Nusa Penida ecosystem damaged by cables

Part of Nusa Penida’s beautiful underwater scenery has been damaged by submarine electric cables installed by electricity company PT PLN, an NGO has said. The submarine cables are intended to supply Nusa Penida with electricity from mainland Bali. Community outreach officer for Nusa Penida at the Coral Triangle Center (CTC), Wira Sanjaya, told Bali Daily recently that the installation took place in 2013 and caused damage to around 200 square meters of reef.

“The worst damage is around Blue Corner, one of the favorite diving sites off Nusa Penida,” Wira said. The 22-kilometer submarine electricity cable was intended to provide 20 megawatts of electricity to homes on the three islets in Nusa Penida: Nusa Gede, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. The damage started on March 27, 2013, when the barge BG Sumber Jaya 38 anchored off the northern shore of Lembongan island, which was followed by the grounding of the tugboat Sibang 29 on the shallows of the reef. Both incidents damaged the reef.

Further damage was caused when a barge anchor dragged across a vast area of reef. “During the installation process, because of the bad weather, the barge anchor was dragged for around 50 meters, damaging a lot of reef in the area,” Wira said. The submarine cable was also scattered across a large area of the reef in a popular dive site. Wira explained that the reef damage was deplored by local communities in Nusa Penida, especially the Lembongan Marine Association, a group of marine tourism businesses in Lembongan concerned with environmental matters.

Besides the damage, Wira added the local community was worried about the electrical cable lying through the dive site at Blue Corner. “Blue Corner is a favorite dive site in Nusa Penida. Many tourists visit the area. But the electrical cable has made people scared to explore, even though PLN has assured us that the cable is safe,” Wira said. Wira said that CTC had already communicated the problem to PLN Bali. “We communicated with the head of PLN Bali, who acknowledged that the incident was beyond their expectation.

PLN said they were ready to support the reef rehabilitation program around the area,” Wira said, adding that the program had yet to be started. CTC and divers in Nusa Penida are also ready to help PLN with the second phase of installing the submarine cable. “To prevent further damage, local divers have conveyed their readiness to help the project free of charge. We just don’t want more damage,” he said. Asked for confirmation, Ida Bagus Mardawa, who was general manager of PLN Bali during the installation, acknowledged the incident.

Mardawa told journalists Monday that they had never expected such damage during the installation. “The electrical cable was installed to provide electricity to all houses in Nusa Penida, as several areas around the islet don’t have electricity yet. But we never thought that it would damage the reef,” he said. The residents still have no electricity as the cable has been damaged. “But we will repair it, so the cable can provide more electricity for the residents of Nusa Penida,” Mardawa stated.

source : bali daily

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