As much as 40 percent of Bali Island’s coral reefs are severely damaged due to various destructive activities carried out by humans, says an environmental organization.
“Meanwhile, the remaining 60 percent are threatened,” said The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Nusa Penida project manager Marthen Welly early this week. “Not a single coral reef area in Bali is safe from the threat of destruction,” he said.
Damaged coral reefs can be found in various regions in Bali, including in the tourism areas like Sanur, Denpasar, and Candidasa, Karangasem.
“In a few areas, the coral reefs are still intact. One example is the coral reefs in Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida,” he said. However, he said the coral reefs in Crystal Bay were not completely safe. “Many boat owners are still throwing their anchors out in a reckless manner,” he said.
Marthen said the damage suffered by the island’s coral reefs was mostly caused by human’s destructive activities, which ranged from unchecked development in coastal areas, garbage dumping to the ocean, and the use of poison and explosives in illegal fishing.
“The damage is further aggravated by global warming and sea erosion,” he said. He praised various community-based initiatives to protect and preserve coral reefs. The initiatives are significant in offsetting the impacts of destructive activities.
“We can see the local people finally taking concrete action to save their environment. Coral rehabilitation initiatives have taken place in Pemuteran (Buleleng), Tuban (Badung) and Serangan (Denpasar).”
On the national level, TNC recorded that 65 percent of the country’s coral reefs had suffered severe damage. Out of the country’s total 51 square kilometers of coral reef, 33.15 square kilometers have been identified as in severely damaged condition, 12.75 square kilometers are in good condition and only a mere 5.1 square kilometers in an excellent condition.
“Overall, as much as 90 percent of the country’s coral reefs have sustained varying degrees of damage due to human’s destructive activities,” TNC’s senior advisor Mark Erdmann said.
Indonesia’s coral reefs constitutes 18 percent of the world’s total coral reefs. Moreover, the country also hosts 600 out of the total 800 existing species of coral reefs.
“It means than 75 percent of the total species of coral reefs are present in Indonesia waters,” he said.
Source: The Jakarta Post – August 1, 2008
By Ni Komang Erviani, Contributor, Denpasar