Activists sound environmental alarm

Written by on June 9, 2012 in Bali Environment with 0 Comments

Activists sound environmental alarm

http://www.thejakartapost.com/bali-daily/2012-06-06/activists-sound-environmental-alarm.html

Clean up: A diver pulls plastic trash out of a coral during the Tuesday underwater clean up in the Bondalem marine area, Buleleng, to celebrate World Environment Day. BD/Alit Kertaraharja
Clean up: A diver pulls plastic trash out of a coral during the Tuesday underwater clean up in the Bondalem marine area, Buleleng, to celebrate World Environment Day. BD/Alit Kertaraharja

Campaigners held various activities across Bali to mark World Environment Day on Tuesday as their way of creating a wake-up call about the island’s alarming environmental destruction.

In Denpasar, environmental forum Walhi Bali held a protest in front of the Bali Governor’s office, demanding consistent implementation of the moratorium on development in Badung and Denpasar.

The activists also urged the local administration to ensure clean water is evenly distributed to people across the island, not only to meet the needs of tourism.

“The administration should consistently implement the 2009 spatial planning bylaw by making a master plan to minimize any development projects that exploit nature,” activist coordinator Adi Sumiarta said.

Walhi recorded that nature exploitation also happened in the island’s water reservoir areas. Recently, activists opposed a project to build a tourist accommodation facility on 102 hectares of land in Dasong forest, Buleleng.

They emphasized that Bali is facing serious environmental problems, including abrasion, global warming, drought and garbage management.

In Buleleng, environmental NGOs carried out an underwater clean up in Bondalem marine area.

The groups consisted of Bahari Prawira from Bondalem village, Taman Segara from Penuktukan village, Baruna Bharata from Tejakula village and Reef Check.

“We regularly hold underwater clean ups and monitor the condition of coral reefs in this area, but we initiated this joint activity to mark World Environment Day,“ said Nyoman Sugiarta of Bahari Prawira.

Located in Tejakula district, Bondalem has a panoramic underwater view. As more and more tourists visit the area for diving and snorkeling, many beachfront villas have been built there.

Chairman of Bahari Prawira, Ngurah Sadu, said there had been many occurrences of destructive fishing and coral mining before a marine management area was established in Bondalem waters.

Besides human activities, changes in sea temperature also caused the coral to bleach. However, the area has now greatly recovered from the destruction, except in some parts where damaged corals can still be seen.

Marine activists have been successful in minimizing destructive fishing and coral mining through their intensive campaigns. One of the conservation efforts carried out by Bahari Prawira conserves the area they called “Gumi Cenik” on the west side, “Tukad Desa” on the central side and “Pengilangan” on the east side. These three areas have “underwater gardens”.

In Nusa Dua, Melia Bali Hotel and Resort also held several activities to mark World Environment Day, including a Cleaning Blitz Program, Turtle Release and Eco Walk.

Around 100 employees and guests worked hand-in-hand to clean up the beach, parking area, entrance, ground tank and rest area starting at 6:30 a.m.

Besides the Cleaning Blitz, the hotel management also organized the release of 30 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) into the sea, inviting long-stay guests, repeat guests and families to join the release.

Guests also joined a tree planting activity and Eco Walk, while children learned how to plant at the resort’s nursery.

“Environmental sustainability is our concern. Therefore, we organize these activities not only to mark World Environment Day, but also on a monthly basis,” said Novaria Irianti, Melia Bali’s public relations assistant manager.

One of the guests participating in the event was Barry Walsh, who has stayed in the hotel more than 20 times since 2004.

With his wife Joyce and their 11-year-old son Rory, they went to the beach in the morning and joined the eco walk, tree planting and turtle release.

“It was really good to be involved in the program to conserve nature. Bali’s environment is in danger as an adverse effect from increasing development,” said Barry, a native of Ireland who has lived in Australia for 32 years.

Luh De Suriyani contributed to this story.

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