KOTA KINABALU: A five-year project is underway to restore and rehabilitate tracts of damaged wetlands in the state.
Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society president Zaini Aucasa said the project will kick off with the planting of some 2,000 mangrove trees along the banks of Sungai Likas here on Feb 27.
“We hope this will go some way towards creating awareness about the importance of wetlands and the need to preserve them,” he said at the state-level World Wetlands Day gathering in the Wetland Centre here yesterday.
The event was launched by Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Elron Alfred Angin and saw 100 students from 12 secondary schools taking part in various activities, including helping to clean up the centre.
The society, Zaini added, was embarking on an ambitious programme to replant some 25,000 mangrove trees in five years, with initial funding from Japanese real-estate firm Mullion Co.
Zaini said creating awareness over the importance of wetlands, including how such areas could mitigate the impact of climate change, was crucial in Sabah, where large tracts of mangroves along the west coast have been severely damaged or destroyed.
“Regrettably, there are no reliable statistics on how many mangroves have been destroyed and how many are left.
“The figures keep changing every day. Even now, mangroves are being cut in the name of development,” he added.
Zaini also thanked HSBC Bank for its RM300,000 grant for the centre’s Environmental Education Programme that has so far benefited more than 10,000 secondary school students here.