Study on environmental impact of LAPAN`s satellite launching facility

Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - Bengkulu`s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) is to conduct a study on the impact of the proposed construction of a satellite launching facility of the National Aeronautics and Space Institute (LAPAN) on the ecosystem of Enggano Island, the agency`s chief said.

"We will conduct a study on the impact of the project (satellite launching facility) on Enggano Island as the proposed site is located in the Taman Buru Gunung Nanua Conservation Area," the head of Bengkulu`s BKSDA, Amon Zamora, said here Thursday.

An advance team had already been sent to check the conditions of the Taman Buru Conservation Area and a full study team would follow later, Amon said.

According to Amor, the satellite launching facility would definitely have an impact on the outer ecosystem of Enggano Island which was inhabited by around 1,700 people.

According to a survey of the Planning and Development Agency (Bappeda) and the Research and Development Agency (Balitbang) of Bengkulu Province, there were three alternative sites for the satellite launching facility : two were located near the Kioyo Conservation Area and one inside the Taman Buru.

In the survey team`s view,, the most strategic of the three sites for the satellite laubching facility was the one inside Taman Buru Nanua, called Tanjung Laboko, as it was located 20 meters above sea level and far from residential areas, Amor said.

Kioyo Conservation Area and Taman Buru Gunung Nanua are the habitats of some of Enggano Island`s endemic birds, Amor said, adding that the satellite launching facility would affect the birds` habitats and also the other wildlife.

Head of Bengkulu Balitbang Winarkus said the three locations surveyed by the Balitbang would be offered to LAPAN.

The three proposed locations were located on the southern part of Enggano Island which the local people had dubbed `sebalik pulau` as the area was not inhabited by people, Winarkus said.(*)