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Environmentalists Sound Warning on Tourism Development

WALHI Calls for Public Involvement in Approval Process for New Villas and Hotels.

(5/18/2008) WALHI - the Indonesian Environmental Forum has joined a growing chorus calling for more control and greater deliberation on the rapid expansion of Bali's hotel and villa industry.

As reported by the National News Agency Antara, the Chairman of the Bali WALHI Chapter, Anak Agung Wardana, has written to the Regents of Tabanan, Karangasem and Badung urging restraint in the rapid development of their regions. Hotel project at Wangaya Beta in Tabanan, Padangbai in Karangasem and a villa at Uluwatu in Badung were specifically spotlighted in Wardana's letters to the local provincial chiefs.

Reflecting concerns regularly voiced by many in Bali, Wardana told Antara that the subject projects threaten the local environment in Bali and the natural social order of the Balinese people.

Walhi is also calling on district heads in Bali to be more transparent in granting approval to new tourism projects in Bali, allowing local residents a greater say in deciding which projects gain development approval.

As quoted in Antara, Wardana said: "Under Law No. 23/1997 on the Environment Management and Bylaw No. 4/2005 on Pollution Control and Environmental Destruction, every citizen (is) entitled to obtain correct information on and participate in environmental management."