JANUARY 5 — WWF-Malaysia views with grave concern the unsustainable bauxite mining activity going on in Kuantan. WWF-Malaysia calls on the government to heed the voices of the local communities, scientists, stakeholders and the public and immediately halt all bauxite mining activities. Demand for bauxite and economic benefits have been cited as the reason for allowing the mining but the government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the problems resulting from unsustainable bauxite mining — the environmental and social costs.
The long-term environmental and health costs due to this unsustainable practice may far outweigh the short-term economic benefit generated by this activity.
Mining and transportation of bauxite should not be viewed as two separate issues — the impacts of bauxite mining should be viewed holistically. Long-term costs to human health and the ecosystem from every phase of bauxite mining including transportation, needs to be factored in in evaluating if bauxite mining can be allowed to go ahead.
Mining should not take place in environmentally sensitive areas or near populated areas in order to avoid adverse impacts to sensitive ecosystems and human health. Mining need not be done unsustainably — there are many examples of good mining practices to ensure mining is carried out in a sustainable manner, without such adverse impacts to the ecosystem and human health.
We trust the Federal and State governments are well aware of the measures that need to be taken to safeguard public health and the ecosystem that people depend on. It is a matter of having the will to implement the measures to prevent a problem from occurring in the first place than to allow it to occur and then find solutions. — Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director/CEO WWF-Malaysia