Benoa Bandwagon or Benoa Reclamation?
If you care about Benoa Harbour and the mangroves, why not ask the developers of the Benoa Reclamation Project to clean up the area?
There is a lot noise being made about the reclamation project in Benoa Harbour at the moment. Rock bands, Bali surfers, Bali locals, priests, governments, top cops and developers, they all want their say on the Benoa Harbour Reclamation Project .
I have just read in one article dated 2nd of May that the Benoa Harbour Reclamation Project is moving ahead and one dated close that say’s it isn’t. I have skimmed one study that states it is feasible environmentally and another that states it isn’t.
Benoa Reclamation Protestors what are you protecting?
I’m no scientist but I have had a lot to do with Benoa Harbour and I for one believe the Benoa Reclamation Project could be a positive outcome for the area.
I could understand the protests if Benoa Harbour and the surrounding mangroves were a pristine paradise but they are not, honestly the damage has already been done.
No one is going to spend money on the area unless there is something in it for them. And that may mean it could be beneficial for the people that care about the environment if they play their cards right.
The way I see it the harbor is already full of rubbish and the mangrove swamps are drowning in plastic bags and other toxic refuse. Added to this all the rubbish is being swept deeper into the mangrove swamps or out into the ocean with every tidal flow.
All anyone needs to do to witness this is to head down to the harbour at low tide. One section has a giant half sunk rotting fiberglass Catamaran stuck in the mud, strange nobody is protesting about that.
People have their problems with progress but sometimes it is wise to slow down and look at the situation practically and with a little common sense.
Expats, travelers, and those that one day want to visit Bali need to take a good look at the area before they get caught up in the emotional hype.
The truth is the protestors who are trying to protect Benoa and the mangroves are quite possibly doing more damage than good. And the international community that are jumping onto the ‘Benoa Bali Bandwagon’ have no idea that the whole area is already an environmental disaster.
Feel free to take a look at these short U-tube clips to see what these protestors are protecting.
If these protests continue to go ahead and they are successful then PT. Tirta Wahana Bali International will certainly move on to another project. Then when there is no one to fight over the mangrove forests or Benoa Harbour the area will be forgotten about and left to rot away, as it is doing now.
On the other side PT Tirta Wahana Bali Internasional (TWBI) owned by Tomy Winata stresses that it will reclaim land in Benoa Bay for an environmentally friendly development that values Bali’s customs and culture.
They say they will return the mangroves to their natural state and they have also promised to revitalize the ecosystem of Benoa Harbour and to build a marina for all those fishing boats you just saw in the clip.
These claims makes sense when you consider how much money they are going to spend to build a tourist friendly area. This seems like a fair trade to me and all the energy that is being spent in protests could be spent making sure they keep their promise.
My advice would be to take the time to visit the area before becoming caught up in the emotion of the protests so you can see for yourselves.
Following are some additional arguments I have heard since first writing this article.
1. The coastline of Bali will change.
The Coastline of Bali may be affected but some studies say otherwise.
The way to lessen the impact of any development is to ensure the company acts responsibly and to make them accountable for fixing any problems that may occur in the future.
Otherwise you need to stop all development on Bali and that is counter-intuitive to tourism growth on the island.
- There are a number of Balinese Temples in the area.
The temples in the area should be protected, but from what I have seen they could probably use a small amount of restoration work.
The Temples may even become tourist attractions which could bring in money for the Local Banjar’s if the renovations are done carefully and in the traditional way.
- Traditional fishermen fish in the area.
Cleaner water in the harbour and an non-polluted mangrove swamps would surely make for better fishing, shrimping and crabbing.
The chance to sell produce and job prospects in the area will also increase if the development goes ahead.
We should remember that once the reclamation begins the area will have to be cleaned up and modern infrastructure will need to be put in place. That could only be a positive thing if you look at the state of the harbor as it stands today.