WWF calls for gazetting of Malaysian Setiu wetlands as protected state park

Gazetting the Setiu wetlands as a protected state park is crucial in conserving it as a critical water catchment area and maintaining its biodiverse ecosystem. In making the call, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia’s Setiu Wetlands conservation team leader, Dr Faridah, said authorities should make concerted efforts to formulate effective laws to ensure the protection of the park’s flora and fauna. “Wetlands are environmentally-sensitive and high conservation-value areas that need proper protection against development into aqua- and agriculture land. “Worse still is when wetlands are developed into incompatible industrial or housing estates,” she said in her paper ‘Experiencing Setiu Wetlands: Connecting communities and conservation’ at the Terengganu International Eco and Marine Tourism Conference (Temco) at the Primula Beach Hotel. Dr Faridah added that a balanced and sustainable development is important to protect wetlands which are vital not just for plants and animals, but our own well-being and quality of life. “Wetlands provide numerous benefits for people, ranging from food resources, building materials, water supply, flood mitigation, erosion control, economic income and fisheries livelihood. “We should also remember that wetlands provide great potential as ecotourism destinations that can generate additional or alternate income for local communities,” said Dr Faridah, who is also Setiu Wetlands senior programme officer.

This story was first published in NST

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