Friday, August 24, 2007

Changes to curb illegal logging

The Star
Friday August 24, 2007

TUMPAT: Tagging trees with radio frequency identification (RFID) devices and raising the reward for information are two of several sweeping changes being considered to curb illegal logging.

Natural Resources and Environment Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Sazmi Miah said other moves being considered included allowing the ferrying of timber only during the day.

He said on his road journey back to Kota Baru from Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, he counted 70 trailers ferrying logs at night.

He said he would also propose that the movement of trailers be done on a fixed schedule to enable effective monitoring of their cargo.

The proposed hours would be from 10am to 5pm daily, he said after opening a Merdeka carnival at SK Kampung Laut here.

Sazmi said previously, forest rangers faced difficulty in determining if the logs chopped down were from restricted zones, so RFID technology could help them overcome the problem.

He would propose that RFID tags be fitted to tree trunks in selected zones of forest reserves, especially in areas prone to illegal logging.

“Some of the logs obtained illegally are sent extremely fast to wood processing factories, before the authorities can react.”

He said the ministry was studying how the mechanism of illegal logging worked, from the modus operandi of loggers to the transporters and factory operators.

Sazmi acknowledged that illegal loggers continued to operate beneath the radar of detection imposed by the authorities.

He said the ministry would check to determine if there were insiders aiding illegal logging syndicates.

Public information was also crucial, and the ministry hoped to increase the rewards offered, he said.

He added that illegal logging must be stopped immediately because its effects on the environment were lingering. Most of the rivers in Kelantan, he said, were polluted due to siltation caused by over-logging in hilly terrain.

He was also worried that floods, a usual occurrence during the year-end monsoon, could worsen due to excessive logging.

No comments: