The scenic Gurney Drive used to be the pride and joy of many Penangites.
However, unsightly mudflats and the putrid stench of sludge and rotting garbage now greet joggers and visitors at one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations.
Businessman S. Madhavan, 32, said he used to enjoy the view at the promenade.
“The state has focused much of its efforts in upgrading roads and building five-star hotels and malls at Gurney Drive but the most important attraction – the seafront – has been neglected,” he said.
Pensioner S.C. Chuah, 73, concurred: “I have been visiting the promenade regularly to meet up with other senior citizens for the past 30 years.
“The smell is terrible. The state should do something about the mudflat problem.”
According to a 70-year-old fisherman who only wanted to be known as Tan, the income of fishermen in the area had dropped drastically from about RM1,600 to RM700 per month.
“We used to go out to sea at 8am but nowadays, we can only go at noon because we need the high tide to get the boats out of the mudflat,” he said, adding that the problem started about six years ago when the reclamation project in Tanjung Tokong started.
“When the developers were collecting sand for the reclamation project, a lot of mud was sucked up together with the sand. The mud sediment has gotten worse in the last two years. Now, the mudflat stretches about 60m into the water. The beach is all but gone.
“We used to be able to collect cockles and clams to supplement our income but not anymore. There’s mud everywhere,” Tan said, adding that no one has bothered to clean up the garbage that washed ashore.
“Also, food residue and drain water flowing from nearby homes raise nutrients in the water and cause the jellyfish population to increase,” he said.
Source : STAR
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