02 June, 2008

Sematan...Beach In Danger

I managed to wake up as early as 6.30 a.m. during my holiday trip to Sematan on the second day of Gawai.

As one of the members of our group is a JKR staff, we had the privilege to stay in JKR bungalow. Well, not a huge nice bungalow as you imagined. It was just a medium-sized, wooden quarter with 3 rooms.

What I hated most was being fed by the mosquitoes! Darn, as if I’m a blood bank!

A few of us decided to go down to the beach. As we were on our way, someone noticed that there was a stockpile of something that looked like pipes. You know, those big, long, steel pipes. Those were already a bit rusted.

As we moved nearer, I noticed that a lot of those pipes were erected along the beach. When my friends waded out to cool their feet and enjoying the beach walk, I stayed close to the pipes. I noticed the badly eroded beach.

These pipes were cut and erected along the shore to support the shore and prevent further erosion. I believe the erosion of this beach is not a new problem. It must have been discovered by the local council (or DID maybe?) much earlier already. I also noticed that right behind these pipes, there were already gabion walls installed! Which means, these gabion walls did not serve their purpose!

Even with the gabion walls in place, erosion (as shown by arrow) still happens. There should have been some really nice mangrove vegetations here before, but now, only one tree or two can be seen. Of course, I saw some casuarina trees too, but only around the beach resorts. Sooner or later, these casuarina trees will slowly die out as well.

So what makes Sematan so special until people flock to fill up the resorts and even the lousiest inn, especially during the festive seasons? Its seafood? The (dirty and eroded) beach? The rural-ness of the place? Or simply to get away from the busy city life (at this kind of place?!)?

I went there quite unwillingly, well not by force, but because some friends of mine were going so I figured perhaps I should just follow. If I knew there were SO many people staying in one wooden house, and I had to sleep outside without a pillow, blanket and mattress, I wouldn’t have agreed to go. However, it was quite an experience, and a good breakthrough for me when I recognized that beach erosion is also a problem in the small, undisturbed town of Sematan.

Beach erosion… who to be blamed?

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