LETTER | On behalf of the younger generation of Malacca, I would like to raise awareness about the severe environmental impact caused by the Malacca Waterfront Economic Zone (MWEZ).
This huge sea reclamation project involves 10,117ha along the 33km-long coastline.
The MWEZ covers the Sungai Udang coast and extends along Pantai Kundor to Klebang, Kesidang, Kota Laksamana, Bandar Hilir, Telok Mas to the northern part of Serkam.
Given the massive scope of the project, residents of the Portuguese settlement have already begun feeling its impact.
According to them, the uncirculated wastewater accumulating in the sea surrounding their settlement has become polluted and emits an unbearable stench impacting their wellbeing since the inception of the project.
Residents have been complaining to the city council about the contaminated water that appears “either grey or black”.
The reclamation project has also destroyed the habitat of prawns which supported the livelihoods of the fisherfolk.
Now, local fishermen are forced to sail further out into the deeper ocean about 8km away from the coast and into a depth of 15m to obtain a sustainable yield.
Despite that, the number of catches has seen a significant decline.
Last but not least, tourism in the Portuguese settlement contributes to the local economy. However, it has been negatively impacted by the project as well.
The polluted waters have lost their aesthetic appeal, while the stench is driving tourists away.
For instance, local restaurant operators have complained about losing their seafront view, while the stench deters tourists who dine at these restaurants.
The historical beauty of Malacca and its pristine environment are at stake.
Every decision made by the adults of today will determine the way of life of the adults of tomorrow – the children of today – and generations of children to come.
To support the community, I urge members of the public to join the campaign to halt the project by signing an online petition at the following link here.
The writer is a young, passionate 18-year-old resident of Malacca currently in her gap year after undertaking a Foundation Programme in Life Science. She will be pursuing a double degree in Ecology and Global Studies at the University of Otago next year.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.