by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia
Indonesia is one of the few countries in the world to have many coral reefs that are still in pristine condition. Coral reef is important not only for the fish and fishermen but for everybody who lives on this earth. Scuba divers of course are the ones who enjoy the most the underwater beauty of various marine species living among the coral reef.
Yet these pristine coral reefs of Indonesia are now facing rapid destruction due to irresponsible fishing and many reclamation activities as well as water pollution. For instance, the rapid expansion of Jakarta city has destroyed most of the coral reefs in Kepulauan Seribu thus depleting the fish population in the area. In addition, industrial and domestic wastes released by the city keep on flowing to the sea every day. This condition also occurs in Bunaken National Marine Park that is located near the Manado, read: Manado a well known city for scuba divers, another rapidly expanding city in the Province of North Sulawesi.
In general, diving operators in Bunaken, Raja Ampat as well as other marine park in Indonesian have known the aspects of how to run a sustainable and environmentally friendly scuba diving industry. They are now actively promoting the importance of preserving coral reef environment to future generation.
The main problem that the Indonesian people face in preserving their coral reefs is how to create public awareness. Most city dwellers in big cities of Indonesia do not realize that the garbage or plastic bags that they throw to the streets and roads will later end up at sea covering the coral reefs. Massive beach clean up activities cannot fully solve this problem. Garbage continues to flow to the sea especially during the rainy season.
Marine environmentalist, scuba diving operators and individuals, as well as the government and other concerned parties, should join hands to restore the already damaged coral reefs and protect the ones that are still in pristine condition.
In this place, mass media plays an important role in creating the awareness of the public society about the importance of coral reefs in our life. Simple public ads can make a big difference. People will not throw plastic garbage to the streets anymore if they know that these durable materials will end up at sea thus killing the coral reefs and other marine organism that live on them.
If we don't act now, the beauty of coral reefs in Indonesia will one day in the future can only be enjoyed from scuba diving magazines or videos left by the current scuba divers. Also read: Diving site and Coral Reef in Timor Leste