Cilacap, Central Java (ANTARA News) - The new coordinating minister for maritime affairs, Indroyono Susilo, has said he plans to "sell" the oxygen that Indonesia produces to foreign countries.

"Indonesia produces a large amount of oxygen that people all over the world inhale because its three million hectares of mangrove forest is the largest in the world in addition to its seagrass, which is also the worlds largest. They all emit oxygen. This means, the world nations owe it to Indonesia for such a large supply of free oxygen," he said during a working visit to Cilacap, Central Java, on Saturday.

Indroyono made the statement in response to Cilacap district head Tatto Suwarto Pamudjis question about the future of mangrove forest in Segara Anakan Lagoon in the region that has now depleted from 32,000 hectares to 600 hectares due to sedimentation.

The minister called for continued maintenance of mangrove forests as they absorbed carbon dioxide and produced oxygen needed for breathing.

He said he would invite a team to calculate how many million cubic meter of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the mangrove forest in Cilacap and how many million cubic meter of oxygen does it produce.

"We will later sell it abroad. Countries must pay for it and the Cilacap district administration can use that income to maintain and expand the mangrove forest. That is our plan," he said.

Minister Indroyono observed that mangrove forests are great breeding grounds for fish. So, if they are in a good condition, fish can thrive below them.

According to him, mangrove fruits that are very nutritious could also be used as food and therefore he appealed to the people in the region to preserve the mangrove forest.

(Reporting by Sumarwoto/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/A014)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2014