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Too Little, Too Late The Environment of The Port of Benoa

Bali Governor Claims it Impossible to Undo Damage Already Done by Pelindo III Reclamation of the Port of Benoa

Apparently Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster promise to save Benoa Harbor from environmental degradation is running out of steam. As reported by Kompas.com, Governor Koster has admitted he is powerless to stop development underway at the Port of Benoa in Bali.

Ignoring the obvious option of compelling the State-owned Port Operator Pelindo III, who violated procedures in reclaiming land at the port, to spend the many millions of dollars it would take to re-dredge and remove the toxic soils, returning the port to its former state, the Governor, instead, says that the misguided reclamation has left piles of dirt and sand that most now be made tidy and neat.

Earlier, during the continuing protests against the reclamation of Benoa, Governor Koster issued an order ending the reclamation of the Port of Benoa, championing at the time the need to save the environmentally fragile mangrove forests that surround the port area.

Defending his now seeming retreat, the Governor commented in December: “Completely stopping (the reclamation) can’t be done for that would mean allowing the mounds of soil to remain as they are. The prohibition is against any further enlargement of the area already reclaimed. Even though (Pelindo) has reclaimed 88% of their target, they do not need to reclaim any more land.”

When asked about the large number of mangrove trees destroyed by the reclamation undertaken by Pelindo III, Koster urged that a replanting program be done. He also admitted that the reclamation process had made much of the existing bottom soil toxic necessitating the placement of new topsoil before any successful replanting program can begin.

Koster said a mangrove expert from the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) has been engaged to help supervise the replanting of the now decimated mangrove forest.

While part of the land reclaimed by PT Pelindo III will be used to build supporting structures for port operations, the areas known as “dumping 1” and “dumping 2” will be used to construct a fuel terminal.

Signaling that Pelindo III will suffer no sanction for their unauthorized reclamation more serious than being barred from expanding the area of what has already been illicitly reclaimed, Koster said: “Pelindo is OK. What has already been reclaimed will now be included in the overall plans for the Port of Benoa that will be reported to the Governor of Bali - for my approval.”

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