Malaysia: Move will help prevent pollution in the sea off Pontian

ZAZALI MUSA The Star 14 Apr 16;

PONTIAN: Johor will gazette the 550km shoreline stretching from Tanjung Piai to Kukup Island here as the Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) to prevent pollution in the sea off Pontian.

Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the move was deemed necessary as commercial vessels anchoring along the international boundary of Tanjung Pia and Kukup Island have been identified to cause pollution

He said most of them would discharge oil and other waste into the sea off Pontian while waiting for their turn to enter the Singapore Port.

Mohamed Khaled said legal action could not be taken against them now as the illegal activities were conducted along the international line of the Straits of Malacca.

“But Johor has to pay the price for their actions,’’ he said during a press conference at the unveiling of the post box placed at the southernmost part of mainland Asia in the Tanjung Pia National Park here.

Mohamed Khaled said Johor had already discussed the issue with Singapore and Indonesia and would submit the papers by the Johor National Parks Corporations and Marine Department to the International Maritime Organisation headquarters in London in October.

There are more than 10,000 commercial vehicles passing through the Tanjung Piai and Kukup Island area yearly.

Johor’s PSSA will place Malaysia as the first country in South-East Asia to gazette the area between two and three nautical miles off limit for illegal waste dumping by vessels.

“The illegal disposing of waste by the vessels are damaging our mangrove areas in Pontian,’’ he said.

Mohamed Khaled said the mangrove areas were vital in preventing erosion along the coastline as they were also the natural buffer zone for tsunami and the breeding grounds for marine life.

Presently, there are 11 PSSA locations in the world – Great Barrier Reefs and Torres Strait in Australia, Archipelago of Sabana-Camaguey in Cuba, Colombia’s Malpelo Island and Florida Keys in the United States, Wadden Sea in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

Others are Peru’s Paracas National Reserve, Western European Water covering Belgium, French, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, Canary Island in Spain, Ecuador’s Galapagos Archipelago and Baltic Sea in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden.