LANGKAWI: Boats travelling at high speeds are posing a threat to Langkawi maintaining its Unesco geopark status, said Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) chief executive officer Tan Sri Khalid Ramli.
He said that waves created by these vessels could ruin the beaches and mangrove swamps.
The swamps are among the unique natural elements of the Langkawi archipelago that earned it the geopark status from the Paris-based Unesco on June 1, 2007.
“Experts (on geoparks) have told me to address just one issue – fast travelling boats,” he said.
Langkawi Geopark is located in the far northwestern corner of Peninsular Malaysia.
Located in Kedah, it is unique in the sense that it was formed on 99 islands that together make up the legendary Langkawi archipelago.
According to Khalid, Unesco would carry out an assessment on the island’s geopark status next month, the second after the one conducted in 2011.
Following the first evaluation, Langkawi’s membership in the Unesco Global Geoparks Network was extended by four years.
Besides preparing tourism infrastructure, Lada, being the government’s development agency in Langkawi, has also embarked on small-scale economic programmes to uplift the islanders’ livelihood.
Khalid said the initiatives were in line with the Unesco Geopark concept of community engagement to see that the people as a whole participated and benefited from the geopark status.
“We need to get the community to be more involved in tourism which is the main activity in Langkawi, earning better income that would continue to improve through the next generations,” he said.
Khalid said Lada would monitor the progress of those participating in the economic programmes and offer assistance to those who were in need. — Bernama