JAKARTA – Despite recent criticism about severe land and water pollution, Bali has the best environment of all of the provinces, a government study shows.
The report on Indonesia’s environmental quality index in 2010 conducted by the Environment Ministry showed that Bali had a score of 99.65, the highest of all the 33 provinces.
The score takes into account the level of total suspended solids (TSS), dissolved oxygen (DO), and chemical oxygen demand (COD) — common parameters to measure water quality.
The province ranked third in the ministry’s previous review.
“Changes in the index for every region is determined by the amount of polluting substances and water volumes of its rivers,” said the report, officially launched last week.
The parameters also explain whether the water in the area could be utilized for drinking water or for other purposes such as irrigation, aquaculture, farming, or water recreation.
International media have reported that Bali is no longer the “Island of the Gods,” citing heavy polution.
Time magazine reported that Bali was a dirty and unsafe tourism destination.
“Rivers swell and flush their trash and frothing human waste into the sea off Kuta Beach, the island’s most famous tourist attraction, where bacteria bloom and the water turns muddy with dead plankton,” the report said.
It listed tap water shortages, blackouts, uncollected trash, overflowing sewage, traffic congestion, and crime as major problems on the island.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry, however, has denied the accusations of poor management and tourist overload in the province.
The Bali administration has set a target of creating 130,686 hectares of green space on the island, which is 5,780 square kilometers in area.
The environment report, which was released for the second time this year, showed that Jakarta was the worst performer.
The nation’s capital, which is also the most densely populated region in the country with an average of 14,460 inhabitants per square kilometer, maintained its spot at the bottom of the list with a score of 41.81.
Of its total area of 664 square kilometers, Jakarta has only 571 hectares of green space, compared to Bali’s 176,547 hectares.
A recent survey conducted by the Clean Air Initiative (CAI) concluded that Jakarta was one of the cleanest cities in terms of air pollution, along with Bangkok, Hanoi, Jinan, and Manila.
Deputy Minister for Environmental Communications and People Empowerment Affairs Henry Bastaman said that 19 provinces scored higher than the national average on the environmental quality index.
The report showed that Sulawesi was the cleanest island, and that Java was the least clean.
“This proves that the environmental quality of Java is still the worst compared to other islands,” the report said.
The ministry has said it wants the environmental quality index report to be used as the basis for the argument that development programs should be focused outside of Java, as Java is too densely populated and burdened by manufacturing.
Infrastructure development in the country is also largely focused on Java.