Amed is renowned as one of Bali’s popular tourist locations, especially because of its great diving and snorkeling. Thousands of tourists visit the area each year seeking a relaxed holiday away from the busier Bali destinations of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur.
But Amed’s popularity as a tourism location is also one of its threats.
Reef Check Indonesia Project Coordinator Riyan Heri says that’s the reason Reef Check Foundation Indonesia and Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) have been working with the community in Amed.
“One of the biggest threats to the coral reefs in the Amed region is rubbish,” Riyan said.
“Amed is a dry area of Bali, so during the dry season rubbish accumulates in the dry river bed. When the flooding rains come in the wet season, this rubbish is all washed into the bay. This rubbish then chokes the coral, harms fish and other marine animals and has negative impacts on tourism too.”
Thanks to a micro-grant from CORAL, Riyan worked with local community members to install a solid waste (rubbish) trap on the river.
“Using common materials, we worked with the community to construct a trap made from thick bamboo uprights, netting and ropes. We put it slightly upstream of the river mouth and used it to catch the rubbish before it entered the ocean. Each time it rains, the local residents must empty the trap, which they have taken responsibility for.”
While the rubbish trap is far from a permanent solution to the problem, it is an important community awareness tool. This activity provides direct experience and understanding to the community about the problems they face with rubbish.
By actively engaging the community and sharing responsibility for the problem, it is hoped that members of the community will better understand the sources and kinds of rubbish threatening their reefs. By making a connection between the rubbish and impacts on reefs, and subsequently their livelihoods, Reef Check and CORAL aim to help the community adopt more sustainable behaviors.
Apart from reducing the impact of rubbish on the reefs, other initiatives in Amed are helping protect the reef.
Aside from fishing, many of the boats operated in Amed are used to transport snorkelers and divers.
“We have engaged and worked with local fishermen to install two mooring buoys, with another one soon to be added,” Riyan said.
The boat operators were consulted and the buoys were put in locations most convenient for both purposes, encouraging people to stop anchoring in the coral.
Riyan said that informational signs and flyers are another important part of the work underway at Amed.
“It’s important that we help the local community and tourists learn more about how they can protect coral reefs. We’ve installed illustrated signs in Indonesian, English and French about our snorkeling and diving code of conduct. It is simple advice that tourists can follow to make sure they are being responsible and not damaging the coral reef while they are enjoying it.”
Riyan said that through good collaborations great outcomes can be achieved.
“We want to keep working together in Amed so that the community and the coral reefs have a better future.”