Mon, 21 Aug 2000

Segara Anakan project halted by dispute

CILACAP, Central Java (JP): Conflicts of interest between Central Java administration and West Java administration have halted an environmental project at the mouth of Citanduy River at the Segara Anakan Strait.

Cilacap administration spokesman, Ansor Basuki, said on Saturday that the Ciamis administration had yet to agree to the planned connecting passage project at Segara Anakan, which is partly located in Ciamis.

The Cilacap administration plans to make the connecting passage, between 80 meters and 100 meters wide, from Segara Anakan to the Citanduy river in an effort to curb the sedimentation of Segara Anakan.

Segara Anakan is a part of a strait separating Nusa Kambangan island from the town of Cilacap.

Prolonged sedimentation has almost joined Nusa Kambangan with Central Java, and this is worrying environmentalists.

Both the dredging of Segara Anakan and the building of the connecting passage to the river of Citanduy have long been planned by the Central Java administration.

The Ciamis administration in West Java is worried that the connecting passage project, to be funded by the Asian Development Bank, would harm its area, as seawater could overflow into Citanduy River during high tide.

The Cilacap administration sees the connecting passage as helping minimize the amount of sediment in Segara Anakan. The project is also expected to help preserve certain species of flora and fauna.

There are no concrete steps being taken by either of the two administrations to deal with this problem.

A law practitioner, Kartono, of the Jenderal Soedirman University in Purwokerto, said that the central government should intervene in the dispute so that the environmental problem in Segara Anakan could be dealt with soon.

Chairman of the Central Java Research Council for Banyumas, Edy Yuwono, said the 1,200-hectare Segara Anakan could become a land mass within 10 years if dredging is not conducted.

In 1903, Segara Anakan measured 6,450 hectares; in 1994 water covered only 1,600 hectare of the area.

"The sedimentation has caused certain species of fish and other animal to vanish. Thousands of local fishermen will also have to stop fishing," he said.

Edy said that at least 1,800 hectares must be preserved in Segara Anakan to save the environment.

Efforts to save Segara Anakan have gained international support.

Rector of the Jenderal Soedirman University, Rubiyanto Misman, signed a cooperation deal on Monday on the Segara Anakan ecology project with Dr. V. Ittekot, director of the Bremen Center Tropical Ecology. (45/sur)