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How Green is Our Island?

Urgent Warning from Island's Government that Unregulated Development May be Irreparably Destroying Bali's Environment

(12/22/2008) Bali's provincial government has begun sounding warning alarms due to the degradation of the island's natural environment over the past decade. In an article published in Kompas, the erosion of Bali's shore line now approaches 20%, 55,000 hectares of land mass are considered in a critical state and the islandís average temperature has increased to 33 degree Celsius. According to that report, much of the blame for the rapid decline in Bali's natural environment is being laid at the door of the Islandís tourism industry.

The head of the Bali Environmental Agency, Gede Putu Wardana, confirmed the governmentís growing concern over the environment, and said a long-term environmental protection plan stretching to 2050 is now being formulated.

According to Wardana, in the shorter term of 2009 to 2014 there are plans to replant Bali's forests, stop the erosion of shorelines and re-green critical water-absorbent green zones.

Data provided by the Director General of Water Resources the air temperature in November 2008 reached 22-33 degrees Celsius. Previous to that, the average temperature ranges between 28-30 degrees Celsius.

At the same time, water levels are now 50 centimeters higher on almost all beaches of Bali.

The fast-declining condition of Baliís environment is also underlined by the fact that the 51.950 kilometers of eroded shore line recorded in 1987 has now grown to 91.070 kilometers or approximately 20% of Bali's entire shoreline (436.5 kilometers). At the same time, officials report that the intrusion of sea water into the water table has become a major concern in many areas of the island.

A local activist from Conservation International Indonesia, Made Iwan Dewantama, has characterized the soon-to-be-announced timetable for preventing further environmental degradation as coming too late. He points to the many environmental and green conferences held in Bali, including the U.N. Climate Change Conference held in December 2007, as demonstrating that Bali has done little for the environment despite the dire warnings sounded during numerous conference held at the Islandís conventions centers.