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Lake Batur hould be saved from chemical - Jakarta Post
Last modified: 2012-01-08 19:08:56

The Bali administration has established a special team to save highly polluted Lake Batur, according to a government official.

Anak Agung Gde Alit Sastrawan, head of the Bali Environmental Agency, said on Friday that concrete action should be taken immediately before the lake's condition worsened, considering that the lake was a main source of groundwater for the island.

"We have found sodium and phosphates in the lake's water at an alarming level, in excess of the BOD [biological oxygen demand] level. Thus the lake's water is not fit for human consumption," he said after a meeting to decide on action to save the lake.

The high level of the chemicals was attributed to the economic activities of local people around the lake, who use chemical fertilizers for their farmland and feed their fish with food containing chemical substances.

The high amount of the chemical substances has reportedly triggered an abnormal level of aquatic plant growth in the lake. The blooming plants in turn disrupt the balance of the lake's ecosystem.

Pollution might also be aggravated by rampant illegal mining nearby.

"This is a warning for us to save the lake immediately," he said.

A large part of the water from the lake flows to Tampaksiring, which hosts the sacred spring of Tirta Empul and provides water to paddy fields in Gianyar.

Batur is the largest of four lakes on the island. Other large lakes include Lake Beratan in Tabanan, Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan in Buleleng.

The lake is one of the largest caldera lakes in the country. The government has also launched a program to turn it into a geological park.

"Batur is included [on a list of] 15 lakes in Indonesia that have been the focus of conservation programs by the central government," Alit said.

Currently, the agency is still working on an action plan to save the lake. It has established a forum consisting of government officials, NGOs and the public.

"This forum will develop a comprehensive program to save the lake and evaluate the program," Alit said.

One measure to prevent further pollution in the lake is finding an alternative source of income for local people, including by developing creative enterprises, such as making bamboo handicrafts.

It is also expected to encourage people to plant more bamboo, which has an ecological function of binding water.

"We are also trying to find other alternatives. It's not really complicated. It just needs commitment from all stakeholders," Alit added.

I Nyoman Gamayana, head of Kedisan village, said he supported the administration's plan to save the lake. He said that the lake's condition has degraded.

"We used to take water from the lake and drink it, but now we can't. The water is smelly and dirty," he said.

He expected that the action plan to save the lake would not neglect the economic interests of local people, since the lake has been their primary source of livelihood.

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, 12/10/2011

Keywords: Lake Batur ‘should be saved from chemical, Jakarta Post
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