Images have emerged of the winning “masterplan” for an audacious scheme to build three artificial islands covering 4,500 acres over what are now prime fishing waters off southern Penang Island. And wait for this: the plan for the three islands has been given the corny moniker “BiodiverCity”. See the images here.
This must be a bad greenwash joke. The three islands are to be located smack in the middle of prime fishing waters for Penang, jeopardising the livelihoods of some 3,000 fisherfolk and worrying aquaculture farmers near mainland Penang. The reclamation will require extensive sand mining off the northern coast of Perak, thus affecting the livelihoods of fisherfolk there as well. The construction itself will release tons of carbon emissions.
The funny thing is the winning entry claims it will provide “4.6km of public beach”. But southern Penang Island already has more than 4.6km of pristine NATURAL coastline teeming with marine biodiversity and jungles that make for a lovely NATURAL hiking experience. And we want to damage all that for this “fantasy islands” plan? [Must read: Five things we learned about Penang’s ‘three islands’ mega project]
Reactions to the plan among concerned Penangites have been swift. Here’s a sampling:
“Fantasy islands indeed! Destroy nature’s bounty and biodiversity and call it biodiverse islands? An insult to our intelligence and a major hypocrisy! I am appalled!”
“The computer-generated design really looks like Atlantis. Dreamland.”
“The whole design look like something out of a Tron movie.”
“Destroy Penang’s natural beaches and mangroves and build MAN-MADE “NATURE”. They think they are God?”
“A lot of people are quick to assume that they know what the fishing community needs…. For a start, [many] don’t even realise that it would take decades before these reclaimed land’s topside development makes it habitable and operational. Until then, what would the fisherfolk do? To begin with, why do we even need this massive land reclamation?”
[More reactions to follow in a new post tomorrow. Stay tuned.]