The recent letter I wrote to THE STAR got published in the METRO NORTHERN REGION on the 7th of June 2011.I'm not really sure how many would have seen it as the theme,Environmental Protection doesnt really resound with many in our populace.
Well,happy as I was with the article being published in the paper,I was dismayed by the extent of editing the printing press did before it published my article.(I understand its part of THE STAR's policy to edit articles sent to them and its legally right for them to do so)
The editing undertaken did not in any way upset the content of the article but it did make the article lose its personality and story like continuity,a trade mark of my writing.
Well I guess an article in the newspaper has to be devoid of excessive emotions and be very much factual.
But I did note that they made one little grammatical mistake in the process of editing too!FORGIVEN.
Anyway, I decided why not I post up the original article up here for all of you out there to see.Here it is!
ITS ABOUT TIME WE STARTED PROTECTING OUR FOREST RESERVES
I wholeheartedly support and applaud the Penang Forestry Department’s plans to mark forest reserve boundaries in Penang, (Clearer demarcation-The Star, 27th May) but there is much more we can do in saving our natural treasure troves. Penang with its long history of human colonisation has seen much of its forests fall to the wrath of chainsaws. All that is left are now tucked away in some of the many hills that dot the state. I consider myself lucky living in Penang, as a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown, I would be greeted by the greenery of the Penang Botanical Gardens and the surrounding forests, a luxury many don’t get to enjoy. But are we at the brink of losing our natural heritage?
Being an avid hiker myself, I have seen much encroachment into gazetted forest reserves on the island in the past few years. One example I would like to highlight is the Bukit Relau Forest Reserve, along the Tun Sardon Road, the main artery that connects Balik Pulau to Relau. Development and clearing has encroached well into the designated boundary of this forest reserve, with much destruction along the way. I am very much surprised why nothing has been done thus far, to stop the clearing activity as this forest reserve is located along a very accessible and well connected area. So, being a proud Penangite and a nature lover myself I too wanted to share a few ideas on what else can be done to curtail illegal encroachment into forest reserves
1. Forest Rangers should be deployed from time to time to monitor forest reserves, especially the ones which are close to farms and human habitation. This not only ensures our forests are protected, but also helps in the effort to crack down of illegal immigrants who occasionally make forest reserves, their hideouts.
2. Create an easily accessible platform where nature lovers and hikers can report illegal encroachments to the authorities. We Penangites are ever ready to help out in the effort to protect our natural heritage. Penang Forestry Department should work on creating a website or a hotline primarily to enable the general public to report incidents of encroachment in forest reserves.
3. Educate farmers on the importance of preserving forests and do let them know about the penalties they face if caught encroaching into protected forests.
Yet again I would like to applaud the Penang Forestry Department’s timely decision, but let me remind you there is much more which can be done. With enough effort from all sides, we will be able to effectively protect our forests. Together we can make Penang a cleaner and greener state.