Labuan’s coastal village facing serious erosion

Kampung Tanjung Aru Nelayan, a small coastal village, here, has been losing its land to the encroaching sea over the past two decades.

The over 100 families in the village are fighting to protect the beach in front of their homes from vanishing into the sea.

The erosion occurred along four kilometres from near Anjung Ketam to the coastal village and that accounts for approximately five per cent of Labuan’s coastal size.

Since then, the villagers observed that the sea has continued to eat away at their shoreline.

“It really used to be a beautiful beach, and now when you look at it, it’s almost gone…if we don’t do anything, there will be no attractive beach left,” said a 67-year-old villager, Abdullah Arsat.

He said some sections of the beach were now only two or three metres wide, compared to 30 metres previously.

Nurfirdaus Nordin said the beach used to have two concrete gazebos, three small huts, a boat ramp and a football field.

“There was a small village road, rope swing and photography section along the beach, but all are gone as parts of the coastal area have been eaten up by the encroaching sea,” said Nurfirdaus, who is also the village’s youth movement activist.

He said the coastal village had shifted to higher ground before due to the continuous erosion.

Meanwhile, village head, Harun Damit hopes the relevant government agency will build a seawall to protect the coastline from the strong waves.

“Disappearing sand will also wreak havoc on the environment as many animals and plants will lose important habitats…the beach used to be the site for turtles to land and lay their eggs,” he said.

Labuan Corporation chief executive officer, Dr Fary Akmal Osman said Labuan might lose all its attractive beaches in 10 years unless drastic measures are introduced to solve the chronic erosion problem.

She said effective measures must be adopted to preserve the island’s endangered and critically-eroded beaches.

Labuan Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) director, Juniaddi Awang Tuah said an application for funding for mitigation works along that coastal area (Kampung Tanjung Aru Nelayan) was not approved.

“The erosion there falls under category two and not similar to other eroded coastal areas like Sg Miri/Sg Pagar beach (in another part of Labuan) which is close to the main road and other infrastructure,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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