CAP protests logging in Gunung Inas forest reserve

CAP urges the Kedah state government to immediately stop logging and exploitation of the forest reserve in Gunung Inas, Baling as it has potential to cause adverse impacts to the environment and socio-economy of the locals.  Furthermore the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed project has yet to be approved by the Department of Environment (DOE).

5,000 hectares of forest here will be destroyed to make way for a rubber plantation under the Program Pembangunan Ladang Rakyat (Rakyat Plantation Development Programme).

We are concerned that the State is adamant in continuing the project even though it violates the law and poses a serious threat to the environment and local livelihoods. We object the State’s decision and hope that the relevant authorities such as the DOE and the State Forestry Department will take stringent action to stop violation of the law.

CAP’s survey found that due to extensive logging and clearing of forest here about 3,000 people in six villages would have to deal with the problem of contaminated water supply for their daily use.

The affected villages are Kampung Iboi, Kampung Bok Bak, Kampung Cherok Kapas, Kampung Cherok Mas, Kampung Hangus and Kampung Jerai. Sungai Celak and five tributaries near here will be affected too.

The villagers here have been facing serious water pollution problems over the past year. Every day, especially during the rainy season, the affected villagers had to use water that is turbid, muddy and silted. The villagers are not only frustrated but are concerned of the consequences of using water that is dirty and polluted.

It is not the first time that Kedah’s rural water supply is polluted as a consequence of logging. Similar problems were experienced by villagers staying near Teloi Forest Reserve in Sik, Bukit Perak Forest Reserve in Pendang and Gunung Bongsu Permanent Reserved Forest in the District of Kulim.

Thousands of hectares of water catchment areas in Kedah have been destroyed due to logging and conversion for other purposes. CAP believes that if the activity is not curbed, it will not only affect the water supply in the near future but will also threaten the agriculture sector and peasant life in the state.

Press Statement, 17 June 2012