Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA) - Bali Governor Wayan Koster has urged state-owned port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) III to stop reclamation of 85 hectares of area around Benoa Port in Denpasar, as the project has destroyed 17 hectares of mangrove forest.

"The environmental impact of the project is severe damage of 17 hectares of mangrove forest in the northeast of Dumping II project location. This is due to violation of regulation including the absence of revetment and silt screen that has been stipulated in the Environment Management Plan of the Environment Impact Assessment," Koster said here on Sunday.

Koster has written an official letter to the President Director of PT Pelindo III on August 22 demanding a stop to the reclamation. Copies of the letter were also sent to the State Enterprises Minister, the Forestry and Environment Minister, the Transportation Minister, and the Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning Minister.

Violations in the project were found by a monitoring team of Bali's Environment Office that has conducted a series of inspections to the project sites since February.

"In addition, the massive expansion has disturbed sacred sites in the area and degraded the beauty of the nature in Benoa Bay. It has sparked protest from various groups of the society," the governor remarked.

Pelindo III's project covering an area of 85 hectares comprises 38 hectares of Dumping I project and 47 hectares of Dumping II project. The project has been 88.81 percent completed.

In his letter to the company, the governor has urged PT Pelindo III to stop Dumping I and Dumping II projects and restore the mangrove ecosystem in the area. Furthermore, the area will only be used as a greenbelt.

"It is strictly prohibited to build commercial facilities on the reclaimed land," Koster said.

The governor has called on the company to re-evaluate the Master Plan of Benoa Port Development, initially designed as a marine tourism hub, which according to him was not in line with the vision of Bali's local development.

"It is necessary to understand that any impact of development in Bali that disturbs the balance and sanctity of nature, human, and Balinese culture would become the responsibility of the Bali administration," he said.

Moreover, the approval of revision on Regional Regulation No. 16/2009 confirmed Benoa Bay as conservation area, Koster said.
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Translator: Ni Luh Rhismawati, Sri Haryati
Editor: Suharto
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