Antara, Jakarta – The Trikora Beach located at Bintan Regency, Riau Islands has once again been polluted with what is believed to be oil waste, which has darkened the waters of the popular tourist area since the end of last week.
Head of the Riau Tourism Office's Marketing Development Division, Afitri Susanti, said that pollution from black oil waste occurs almost annually and strongly believes this incident could harm Bintan as a tourist destination.
Afitri said that many domestic and foreign tourists complained about being exposed to the oil waste as they swim the waters there.
"We market Bintan tourism destinations nationwide and to various countries to capture the interest of tourists, but what happens? The advertisement does not match reality because of this oil waste problem. We're ashamed by that," said Afitri.
Afitri urged the Bintan Regency Government to report the problem to the Riau Islands Government to be discussed again with the central government in hopes of introducing a permanent solution.
"We hope that there will be a serious and firm attitude in dealing with this problem to prevent it from happening again in the future," said Afitri.
Oil waste pollution on Trikora Beach has occurred several years ago. In February, the waste had even changed the color of the beach water to a darker color. Tourists also reported smelling strong fumes of diesel fuel.
Head of the Bintan Tourism Office, Arif Sumarsono at Trikora Beach, said that he is still unaware of the origins of this waste. "We will report this case to the Bintan Environmental Service and the Riau Islands Environmental Service so that they can find out why the blue sea water has turned brown," he said.
The oil waste is suspected to have come from leftover crusted oil dumped from the ship's tanks of foreign vessels. The waste is put in sacks, then disposed of at the Out Port Limited (OPL) on the Riau Islands which borders Singapore.