Malaysian Scouts planting 100,000 trees
While other students were away having a nice relaxing school holiday, the Malaysian Scouts were having fun sticking their hands and feet into mud to do their bit for the environment. About 40 Scouts from SMK Teloi Kanan together with their group Scoutmaster and National Scout Commissioner for Environment, Kalaimani Supramaniam travelled 250 kilometers to Teluk Rubiah, Kuala Gula, a fishing village in the Kerian District, Perak, Malaysia to plant over five thousand mangrove seedlings and two thousand seeds in a 10 hectares area, which is the designated site for the Mangrove Rehabilitation Project.
The activity was organised by The Scouts Association of Malaysia, Global Environment Centre (GEC) and The Friends of Mangrove Forest under the Malaysian Scout Partnership Project, it is also part of The Billion Tree Campaign (Plant for the Planet) under UNEP. Today, the Malaysian Scouts have planted almost 40 thousand trees and aim to plant 100,000 trees this year. It is the second planting exercise under The Scouts Association of Malaysia and GEC’s towards one year Kuala Gula Mangrove Rehabilitation Project.
The Malaysian Scouts Association envisions that the rehabilitation of the degraded mangrove area through planting and increased protection will improve the surrounding mangrove habitat. Next year, the Scouts and GEC plan to mobilise Scouts nationwide to plant 2 million trees and hopes it can be achieved in the Kuala Gula Area, which is one of the few remaining mangrove sites along the west coast of Malaysia.
Mangroves are the only defence against sea storms and tsunami and without them, coastal villages such as Kuala Gula will be left defenceless and at the mercy of nature. Kuala Gula covers 6, 870 hectares and has a Ramsar Site (Wetlands of Global Importance). It is a small fishing village and an important eco-tourism site, renowned as an important migratory bird research and observation site. However, over recent years, the mangroves along the coastline have been degraded. Following the tsunami in 2004, there has been an urgent need to address the lack of mangrove protection.