This video has started circulating on social media, as if to say, “We are watching you!” It looks as if work on the land reclamation off Gurney Drive and Straits Quay is going full steam ahead despite yesterday’s serious incident.
This was what the sea off Straits Quay looked like yesterday morning, hours before a video emerged of a barge with an excavator on it overturning.
Despite the strong waves, a boats with workers on board was seen heading off to sea at 9.15am yesterday, according to an eyewitness who happened to be at Straits Quay. “I was just talking to one of the workers (yesterday) morning and asked him, isn’t it so unsafe to go out in the rough weather?”
So far, we haven’t heard a squeak from the authorities about the condition of the excavator operator, who was responsible for this incident and what action will be taken.
It was only recently that the state government removed BUCG from Consortium Zenith BUCG because of a crane accident that killed a woman in KL.
In this incident in Penang, the excavator operator was apparently rescued – but he could have so easily perished.
There is a bigger tragedy here than just a barge overturning, and that is, the tragedy of the commons. In this case and in other land reclamation projects in Malaysia, what we are seeing is the gobbling up of an unregulated shared resource, the sea, mostly for private profit.
And this is accompanied by the ‘commonisation’ of negative costs – in this case, the damage to marine life, fisheries and food security – which are borne by the public.
The Tragedy of the Commons, according to Wikipedia:
The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting that resource through their collective action.
The concept and name originate in an essay written in 1833 by the Victorian economist William Forster Lloyd, who used a hypothetical example of the effects of unregulated grazing on common land (then colloquially called “the commons”) in the British Isles. The concept became widely known over a century later due to an article written by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in 1968. In this context, commons is taken to mean any shared and unregulated resource such as atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, or even an office refrigerator.
The tragedy of the commons is often cited in connection with sustainable development, meshing economic growth and environmental protection, as well as in the debate over global warming.