Since the publication of Government Regulation Number 26 of 2023 concerning the Management of Sea Sedimentation, it has again drawn attention from such likes as environmentalists and the public. The regulation, which was officially signed on May 15, 2023, is considered to have opened opportunities to export sea sand. The utilization of sedimentation products in the form of sea sand will be dredged and transported to other countries to be used as a reclamation material.
The export of sea sand has been in the spotlight for the past 20 years. This trade activity was licensed but was stopped in 2003 during the term of President Megawati Soekarnoputri through the Decree of the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Indonesia Number 117/MPP/Kep/2/2003. The termination was carried out because of the imbalance of losses that outweighed the benefits.
So, will the export of sea sand then return to harm or benefit the country? PK identitas Unhas reporter, Nabila Rifqah Awaluddin conducted a special interview with a lecturer at the Faculty of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, Hasanuddin University, Dr Mahatma Lanuru MSc, Tuesday (04/07).
In your opinion, what do you think about the publication of the regulation on the management of sea sedimentation products, which is considered to be a way to export sea sand?
Government Regulation No. 26 of 2023 on the Management of Sedimentation Results in the Sea does not actually regulate the export of sea sand, but there is indeed room to do so. As long as domestic needs can be met and in accordance with the provisions of laws and regulations as stated in article 9 paragraph 2d.
I think the urgency of enacting this regulation including the export of sea sand in it is not clear, because so far, the problem of sedimentation in the sea does not occur in all regions in Indonesia. The purpose of this regulation is actually to solve the sedimentation problem in several locations. If not managed properly, sedimentation in waters can cause several negative impacts on water.
What impact does it have if the export of sea sand is allowed by the government?
If the sedimentation results can be utilized for reclamation, infrastructure development, infrastructure development, and including the export of sea sand as long as domestic needs are met and in accordance with the provisions of laws and regulations. The concern is that people will again compete to dredge sea sand in the wrong location and in the wrong way. Dredging sea sand will cause environmental, economic and social problems.
Some of the ecological impacts of dredging and exporting sea sand are changes in the landscape of the seabed, causing changes in current patterns and sediment transport. Another aspec is the decreased quality or destruction of coral reef habitats and seagrass beds which are habitats for fish and other marine life. Not only that, the turbidity of the waters due to dredging also increases, which will limit the penetration of sunlight to the seabed and will interfere with the fishing grounds.
Will exporting ocean sand threaten the loss of an island, especially a small island?
If the export of sea sand is not done in the right way and in the right location, one of the negative impacts that may arise is coastal erosion or abrasion, eventually sinking the island or the island disappearing. The sand at the seabed surrounding a small island protects the beach from wave energy and strong currents. The sand on the bottom also absorb wave energy and slow down the speed of currents arriving at the beach so that it can protect the island from coastal erosion and abrasion due to large waves and currents.
What exactly is the proper process for dredging sea sand?
Sea sand dredging must be done in an environmentally friendly manner at the right location so as not to degrade the quality and damage the environment and disturb the fishing grounds. Based on the Ministerial Regulation of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries No. 33 of 2002 on the Zoning of Coastal and Marine Areas, the appropriate procedure for dredging sea sand is that business actors must have a permit for the utilization of sea sand.
Then dredging with environmentally friendly dredging tools and methods and carried out at the right location, namely the location of cleaning up the results of sea sedimentation that has been determined by the government. Finally, business actors who have a license are required to submit an activity report to the government, at least containing the location and volume of cleaning up the results of sea sedimentation, the dredging equipment and transport vessels used, the time of cleaning up the results of sea sedimentation, and the destination area or country where the sea sand is placed.
What are your expectations regarding the sedimentation management policy that opens up for exporting sea sand?
The government must be able to explain rationally what the urgency is of reopening the space to export sea sand. If the urgency cannot be explained well, the government should review the implementation of Government Regulation No. 26 of 2023 to avoid problems that may arise.
Translated by: A. Mario Farrasda AS & Muhammad Alif M.