CMS staff plant 500 mangrove saplings at Ramsar site, Kuching Wetlands National Park

Environmental Protection at Work: CMS staff plant 500 mangrove saplings at Ramsar site, Kuching Wetlands National Park

Kuching (Sarawak), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 – Over the past weekend, 75 employee volunteers from Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS) planted 500 mangrove saplings (Bakau Kurap species or rhizophora mucronata sp.) at the RAMSAR site, Kuching Wetlands National Park. The programme, which is part of CMS’ ‘Doing Good’ CSR programme, was organised in collaboration with the Forest Department Sarawak – the government agency that promotes the rehabilitation of the ecosystem in Kuching Wetlands.

The volunteers braved the rain and mud, and by working together collaboratively and systematically, they managed to plant all 500 saplings in just one hour. Part of the group were assigned to do nursery work where they managed to prepare 500 saplings from the mangrove propagules as part of the propagation process. This is to meet the condition set by the Forest Department whereby the number of saplings planted must be replaced with the same number of saplings prepared in their efforts to guarantee sustainability.

As well as manpower, CMS also contributed tools worth RM2,300.00, comprising rubber boots, gloves, a ladder, hoes and garbage bins for future use as part of the programme. The contribution was handed over by CMS Group Corporate Communications Manager, Ms Shirly Ann Clarke to the Forest Department representative, Mr Haazizkin. This is the second time CMS joined the mangrove planting programme and hopes to increase its involvement and value in future programmes with the Forest Department Sarawak.

The RAMSAR site is situated 15km from Kuching and approximately 5km from Damai Beach. The Kuching Wetlands National Park covers an area of 6,610 hectares in between the Sibu Laut and Salak rivers. The park is mostly comprised of a saline mangrove system that includes an extensive network of marine waterways and tidal creeks interconnecting the two major rivers that form the boundaries of the park.

Initiated in 1971 at Ramsar, Iran, the Ramsar Convention had been adopted by many countries including Malaysia in 1995. The Kuching Wetlands National Park fulfilled four out of nine criteria suitable as a Ramsar site. The four criteria include: the site is a particularly good representative example of a natural coastal mangrove system, the site supports the Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus), the site is of special value as a nursery area for the Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and the site is an important spawning and nursery ground for fish and prawn species.