TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Batam Island is seeing its mangrove forest shrinking in size to just 4.2 percent or ,743 hectares out of the island's 41,500 hectares. The forest area has been depleting since the 1970s.
"As of early 2015, mangrove forest covers 4.2 percent of the island. The destruction of mangrove forests continues to happen," Batam's Environmental Impact Control Agency (Bapedal) chief Dendi Purnomo said on Tuesday, October 6, as reported by Antara.
Without prevention measures, the mangrove forest area will continue to decrease. According to Bapedal, about 800 hectares of Batam's mangrove forest was lost due to a variety of activities.
In Tembesi, Sagulung, 620 hectares of mangrove area was destroyed when the land was turned into a reservoir. The forests in other districts were lost due to accumulation for the sake of tourism, sand mining, logging and charcoal business.
Dendi also said that the damage and loss of mangroves are also caused by land conversion, something which Bapedal cannot do anything about.
As for cases of forest destruction through illegal activities such as unlicensed mining, and other commercial purposes, Bapedal will deal with it firmly.
Recently, the Batam authorities named three people as suspects in the mangrove destruction case at Galang Baru.
"The suspects are the landowner, the heavy machinery owner, and a Chinese citizen," he said.
ANTARA | RR