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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Repairing a Damaged Island

from Bali Update 12-15-15 - thanks Katrinka

Head of Provincial Environmental Agency Lays Out Five Principles of Development that Must be Applied to Save the Island of Bali reports that the environment, particularly as it applies to Bali, was a main topic at Speakers’ Corner (PB3AS) at the Puputan Margarana Niti Mandala Field in Denpasar on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

Assuming the podium at the weekly free speech forum, the Head of Bali’s Environmental Agency , I Gede Suarjana, told the audience that Bali is confronting a mounting environmental crisis linked to global warming, He said that the oceans surrounding the Island have already risen 142 centimeter where each centimeter results in the erosion and encroachment of the sea one meter inland.

“In addition the abrasion of the shoreline (in Bali) has been significant where 181.7 kilometers of shoreline from a total of 430 kilometers has suffered abrasion,” said Suarjana.

He also reported that the coral reefs surrounding Bali are in serious need of attention. From the total reef area in Bali measuring 774,000 hectares an estimated 15-20% has suffered damage.

A similar tale can be told regarding Bali’s mangrove forests considered to be vital to the life cycle of sea life and in protecting the Island from tidal damage. Suarjana calculates that 12.5% of Bali’s reserve of 2,421 hectares of mangrove has been destroyed. Also, adjoining shallow water lands that are home to tidal sea grass have seen 13% of a total 1,360 hectare damaged.

Suarjana said the heavy human population of these areas is making the escalating damage to Bali’s shoreline worse. His agency counts 175 shoreline villages that serve as home to 1.35 million Balinese contributing pollution, sewage and trash into the adjoining seas.

Among the efforts being undertaken by the Provincial government to confront the growing environmental threat is the construction of breakwaters, planting of trees in mangrove areas, and coral cultivation and transplantation projects.

The government is also building waste traps on a large number of Bali’s rivers to prevent trash from flowing into the ocean. Suarjana's agency estimates that a single river can send 4 cubic meters of refuse into the seas each day.

Suarjana challenged the people of Bali to adopt a new mentality as they step into the future by integrating attention to culture, the environment and technological advancement.

Continuing, Bali’s top environmental official said there were 5 principles that must be observed in the development of the Island. First, development must adhere to the 2009 Zoning and Development Plan (RTRWP 2009). Second, development must be based on the carrying capacity of the surrounding environment. Third, development must be undertaken in accordance with environmental impact studies. Fourth, development undertaken in Bali must have elements seeking to rehabilitate the existing environment. And, fifth, development models must always include participation by the general public.

Suarjana warns that new approaches are needed to deal with the erosion of Bali’s shorelines, including a more aggressive planting of trees in mangrove areas and the creation of islands that will reduce beach abrasion and offer future generations protection from tsunamis.

“Because of this a renewed commitment from both the people and the government is needed together with the courage to enforce the law; the courage to take the right decisions and the courage to modify our behavior,” concluded Suarjana.