Thursday, August 2, 2007

seahorse conservation

SOS to save Sungai Pulai estuary

By : R. Sittamparam

NST Thursday 2 August 2007

Seahorses at the Sungai Pulai estuary are under threat from development.

PONTIAN: "The marine world needs friends — don’t let development destroy the Sungai Pulai estuary. I’ve been there and seen the seahorses."

This plea from Sara Lourie of Canada echoes the feelings of more than 500 people worldwide who responded to a campaign by local environmentalists to save the estuary.

The online petition by Save Our Seahorses (SOS) action committee has collected more than 500 signatures in a bid to stop a local company from building a chemical industries estate at the estuary.

The estate, to be built on 913ha of cleared mangrove land, will house heavy industries producing plastic, paints, pesticides and chemical products.

There will also be a chemical incinerator and facilities to process toxic and hazardous waste.

SOS action committee chairman, Choo Chee Kuang said response to the petition was overwhelming and he was confident that in a couple of days, SOS would reach its target of collecting 5,000 signatures.

"We want the Department of Environment to review a Comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (CEIA) report done by a consultant for the development of the estate.

"We feel the CEIA does not adequately assess the consequences of having such hazardous industries in an ecologically sensitive area like the Sungai Pulai estuary."

SOS’ petition at /help-save-the-seahorse since its posting on Monday evening, has seen a stream of responses from as far as Romania.

Elena Gageanu from Romania says: "Let’s not wonder anymore about the cause of floods, earthquakes, tsu-namis, dry climate, rising temperatures and maladies happening lately... Continuing the destruction of ecosystems such as the Sungai Pulai estuary will only lead to our own extinction!"

Jarina Mohd Jani from the United Kingdom said: "I had the opportunity to discover the wonders of the giant seagrass bed at the Sungai Pulai estuary and am devastated to hear that the proposed development would destroy it. Hope the decision makers would reconsider."

The local response was also loud and clear with A. Thiruchelvam saying: "Let’s not destroy everything in the name of development as our children and grandchildren will ultimately pay for our greed."

The federal and state Department of Environment have remained silent on the matter.

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