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Turtle Island's Unrealized Promise

Local Community Leader Claims Developers Have Severely Damaged Serangan Island.

(10/4/2006) According to a report published in the Indonesian language Bali Post, the reclamation project on Pulau Serangan, being carried out by PT Bali Turtle Development (PTBTD), has caused substantial suffering for the people living on Bali's nearest island neighbor. The island, once a green and fertile locale surrounded by waters in which a wide variety of fish, crustaceans and other sea life were harvested by Pulau Serangan's residents.

Sadly, little is left of the island's former beauty. The 418 hectare reclamation project - comprised of 100 hectares of the Original Island and 318 hectares of new land, is now a barren limestone outcropping.

I Wayan Sudarsana, the Secretary of the People's Forum for the Rehabilitation of Serangan Island told the Bali Post that the reclamation project has caused a number of difficulties for the island's residents, falling far short he claims of the many promises made over the past years by the project developers which included an integrated tourism development and luxury hotel.

As part of the major reclamation project, the eastern shore of the island has undergone major excavation and the destruction of hectares of mangrove forests that once surrounded the island. And, according to Sudarsana, developers have destroyed surrounding coral reefs to a distance of up to more than 1,000 meters from the shoreline, effectively eliminating the natural habitat of the sea life that once lives in these areas.

According to Sudarsana, an agreement by his family to trade a 560 square meter plot of ancestral land on the island for a relocated smaller plot of 370 square meters has resulted in the seizure of his family compound without the promised compensatory plot.

The Pulau Serangan Activist also claims that a survey conducted by Udayana University students in 2000 showed that the people health on the island is suffering, with substantially raised incidents of eye and pulmonary infections.

According to the report, the Bali Post was unsuccessful in repeated attempts to meet with representatives of PTBTD and seek their comments of rebuttal.

Current estimates place 161 poor families as living on Serangan Island.