Recently we have covered numerous stories out of Indonesia from reporting on polluted rivers in Java to plastic littering the beaches of Bali. Now Indonesia must deal with possibly the largest environmental challenge of the last decade. Indonesian authorities have declared a state of emergency over an oil spill becoming an environmental disaster.


Oil Spill now covers an area the size of Paris

Xinhua indonesian oil spill an environmental disaster, marine disaster ecological

On March 31st an underwater pipeline carrying crude oil burst and began leaking oil into Balikpapan Bay in East Kalimantan. The pipeline is operated by the state-owned oil firm Pertamina and a company spokesman volunteered that the oil slick has spread out from Balikpapan Bay into the Strait of Makassar and is now covering nearly 150 square kilometers, equal approximately to the city of Paris. In this area of heavy maritime traffic, it is thought that a passing coal barge caused the pipeline rupture. (photo – Xinhua)


Fishermen Killed, Mangroves Destroyed

mangroves indonesian oil spill an environmental disaster greenpeaceFive fishermen helping to clean up the oil, died in a fire sparked during the process and the environmental impact has spread with the oil to endanger many hectares of mangrove forests and causing the death of an endangered Irrawaddy dolphin.

Residents living along the affected coastline and in the city of Balikpapan (with a population of 700,000) have been suffering from nausea and vomiting. Gas masks have been distributed to protect against the acrid fumes and smoke. (photo – Greenpeace)

Some of the surface oil has been skimmed off or dispersed, but the heavier oil has already sunk to the bottom of the bay where it can not be recovered, “the recovery rate for most oil spill cases was never more than 20 percent” said a Greenpeace spokesperson.

Last Friday, Susi Pudjiastuti  the Indonesian Maritime Affairs Minister said that “it would take at least six months to clean up the spill.” Read more about the: Indonesian Oil Spill an Environmental Disaster on: CNN and The Jakarta Post.

dead endangered sea turtles in IndonesiaUpdate: There doesn’t seem to be an end to Indonesia’s environmental woes. Just reported in The Jakarta Post are the deaths of eleven endangered sea turtles found within a three day period on a beach in East Kalimantan, prompting the provincial administration to declare an “extraordinary event.”

Cause of death, excessive amounts of plastic waste and “asphalt sludge” in their digestive systems.


By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network


See These Related Blue Ocean Articles:

Kayaking the World’s Most Polluted River!
Life Beyond Plastics: How Fashion is Killing Our Rivers
Mangrove Deforestation Contributes to Global Warming
Bali Low: Is this our New Definition of Paradise?
Could 5 countries solve 50% of the world’s Ocean Plastic Pollution?
Where Does All That Garbage Go?


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