Sunday, March 13, 2016

73-year-old farmer walks barefoot to ‘save’ Kuantan

With his shoes kept safely in his backpack, a 73-year-old farmer walked barefoot for 35km from the Urban Transformation Centre Kuantan to Gambang in Pahang today in his effort to tell the world about the threats caused by bauxite mining. Uncle Woon, as he is commonly known, is among 30 Red2Green campaign participants who walked for almost eight hours for the cause to press the government to extend the moratorium on bauxite mining. "I am willing to walk this far to fight for the health of my children and grandchildren," he said. Woon is a farmer and lives in Gambang. Today, he had to leave his crop behind unattended just to take part in the campaign. "He is a farmer and he lives in Gambang. Although his place is far from the mining site, he is worried about the water contamination caused by the activities. The water supply came from the same area," said Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh. Fuziah also did her part by walking on the first day of the launch. "Many were around during weekend. We hoped for the same number to turn up tomorrow. But we will see," said Fuziah. She was among 30-odd participants who walked on the first day the campaign was launched. Fuziah said the campaign was organised by people who want the government to extend the moratorium and to send a memorandum to Parliament on the matter. The three months' moratorium, which started on January 15, will end on the April 15. The federal government in early January announced a three-month moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang and outlined measures the industry must implement during the period to stop pollution there. The measures include the clearing of all bauxite stockpiles, setting up of an integrated storage area and implementing a bauxite waste treatment system. Tomorrow, the participants will walk for 28km from Gambang to Seri Jaya and they will stay overnight in a tent near the Seri Jaya police station. Fuziah said the group welcomed any form of donation. "Thank you to the kind hearted public who treated us for the small meal upon our arrival in Gambang today," said in her post in Red2Green: Selamatkan Kuantan Facebook page. The participants will go through 11 checkpoints before they finally arrive at Parliament on March 28. The walk was inspired by the successful anti-Lynas campaign in 2012. – March 13, 2016.]]>

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