WWF-Malaysia Urges Setting Up of a Central Management Committee to Address the Pollution Problem in Kinabatangan
Hailed as a corridor of life, the Kinabatangan area is identified as home to more than 250 bird species, 50 mammal species, 20 reptile species, 1,056 plant species and several world-renowned conservation sites such as the Lower Kinabatangan - Segama Wetlands Ramsar Site. However, the area is now getting a name for its decline in water quality mainly due to pollution. Palm oil mills and oil palm plantations located in the area are said to be the main culprits.
WWF-Malaysia is of the view that it is now timely to put in place a strong institution to act as the lead body in protecting the biodiversity of Kinabatangan.
Presently, a number of Federal and States agencies as well as local NGOs address pollution problems as they arise. The result is a rather ad hoc collection of uncoordinated approaches, with considerable gaps and overlaps. This has led to some pollution problems not being adequately and promptly dealt with.
“WWF-Malaysia has been implementing conservation projects in the Kinabatangan area since late 1970s. A large-scale strategic programme to secure the long-term viability of wildlife populations in the area began in late 1998 and has continued to the present. WWF-Malaysia exited the landscape in July 2011 so that a more permanent institution could take over – ensuring that conservation and sustainable development takes place,” said the Executive Director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia Dato’ Dr. Dionysius Sharma.
“The WWF-Malaysia’s Kinabatangan Corridor of Life (KCol) team actively worked towards setting all the necessary ‘enabling factors’ to establish a system that would allow continuous protection of the area by empowering the stakeholders and local communities so that they are able to undertake sustainable conservation. This includes working with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment to develop a policy directive for the area, with the ultimate goal of forming the KCol Management Committee (KMC), a body responsible towards managing the area holistically,” he said.
The KMC needs strong political will from the State Government to bring it forward. Endorsement by the State Cabinet will add credence to the work of the committee. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment is taking the lead in preparing a Cabinet paper on setting up the KMC.
Rightfully, the main committee would comprise of the Federal and State agencies involved, tourism players, palm oil industry players, local community and local environmental NGOs. Comprising all key stakeholders, KMC would be the main body and platform that will convene all stakeholders to work together to ensure that the area is well managed and coordinated.
Dr. Dionysius Sharma states, “no single entity can work alone to effectively solve the pollution in the Kinabatangan River – but with a strong central body like KMC, we can achieve much.”
WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia), the national conservation trust, currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental protection work. Since 1972, WWF-Malaysia has worked on important conservation projects, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas. We also undertake environmental education and advocacy work to achieve conservation goals. By conserving our natural resources, WWF-Malaysia is helping to protect our livelihoods, food and water supply, thus securing our good quality of life and our children’s bright future. We thank our supporters and members of the Media, whose contributions and support enable our conservation work. If you would like to donate to WWF-Malaysia or learn more about our projects, please call: +603-78033772 or visit: www.wwf.org.my or www.facebook.com/wwfmy
WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature by:
• Conserving the world’s biological diversity
• Ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
• Promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful production
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