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Spare the Tree, Save the Island

Protestors Demand Governor Revoke Private Development Contract for Ngurah Rai Mangrove Forest

(10/12/2012) The Bali Working Committee for the Environment (Kekal-Bali) comprised of Bali’s Friends of the Earth (WALHI), Frontier Bali, Bali Out Bound, LPM Kertha Aksara from the Law Faculty of Udayana University and members of Bali’s civil society concerned with conservation demonstrated in Bali on Thursday, October 11, 2012.

The protestors called on Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika urging him to urgently withdraw the permit issued to PT Tirta Rahmat Bahari (TRB) to operate in the 102.22 hectare mangrove forest surrounding Bali's airport and adjoining the southern regions of the island.

According to Bali Post, the environmental activists held banners proclaiming, “Withdrawn the Permits of PT TRB”, “Save the Mangrove Forest at Suwung” and “Reject the Exploitation of the Mangrove Forest.”

The demonstrators made speeches questioning the governor’s promises to make Bali clean and green. There speeches portrayed the granting of a license to a private company as a capitulation to a private investor and a commercialization of an environmentally sensitive area.

The deputy of WALHI-Bali, Suryadi Darmoko, described the mangrove forest as the last citadel on the shores of Bali protecting the Balinese people. Arguing that the commercialization of the mangrove will degrade and destroy the mangrove, Suryadi said the governors commitment to the environment is little more than a slogan.

Suryadi said: “The jargon of ‘clean and green’ which is a mainstay of the governor’s plans to solve Bali’s environmental problems is a reverse branding given the actual situation with the island’s environment. The fact (the lease on the mangrove forest) indicates that the sweet jargon of ‘clean and green’ declared since 2010 has failed to create a Bali that is genuinely clean and green.”

The protestors issued 5 demands to governor:

  1. To urgently withdraw the permit for a natural tourism business on the 102.22 hectares of land given to PT Tirta Rahmat Bahari over the Mangrove Forest at Ngurah Rai.
  2. For the governor to genuinely guard the conservancy of Bali’s mangrove forest while increasing forested areas to the legally mandated minimum of 30% of the island’s entire land area.
  3. To refuse all efforts to destroy Bali’s environment, especially the Ngurah Rai Mangrove Forest.
  4. That the governor reaffirms its commitment to a clean and green Bali.
  5. To implement the long discussed moratorium on new tourism accommodation by creating a comprehensive master plan for Bali’s development.
The demonstration held at the governor’s office was the object of intense police control, but disbanded without incidence.

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