LUMUT,. Sand-dredging activities at Pasir Panjang beach in Teluk Senangin here are still in full swing despite a stop-work order from the district office last week.
A check by Malay Mail this afternoon found a group of men and two excavators carrying out sand-clearing activities.
A worker said today will be the last day that sand clearing would be carried out.
“The pontoon will come tomorrow to remove the sand,” he said.
The site was a sorry state as ambong-ambong trees, vital in attracting turtles to land, had been removed due to the dredging activities.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said it was disappointing that dredging continued despite authorities promising it would be stopped a week from May 22.
“We even submitted a letter to the mentri besar’s office to register our protest on the activity but looks like nothing was done,” he said.
“The contractor did not keep his end of the bargain,” he added.
Meor Razak said SAM agreed when the district office gave a one-week deadline for the contractor to move out.
“This is to allow them to remove their heavy machinery. But now the deadline has passed and work still continues. We are disappointed,” he added.
Environmental groups had in February raised their concerns over the dredging activity as they said it would affect turtle landings.
Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (KUASA) activist Noor Ismady Ahmad Radzuan had told Malay Mailthen that three nests, each containing between 80 and 100 turtle eggs, were unearthed along this stretch last year.
When contacted via WhatsApp this evening, Manjung district officer Datuk Mohamad Fariz Mohamad Hanip said the district Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) had been instructed to order the contractor to stop work.
“My office has stopped giving permits and additional dockets for sand dredging,” he added.
A spokesman for DID confirmed a stop-work order has been issued against the contractor.
“The contractor was also told to make good the area before leaving,” added the spokesman.
The department, he said, would ensure the machinery is removed from the site as soon as possible.
Teluk Senangin is one of the landing sites for Green and Olive Ridley turtles, which are endangered species.
Both species are smaller than the leatherbacks that frequent Rantau Abang in Terengganu, and have made the west coast of the peninsula their home.
The turtles are often seen between March and June in Perak, Penang and Melaka, where they come to lay eggs.