn farming in Manjung.
Ismail Ibrahim, 54, said he noticed heavy machinery carrying out clearing work at the site near Sungai Segari on Tuesday (Jan 26).
"We just planted about 7,000 mangrove trees about two weeks ago, together with other villagers and volunteers.
"We visited the place again to monitor the trees and we saw a large excavator entering the area and destroying everything we planted," he told The Star on Saturday (Jan 30).
Ismail said he quickly contacted Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) to inform them about the situation.
He said that they were told that the land allegedly belongs to the Perak State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC).
"A few officers from SADC visited the area the next day," he said, adding that the officers instructed the excavator driver to stop operating.
He said despite receiving the order, clearing works continued until Friday (Jan 29).
"We worked so hard to plant the mangrove trees and no words can describe the pain to see it destroyed.
"Sungai Segari is already being polluted by the farms and this is our last chance to restore the river ecosystem. Now, we do not know what will happen to this river," he said.
In October last year, fishermen in Segari claimed that their livelihoods were affected due to an aquaculture farm polluting the river.
Kuasa vice-chairman Noor Ismady Ahmad Radzuan said he was told that clearing was conducted without permission.
"Under the Perak Greenprint programme, together with the state government, Kuasa and the villagers are planting mangrove trees in the area.
"We had earlier submitted a letter to the land office informing them about the planting programme but it seemed like the office did not receive our submission," he said.
Noor Ismady said together with the villagers and officers from SADC and the land office, they visited the area on Friday.
He said SADC needed to check aquaculture farms at the river as it may have violated several environmental rules.
"Since the land belongs to SADC, we hope there will be an immediate inspection conducted at all aquaculture farms along Sungai Segari up until Changkat Kruing.
"We believe they have violated the buffer zone area that could destroy the ecosystem in Sungai Segari," he said.
It was reported last week that Kuasa was shocked after discovering that a once-pristine waterfall in Tanjung Batu waterfall in Segari had suffered environmental damage due to quarry activities conducted around the area.