Group warns of Gurney Wharf’s potential environmental impact

The new Gurney Wharf seafront unveiled by the Penang government has the potential to cause a devastating environmental impact elsewhere, according to the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM).

In a statement released today, CAP president SM Mohamed Idris welcomed the rehabilitation of the Gurney Drive foreshore and creation of parks for more greenery but queried the means.

“Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn Bhd (TPD) is reclaiming an additional 131 acres along Gurney Drive for the Penang government as per its concession agreement for reclaiming land for Seri Tanjung Pinang 2,” he said.

“Sourcing of fill material, which includes sand and rocks for the reclamation, is a major issue of concern. To create a park here, you are actually causing devastating impact to the natural environment elsewhere through quarrying and sand-mining or dredging to source these fill material.”

Mohamed said that on one hand “we are greening the world” but at the same time depletion of natural resources and environmental destruction will be caused elsewhere.

“The public is also not aware of the implications of such development unless it happens in their own backyard,” he said.

Of particular concern to Mohamed was that the consequences of land reclamation were not fully understood. He said SAM had received complaints from the public that the seas on the Tanjung Bungah coast are full of mud, making it difficult to swim.

He said it was all well and good to create “pieces of artificial nature” but there was a need to understand why the foreshore of Gurney Drive became muddy in the first place.

“It was a sandy beach a few decades ago and thus the source of this problem has to be addressed first. Otherwise maintaining this artificial beach is going to be expensive,” he said.

“There is the issue of sourcing sand for the beach for many, many more years if sediment continues to build up on the foreshore.

“We want the natural beauty of Penang and not more of man-made Penang,” he said. – The Malaysian Insider

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