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A Graceless Slick

Water Sports and Fishing at Gilimanuk Bay in West Bali Being Disrupted by Diesel Fuel Contamination

(5/6/2012) Radar Bali reports that water sports tourism activities surrounding Gilimanuk Bay in West Bali are threatened by leaking diesel fuel, which is contaminating coastal areas. The fuel slicks were first noticed on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

Press reports say that waters at Gilimanuk Bay are so badly polluted and emitting an unpleasant odors detectable for up to 200 meters.

As a result, fishermen and visiting tourists are avoiding the beach areas. Putu, a local resident who normally fishes at Gilimanuk Bay, told Radar Bali: “In addition to the smell, fumes from the diesel fuel stings the eyes. How can we fish?

Agung Putu Alit Wirawan, leaders of a local citizen’s group at Gilimanuk Bay, said, “We are very worried if the tourists see the bay contaminated by diesel fuel.” Agung admitted that each year when northerly winds start blowing contamination of the waters becomes a problem, but when this has occurred in the past the problem disappeared after 2-3 hours.

However, this year the contamination has become more acute and long lasting. The diesel is killing sea life, destroying the eco-system and ruining the natural beauty of underwater areas once visited by divers.

Wirawan said the source of the diesel fuel leak remains a mystery with local citizens and officials busily trying to identify how to stop the noxious flow.

The Gilimanuk Bay covers an area of 600 hectares. Some suspect the oil slicks are originating from ferries operating the Bali to Java route and a nearby Pertamina fuel depot at Ketapang.

Adding also to local problems is pollution from plastic waste discharged into the ocean by local residents and shipping.

Meanwhile,local port officials are denying the fuel contamination as coming from cross-straits ferries because of the careful monitoring of ships operating in that port. According to the officials, ships discovered to be leaking fuel are not allowed to operate and are denied the right to purchase fuel from the Pertamina depot.

The official, meanwhile, are putting the blame for the slicks on shipping passing through the Bali Straits.