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Protecting Bali's Rivers and Forests

Gubernatorial Candidate Made Pastika Shares His View of a Greener Bali.

(7/5/2008) The people of Bali will go to the polls on Wednesday, July 9, 2008, to elect their next Governor and Vice-Governor.

While who will win the election is a matter of open conjecture; the current front-runners according to pre-election polls are former Bali Chief of Police Made Mangku Pastika and A.A. Ngurah Puspayoga.

Committed to a Green Bali

Comments attributed to Pastika in the Bali Post suggest that, if elected, the man once named "Man of the Year" by Time (Asia) for his role in bringing Bali bombers to justice, will bring a strong commitment to a greener Bali to his job.

Lamenting that Bali's scenic forest and river ways are seeing their trees harvested and their landscapes turned into tourist resorts, Pastika said: "Sadly some 200 rivers and tributaries on Bali have dried up. The condition of our jungles and forests is in decline. Water sources are increasingly limited, leaving smaller reservoirs of water to be managed by the 'subak' system. This condition will become a complex problem for Bali where water is the key element of life."

In order to preserve and protect Bali's water supply, Pastika has identified key areas for action. First, the system of managing the Island's jungles and forests must be repaired to allow the retention of rainfall. Second, there is a need for closer supervision of sub-terrain water supplies. And, thirdly, better management of Bali's delicate river system must be put in place.

Preserving a Green Bali

Pastika and Puspayoga are calling for an end to illegal logging in Bali, returning the forests to their natural function as absorption areas and vital link in Bali's mountainous ecological system. In this context, the duo have also called for an aggressive replanting and reforestation of Bali's semi-arid eastern plains in combination with organic farming to help support the people of that economically poor region.

Championing what Pastika calls a "clean development mechanism" (CDM), he seeks community-wide support for Baliís environment. "For example, all motorcycle and car dealers must set aside funds for tree planting to compensate for the emissions generated by the vehicles they sell," explained Pastika.

Pastika also pointed to the rapid development of the tourism infrastructure in Bali with little regard to issues connected to carrying capacity, raising concerns that Bali will someday suffer a severe drought. "Because of this, one of the steps that must be undertaken by the Government is an accurate survey of the current use of sub-terrain water supplies," said Pastika.

According to Pastika, through a steady supply of water the productivity of Bali's land can be assured, allowing agriculture and plantations to be developed. In this way the people of Bali can return to their agricultural roots, a key to protecting the island's religious and cultural values.