Sat, 13 Aug 1994

Golf course project on Bira Island strongly condemned

JAKARTA (JP): The development of a nine hole golf course on Bira Island, North Jakarta, has been strongly condemned by the Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) for completely disregarding the perilous environmental consequences.

According to a statement released here yesterday, Walhi claims that the golf course is highly destructive to the natural eco- system of the islands.

"Their principal sin is in beginning the construction without conducting an environmental impact analysis (AMDAL)," Arimbi, a Walhi executive, told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

AMDAL is a mandatory assessment which must be presented by a developer designed to ensure that any development will not produce unwanted repercussions to the surrounding environment.

According to Walhi, the construction of the golf course which began last year was conducted without the required assessment.

Bira Island is one of the 78 islands in North Jakarta which is part the 108,000 hectare Thousand Island national marine park.

It is privately owned by Benny Sumampouw, who in 1993 began cutting down the islands forest vegetation to build a 20 hectare golf course.

The remaining 10 hectares of the island was then used for nine newly built cottages.

Despite being already completed, as of May 1994 the new golf course still had not had an environmental impact survey carried out.

"It is quite clear that even if the AMDAL was now done by the company it would be redundant since the projected is already completed."

According to Arimbi one of the most detrimental things being done to the island aside from the almost complete annihilation of the islands forestry, is the excavation of sand and gravel from the sea.

"The excavation would destroy the surrounding coral reef area," she said adding that it would thus disrupt marine life which heavily depends on the reef for life support.

Further more Arimbi quickly points out that coral mining is prohibited in the Thousand Island area as stipulated by the director general for forestry conservation and natural protection (PHPA).

Based on these considerations Walhi thus calls for a cessation of any marketing of the golf course until a full environmental study has been completed.

They are also calling for the establishment of an audit team to scrutinize the validity of all permits along with an inspection of any infringements that may have occurred.(mds)