Developing for sustainability?
The key challenges facing the Setiu Wetlands are:
- Clearing and conversion of the wetlands: The Setiu district is one of the poorest districts in the Terengganu State in terms of revenue generation. It is also the least developed compared to other districts in the State. Part of the State Government’s strategy to improve the local economy and living standards of people in Setiu district is to increase socio-economic opportunities for the locals by providing more land for agriculture and aquaculture activities primarily through conversion of wetlands. An integrated approach is critically needed to balance development, socio-economic and conservation priorities.
- Infrastructure development plans in the wetlands area: A number of major developments planned in this area such as aquaculture projects, building of bunds along the river, straightening of river channels, and construction of breakwaters and water gates are likely to cause physical and ecological damage to the wetlands. These developments are deemed necessary by the government to address (a) the increasing demand to maximise use of the wetlands resources for local economic improvement and (b) recurring problems such as flooding.
This project seeks to address these issues and challenges directly where possible or indirectly, by serving as catalyst for further action.