This brilliant photo by Jonathan Dexter shows dolphins having a good time in Langkawi – and in a way, highlights the importance of protecting our coastal waters for future generations.
Here’s a close-up:
Until quite recently, dolphins used to make periodic appearances in Penang as they frolicked in the waters to the delight of those privileged enough to see them.
This is from a few years ago:
But the sightings have become few and far between now, if at all. It has been a while since we last saw these loveable creatures in the waters off Penang.
Meanwhile, heavy machinery is carrying out massive reclamation along the northeastern, eastern and southwestern shores, disturbing our panaromic coastlines and churning up the water and sand.
All this is paving the way for the big one: the massive three islands project, spanning 4,500 acres off the southern coast of Penang Island.
There’s more trouble off the northern coast of Penang Island:
Check out this statement by TBRA:
TBRA calls for urgent action to stop metal pollution in Penang’s north coast seas
The Tanjung Bungah Residents’ Association is alarmed and expresses deep concern over the findings of very high levels of heavy metals in the sea waters off Tanjung Bungah as well as the Penang National Park in Teluk Bahang.
According to a report in the media on 11 May, very high levels of nickel have been found with concentrations as high as 944% higher than normal levels in the sea off the Penang National Park.
According to studies done by Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (Cemac), high levels of lead were also found (184% above normal levels) while cadmium was 32% higher than normal.
These findings are alarming and have been found along the island’s north coast since last month and may be causing the death to marine life, according to Professor Aileen Tan of Cemacs.
According to media reports, Prof Tan has alerted the authorities, including the Department of Environment and the Fisheries Department over the findings but the source of the pollution has not been determined.
Since no industrial activity and development is allowed in the Penang National Park, Prof Tan is quoted as saying that “the only logical explanation for this pollution is that passing ships could be dumping something”, which may have been going on for some time now, given the high levels of the metals.
TBRA echoes the concerns raised by Cemacs and we call on the Penang state government to convene an emergency task force with all the relevant authorities involved, to address the source of the heavy metal pollution and take all necessary measures to stop the pollution, including alerting and warning the public about the dangers of swimming in such waters.
The north coast seas of Teluk Bahang and Tanjung Bungah are popular swimming sites for both local and foreign tourists. The public is totally in the dark about the pollution.
Nickel, cadmium and lead are highly toxic heavy metals and are dangerous to humans and marine life, and it is indeed worrying that no action appears to have been taken thus far, despite the high levels of pollution found.
The federal and state authorities must act urgently to stop the pollution of our seas and safeguard and protect both public health and the destruction of the marine life.
Meena Raman is chairperson of the Tanjung Bungah Residents’ Association.
In our quest for so-called ‘development’ at all costs in this Endgame, are we not losing something precious?