CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Barely a day after 7.28ha of land here was found to be illegally cleared, another new site has opened up.
This illegally cleared site, at the top of a hillock, is within a water catchment area serving some 30,000 people in Tanah Rata and Kg Raja.
While the water intake point and plant are fenced, those responsible for the clearing could access the area by cars.
“Even then, that’s a big hole in the fence,” said Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach) president R. Ramakrishnan.
Evidence of the site was captured using video mounted on a remote control device sent up by a monitoring team from Reach.
Screen captures of the video showed two bare patches of brown atop a dense forested area, which is itself surrounded by tracts of farm land.
Ramakrishnan said their team discovered the new illegally cleared site on Sunday.
He said he had yet to inform the land office of this new find.
“Any clearing in a water catchment area is illegal.
“Last weekend, we noticed the bare patches of land when there was none before.
“Sure enough, when we checked, we found the site,” he said, adding that when he was last in that area two weeks ago, there was no clearing.
It was likely that the land was being illegally cleared for agriculture.
“From the video, it’s difficult to assess the size of the clearing involved,” he said.
Ramakrishnan said that in the past three months, there had been increased cases of illegal land clearing, adding that his team was stumbling upon one almost every two weeks.
“Since the first phase of Ops Gading ended last year, the culprits have come back,” he said.
The second phase of Ops Gading started on March 3 and will end on July 30.
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