22 Apr

Earth Day 2013 – Devastation of the Nusa Lembongan Coral Reef

cable ruined nusa lembongan's coral reef - bali diving
Bali is home to an incredible array of biodiversity. Situated in the so-called Coral Triangle, there is no other region in the world with a higher biodiversity than here. But, there is also a downside. This center of biodiversity attracts a large number of visitors each year, each of them with their own demands.

The paradise island of Nusa Lembongan, a 30 minutes boat ride from Bali is a good example of this. The increased number of tourists each year requires more energy, so state-owned power company PT PLN decided to install an underwater power cable from Bali to Nusa Lembongan – right over one of Bali’s healthiest reefs.

Unfortunately, a lot of damage has been done to the reef in the process. A local marine biologist described three incidents:  the tug boat used to transport the equipment ran aground on the reef; the barge which was laying the marine cable dragged its anchor along a long section of the reef, and the marine cable has been laid across vast sections of pristine coral.

Based on a report by the Coral Triangle Center, the total damage by the grounded tug boat has been estimated at 914 sqm, which varied from moderate impact to as much as 100% coral destruction. Although an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was made by Udayana University, the constructors were surprised by strong ocean currents which made the tugboat run aground.

It is assumed that 90% of the visitors of Nusa Lembongan actually visit this particular reef. So is this “power solution” not just destroying the exact reason people would go to Nusa Lembongan?

Source: the Jakarta Post

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