Top posts

Featured Posts

Sabah natives take part in global action to protect Papar River

By Ezra Haganez
Natives from several villages affected by the proposed building of Kaiduan Dam in Ulu Papar near here joined hands on Monday to erect a stone at the bank of the Papar River as part of a global action and to send a strong signal that the proposed dam for water supply would adversely impact their lives.

Close to a hundred people gathered at Botung Luluba, about an hour by road from here, to renew their sense of solidarity at the 14th annual International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Waters and Life event which was held simultaneously in 27 nations on March 14.
The global action is coordinated by International Rivers, an international NGO that supports community efforts worldwide to protect rivers and to gain meaningful participation in the decision making process.

The communities of Kampung Bisuang and Kampung Kaiduan which will be affected should the Kaiduan dam be built, organised the local event with support from the Task Force Against Kaiduan Dam, headed by local activist Nousi Giun.

According to Nousi, the day started with villagers and members of several NGOs including Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos), Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) and Indigenous Peoples’ Network of Malaysia (JOAS), selecting a large stone to erect a monument.

"Participants then collected small river stones to mark in the sand the words “Hormati Sungai Kita” (Honour Our Rivers), the theme for the global celebration.

"The Kampung Bisuang Tagal (community-based fisheries management system) Committee head, Joannes Jikuil, has said villagers along the upper reaches of the Papar River are worried about plans to construct a dam for the state capital’s water supply.

"Although nothing much has been said recently, we are concerned that the water dam project may proceed," Nousi said in a statement Monday.

“Our lives depend on the river. This is where we catch fish, and though some of us have gravity feed water systems, we still use the river for cooking and drinking.

"There are many types of fish here, with the most famous being pelian. We also have two types of prawns here,” he said adding that their studies also found out that the dam at Ulu Papar would also cause the river to become shallow.

“Sea water then will start to seep in, and this will have an impact on our padi fields, fish farms and the quality of the water.
The whole tagal system that villagers have worked so hard for would be destroyed,” he further explained.

Meanwhile Sabah Fisheries Department Papar district head Mohd Tahir Ahmad who attended the programme with several staff, said there were six tagal initiatives along the Papar river, and attributed the success of the system to villagers.

He said the community based fisheries management system, which includes zoning to close parts of the river for fish harvesting during certain periods, has allowed villagers to continuously get food supply.

“At one time, the fish here were just a few inches long, and now we have pelian that reach the length of an adult’s arm. This is the benefit of the tagal system and we are pleased that villagers have worked hard for the project,” Mohd Tahir said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog