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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Gazette Bukit Sekilau as a green lung

Persatuan Gelombang Hijau wants all deforestation and quarrying activities at Bukit Sekilau in Kuantan halted immediately.
COMMENT
6ae19d37-769f-44d9-898b-620ff512dc91By Yap Swee Seng
Gelombang Hijau Association is shocked at the rapid deforestation and quarry activities taking place at Bukit Sekilau and calls on the government to immediately halt all deforestation and quarrying activities there.
Gelombang Hijau urges the state government to gazette Bukit Sekilau as a permanent forest reserve and green lung for Kuantan residents.
We are concerned that the quarrying activities at Bukit Sekilau is not only impacting the environment of Kuantan negatively, but also poses noise and air pollution as well as road hazards for neighbourhoods in the vicinity, with explosions taking place at the site and huge lorries ferrying stone out of the site.
We are of the view that such quarrying activities are too dangerous to the local community as the site is too close to the surrounding residential areas of Bukit Sekilau. Such projects in a city area should not have been approved in the first place.
We call on the state government to provide a public explanation to the residents in Kuantan as to how such activities could be approved and whether the approval was done in accordance with the law.
Members of Gelombang Hijau who visited the site did not find any notice board erected there to give information on the project that is ongoing.
According to the information provided by assemblyman Lee Chean Chung, the project in Bukit Sekilau covers two lots of land totalling 26,887 square metres.
It was leased to a private company on December 2, 2011 by the state government for housing, a sewerage plant, surau and public purposes.
YB Lee also revealed that the company was granted a license from the police to use explosives at the site and a license from the land office for the transportation of stone.
We call on the Menteri Besar of Pahang to clarify several issues of public concern as below:
  • If the land is approved for housing, a sewerage plant and surau, why are quarrying activities going on at the site? Is the company deviating from the original approved purpose of the use of the land?
  • Does the company operating at the site have a license to conduct quarrying there? Which company was given this project? For the transportation of stone, this should have been licensed by the Transport Ministry and not Land Office. Did this company get its license from the Transport Ministry for the transportation of stones?
  • According to the Guidelines for Siting and Zoning of Industry and Residential Areas by the Department of Environment, the site of the quarry should have a buffer zone of at least 500 metres from residential areas. Has this project complied with this regulation?
  • Did the government conduct any study on the suitability of this site for quarrying activities, given that such activities will surely result in noise pollution and air pollution due to the explosions and transportation of stones?
Kuantan is already prone to flash floods. We fear that with the deforestation of Bukit Sekilau, Kuantan will face more flash floods in the future during heavy rainfall and massive floods such as those in 2013 will occur again and affect the livelihoods of thousands of people.
Yap Swee Seng is Secretary-General of Persatuan Gelombang Hijau. -FMT

1 comment:

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