Kampung Pasir Pandak, a fishing village located between the estuary of Sungai Santubong and Batang Salak has been enjoying its peacefulness until recent years when the scary saltwater crocodiles have been frequently sighted along the shoreline, especially during high tide periods. The village had never been visited by crocodiles before this, and the locals believe that the sighted crocodiles were frequently traveling back and forth from one estuary to another. Crocodile attack incidents heard from nearby villages have raised the panic level of anxiety among the local community in this beautiful fishing village. Local fishermen have to enter the water in order to get on and get off their fishing boats every time they go fishing about 30km away from the shore. When they depart and come back during the night, the place can be completely dark, and it can be very difficult to spot the potential danger in the surrounding water. What the villagers can do so far is to pray they won’t bump into any of these dangerous creatures.
Dr. Aazani, a local marine scientist who lives in the village has raised this concern to fellow friends of IEEE Sarawak Subsection to come out with any potential technological solution to ease the current tense situation. With the consent from the village headman and his helpful village committees, a proposal led by Dr. Tan Chong Eng of UNIMAS has been put forward to IEEE HAC/SIGHT in 2022 to implement smart solar lighting and camera surveillance system to archive the following specific objectives.
- To lit the crucial fishing boat parking places along the shoreline as to allow local fishermen to be able to better assess the surrounding water before they get into the water to approach their boats.
- To monitor the areas of interest along the shoreline using long range wireless camera surveillance to allow study on the crocodile movement behavior in this area.
- To create thorough awareness on the danger of crocodiles among villagers and also to educate the young ones with basic knowledge on precautions.
The project was awarded a grant of USD4775 to implement the said system within 6 months from October 2022 until March 2023. To date, with the collaboration between the local community and fellow IEEE members of the project, 4 monitoring stations integrated with both solar lighting and camera surveillance have been successfully deployed at specific locations along the shoreline on the riprap (armor rocks that prevent erosion of sea waves). The deployed locations were advised by the village working committee based on their crocodile sighting experience and the best interest of the local community. Four monitoring stations are wirelessly linked to a central wireless relay point which is then connected to a networked video recorder for storing all the captured video footage. The 4 monitoring stations cover almost the entire 500m of Kampung Pasir Pandak shoreline. The camera surveillance testing has been commenced and the village-level awareness program has also awaiting the readiness of the local community to get the ball rolling. Until then, we hope the operational solar lighting will increase visual of the shore areas and the villagers will remain safe and alert.
The project team succeeded in the implementation of the integrated solar lighting and camera surveillance system consist of Dr. Tan Chong Eng, Dr. Lau Sei Ping and Dr. Jacey Lynn Minoi (Chair of IEEE Sarawak Subsection 2021-22/23) as techonology solution specialists, and Dr Aazani Mujahid plays the role of marine bio expert. Dr Tan, Dr Lau and Dr Jacey are also senior members of the IEEE.