Hard times on Bangkaru island
As a result of Covid-19, volunteer programs Green & Blue have not yet opened in Sumatra, which has a negative impact mainly on the Blue Life project and its active beach cleaning activities on Bangkaru Island. Here, we look after ideal conditions for egg laying of the green sea turtles and large leatherback sea turtles, for which not only poaching and plastic waste is a danger, but also beaches covered with tree trunks and branches, etc. These obstacles are difficult not only for adult turtles, but especially for young which hatch in these conditions. At the same time, the trunks make it more difficult for turtle mothers to dig pits where they lay their eggs.
Moving on the night beach itself is challenging for turtles, but if they are to overcome large obstacles, it becomes literally hazardous for both small and large turtles. In addition, turtles often do not reach suitable places for laying at all and bury the clutch closer to the sea, where it is then flooded and destroyed by high tide. Our rangers from Blue Patrol conscientiously try not only to guard Amandanga beach, but also to clean it, however 20 volunteers 10 times a year in action is a different job and result. While winter volunteer programs and their participants have done a great deal of work for sea turtles, this summer is tragic and unsuccessful in this. We firmly believe that the August and September dates still manage to get opened, but we are not sure yet. We are waiting for answers from the Czech Embassy in Jakarta and also for the decision of local governments in provinces such as Aceh in particular.
Another critical moment is the lack of funding for waste programs on the Blue Life project. Here, too, the main support was from volunteer programs. One way to replace this is for people to buy certificates to clean up the ocean, thereby encouraging the reopening of waste programs in the villages of Haloban and Asantola.
In this way, we were able to spare the ocean of about 10,000 kg of plastic waste per month. Even though this year is critical for the Blue Life project, we believe that all this will turn out positively not only for the project, but especially for the sea turtles and those who protect them in the field, for the Blue Patrol.