Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Abrasion in Mansinam Island

Environmental Destruction
Abrasion at the southeastern tip of Mansinam island can be seen at the following photograph. Most of the people who live in the western coast of island are not aware of this situation. Slowly but sure, Mansinam is getting smaller. I made this picture when I visited the island. Mansinam is surrounded by coral reef. A large percentage of the island is still covered with forest. In recent years, human activites have caused more damages to the reef and the forest. Pilgrims who visit Mansinam also leaves large amount of plastic and metal wastes from food wrappings, bottles and cups of mineral water and cans of softdrinks.
Yet, this tropical island still attracts tourists who come from all corners of the world to see its coral reef and Japanese and Dutch shipwrecks that sank during World War II.

The Island of Civilization
Mansinam is a small island in Dore bay of Manokwari regency. It was the island where 3 German evangelists (Carl William Ottow, his wife, and Geissler) landed on 5 February 1855 to preach Christianity for the first time to the indigenous people of Papua. The nearby mainland of Papua was still covered with pristine rainforest and warring tribes who fought one another for territorial claims. From a small number of followers, they spread to mainland New Guinea and to all corners of West Papua and developed into a large church. The church built schools, opened health clinics and played a significant role in stopping tribal wars. Towards to the second half of the twentieth century almost all of the population had been christened. The landing day (5 February) is celebrated every year by the Christians in Papua and its surrounding islands. Thousands of people wear colorful costumes and perform traditional dance along the main streets of Manokwari city between 4 to 6 February.
Mansinam now is visited by pilgrims who want to see the place where the earliest missionaries lived and worked.
Saving Mansinam
The island can still be saved and its coral reef preserved. People must stop mining its beach sand and stop logging its small forest. Wastes that are drifting from the nearby Manokwari city has to be stopped too. Otherwise this precious marine environment will be destroyed forever. by Charles Roring