Mangroves in the Byram Permanent Mangrove Forest Reserve are affected by leachate spillage from a landfill in Nibong Tebal, Penang. FILE PIC

THE New Straits Times exclusive report (March 6) “Mangrove extinction in Penang?” said huge swathes of mangrove forests, which protect coastal areas and functions as a breeding ground for marine life, have been cleared for development in Penang.

It’s really sad when the authorities, despite knowing that mangrove forests play an important role in the ecosystem, did nothing to protect them.

Mangroves are crucial for coastal areas. They stabilise these areas in ways that no technological advancements in engineering can.

Even if we negate all the benefits of mangroves as forests, we can’t deny their value as a protector of shorelines, which should convince us about the importance of conserving them.

Mangrove forests and their estuaries are also the breeding and nursery grounds for marine organisms, including the commercially-important shrimp, crab and fish.

Loss of mangroves does not only affect us indirectly, but also affects the fishing industry.

I am not surprised to see that mangroves are now looked after by scientists, who serve as saviors when the environment is under threat.

As a result of global warming, coastal areas face the threats of beachfront erosion and rising sea levels. This is happening around us.

Mangroves can help us cultivate salt-tolerant crops that could be a resource.

When growing up in Port Dickson, my friends and I used to swim out about 20m from shore, climb a mangrove tree and
watch the crystal waters below us.

We sat there admiring the fish.

It’s sad to see that the younger generation can no longer enjoy this, as our mangrove forests may soon be gone forever.

LIONEL PERERA ,Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan

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