Study finds Lovina Beach and West Bali National Park, local communities under threat if coal power plant expanded

Photo: Selamat Made/Flickr

Plans to expand Bali’s Celukan Bawang power plant threaten to ravage the island’s Lovina Beach and West Bali National Park, cautions a study publicized this week, accompanied by a lawsuit from Greenpeace Indonesia.

Not that we really need a study in this day and age to tell us that pumping up coal power has negative environmental impacts.

Lovina, famous for its black-sand coast and dolphin-watching and West Bali National Park, known best for the remote Menjangan Island, will be polluted by the emission of the coal steam power plant (PLTU) if plans to expand it go through, says Didit Haryo, Greepeace Indonesia Climate and Energy activist.

“Bali is a precious gem for Indonesia. It must be appreciated and protected, so as not to be destroyed by pollution,” Haryo said on Monday, as quoted by Bisnis.com.

According to Haryo, it’s not just about tarnishing two of Bali’s most beautiful tourist attractions, but also the harm the pollution would do to local agriculture and fishing communities.

Celukan Bawang power plant is just 20 kilometers from Lovina Beach, situated west of Singaraja in Bali’s northernmost regency, Buleleng.

“(Lovina) is a popular tourist area famous for its black sand beaches, coral reefs, and dolphins in particular that will be impacted by increased vessel traffic and noise from ship engines,” Haryo said.

“In addition to polluting and damaging the environment, the plant will also cause many health problems for people.

“Not only does it impact their health, farmers and fishermen also experience a reduction in their livelihoods with the catch and harvest being reduced.”

Current plans to expand the plant seek to more than double its capacity.

Involved in the plant’s development is a group of companies, including China Huadian Engineering Co., Ltd., Merryline International Pte. Ltd., and PT General Energy Indonesia with an estimated total investment of US$700 million, with support from the China Development Bank, according to Antara.

In response to the plant, Greenpeace, along with local Celukan Bawang community leaders and legal counsel from the Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Bali have filed a lawsuit against Bali Governor’s Decree No.660.3 /3985 / IV-A / DISPMPT regarding the permit of the Celukan Bawang Coal Plant expansion.

“The underlying reason for the lawsuit is that the Bali governor’s decree was issued without the involvement of the affected communities and is considered to harm the commitment to emission reduction in the Paris Agreement because it does not consider the impact of climate change that will occur due to the construction of the coal-fired power plant,” said Dewi Putu Adnyana from the Bali Legal Aid Foundation.

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