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Waste Deep in the Big Muddy

Bali Environmentalists Warn that Benoa Bay Water Basin Under Severe Environmental Threat

(6/10/2013) The Jakarta Post (Bali Daily) reports that environmentalists are calling on the provincial government of Bali to pay closer attention to the state the Bay of Benoa and home to the busy port of Benoa.

Rapid development is feared to be adversely affecting water conditions and the delicate ecosystem of the bay that is surrounded by a natural mangrove forest.

A researcher and lecturer in marine science and fisheries from Bali’s Udayana University, Gede Hendrawan, told Bali Daily that human development was adding to the deteriorating condition of the Benoa Bay. Mangrove forested areas have been sacrificed to development and the two rivers that drain into the bay are affecting water quality. 

“Mati and Badung rivers flow to Teluk Benoa, at the same time, the rivers are heavily polluted. People living near the river often litter and throw trash in the river,” Hendrawan added.

Meanwhile the reclamation of Serangan Island has served to increase the accumulation of pollutants and sediments in the bay. Nearby, Denpasar's huge rubbish tip is blamed for introducing toxic substances and heavy metals into the shoreline’s ecology.

Hendrawan also warned that the construction of the Benoa-Nusa Dua Toll road is going to change how currents flow through Benoa Bay, explaining: “The installation of concrete columns along mangrove forests as the foundation of the toll road will certainly impact the water current. We have to conduct a comprehensive study on possible damages.”

Once the road is in operation, the Bay and surrounding mangrove forest will also have to cope with the noxious emissions of the thousands of vehicles that will travel across the bay each day.

He noted how pledges and promises to carefully preserve mangrove areas by using construction barges to install pilings were suddenly abandoned by PT Jasa Marga who laid limestone access roadbeds under the the toll road. Sadly, warnings by local environmentalists that the new road would destroy the mangrove may prove true as the limestone roads have now isolated entire areas of the water basin.

It remains to be seen if PT Jasa Marga will honor pledges (see linked articles) to excavate the access roads, returning the free flow of water under the new toll road.

Plans are now being discussed to increase the reclamation at Serangan Island in a step environmentalists claim will only worsen the already badly damaged ecosystem surrounding Benoa Bay.

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