Sahabat Alam Malaysia alarmed about hill-cutting and clearing on Mount Erskine


GEORGE TOWN (Nov 18): Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) have raised the alarm over massive earthworks and hill cutting on steep slopes at Mount Erskine.

The Malay Mail reports that SAM president Meenakshi Raman said the authorities should explain, as a significant portion of hill cutting were on slopes above 250 feet (75m) and with gradients above 25 degrees.

“SAM has also learnt that in September 2018, Penang Hills Watch (PHW), which is an NGO initiative, alerted the state authorities and the Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) about the hill cutting activities,” she was quoted as saying in a statement issued today.

She said MBPP and the state authorities should explain why the mitigation works taken and the steep slopes were cut and cleared in violation of the state’s regulations.

“The state policy under the Penang Structure Plan is to protect hill lands and not allow earthworks on lands above 250 feet or slopes which exceed 25-degree gradient, and given that this is public land, we are alarmed that such hill-cutting and clearing is going on,” she said in the statement.

She noted that the exposed portions of the slopes would lead to severe soil erosion risks, exacerbated by the rains, and contributing to landslide and flash flood issues in the surroundings. 

“We are very worried of a repeat of landslide tragedies such as that at the Granito site and the Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong which led to the death of workers working in the area,” the news portal quoted the statement.

She urged MBPP and the state authorities to hastily prevent the environmental impact caused by the hill-cutting and earthwork activities.

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