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  Straits Times 29 Sep 07
Illegal prawn farms killing mangroves in forest reserve

PANTAI REMIS (PERAK) - ILLEGAL prawn farms are believed to be causing mangroves to die at the Tanjung Burung forest reserve in Perak.

According to a source, sludge from three illegal farms had caused the mangroves to dry up over the years.

The construction of a bund or embankment along the coastline at the farms has also stopped the flow of seawater into the swamps, which is needed for the survival of the mangroves.

However, state Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director Abdul Razak Dahalan said the DID had nothing to do with the construction of any bund in the area. A source said the farms had been operating illegally there for years.

'It is highly likely that the farms are the ones causing the mangroves to die,' said the source, adding that the dying mangroves were within a 400m buffer zone that borders the open sea and Kampung Sungai Batu, a village in the vicinity.

A check at the site revealed that mangroves along a stretch of at least a kilometre along the coastline have already died.

A drain has been dug along the border of the forest reserve. Perak Environment Association secretary Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said the drain had caused water from the mangrove swamp to seep out.

Kampung Sungai Batu villagers are afraid that the dead mangroves would leave them unprotected in the event of a tsunami.

'The last tsunami affected our village. The waves destroyed our boats and our jetty at Sungai Batu,' said villager Ramli Ariffin, 56.


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