Indonesia is one of the key founding members of the ASEAN that comprises 10states and has a population of 570 million inhabitants. Countries of ASEAN play a very important role as they command a large sea area and shipping lanes between the Indian and Pacific oceans. ASEAN seas cover large areas of fishing, fish breeding and spawning areas in sub regional seas and include strategically highly significant South China sea that also includes Chinese territorial waters and EEZ. Fishing, use of marine resources, sea transportation and exploitation of under sea energy resources and are among key economic activities of ASEAN countries.      

 Management of water resources is one of the key global topics affecting developed and developing countries alike. In Indonesia in particular, there is increasing demand for land and water resources. There has been increased demand and competition for water resources by water use of large population of over 220 million, irrigation ( there are about 22 thousand irrigation schemes ), agro and food processing, power generation, mining, manufacturing industries, urban water supply, inland and coastal fisheries. After use the water is discharger often wit affluent to the rivers and from rivers to the sea. There is a serious lack of adequate water treatment, sewerage and good quality water supply infrastructure. It is generally accepted that about 90 % of sea pollution comes from land or inland sources. Affluent together with sedimentation are major sources of pollution and degradation of marine waters. Integrated watershed and coastal zone management is one of the key activities that can provide solutions to pollution of coastal waters and seas. 

Indonesia’s archipelagic geography ( 17 500 islands ) determines that sea transport, fishing, offshore oil and gas exploitation and development in key river basins ( watersheds ) impact heavily on quality of marine resources with coastal water pollution being among key environmental issues. Use of sea lanes is essential for economic development as is use of the enormous marine resources for fishing and fish farming. Indonesia is growing rapidly and in spite of the present economic downturn it is expected to grow very rapidly in the future. Development of agriculture, logging of forests, industrial development and growth of the cities are part of the overall economic development. This development, however, has serious impact on marine resources and often causes their degradation. Combination of the global environmental change and rapid economic development are creating critical situation in many watersheds of Indonesia and this in turn causes degradation of marine resources including high sedimentation in river estuaries, pollution of corral reefs and degradation of coastal mangrove forests.   


Pollution from shipping is also significant as Indonesian waters include many major shipping lanes important for global economy. One of the most strategic shipping lanes of the world is the strait of Malacca dividing Sumatra from continental Asia where there are three highly significant countries of ASEAN and the successes of the world economy. Singapore the first intelligent city / state in the world that implemented full application of IT , GIS  in the state management and center of trade, finance  and high technology with one of the biggest oil refineries in the world. Malaysia, known for successful economic development, mastering of high technology and providing one of the most attractive living conditions on the planet in spite of being a multiracial society. And Thailand with successful economic development and transition from dominantly agrarian society to a modern global economy with well developed manufacturing industries and also very efficient agriculture and food production.


However, perhaps even more important is the fact that the Malacca strait provides the  shipping lane that is used by 20 to 50 000ships a year ( depending on ship size definition ) and

providing vital communication for deliveries of  the middle eastern oil and gas to economies of China and Japan. Indonesia borders and controls many  sub regional seas and important shipping lanes. Four major sea communications lanes are found in the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago:


1) Malacca Strait - with top level significance for commercial and military shipping


2) Sunda Strait - significant for passage of surface commercial and military vessels


3) Lombok Strait - highly significant for passage of submarines and surface military, commercial  and especially deep berth super tanker vessels


4) Alor / Wetar Straits – adjacent to WestTimor and Timor  Leste )  - highly significant for passage of  submarines and surface military and commercial vessels ( especially those traveling to or from North Western Australia )


Apart  from  highly significant geographic position Indonesia and the whole  Malay- Indonesian Archipelago have major strategic assets in terms oil, gas, coal, heavy metals, marine resources, food supply resources, human resources and relatively well developed sea and air  transportation infrastructure. Presence of many airfields and deep sea ports in the Archipelago, both military and civilian, provide facilities for trade  but also for  refueling  planes and ship repair or as a staging post for troops and hardware on the way to sub-regional, regional or  long distance conflicts such as was the  Gulf War or as a staging or transition post for peace keeping operations within the Southeast Asian region. Case in point was the use of the  regional airports and ports as a transition post for the coalition  forces on their way to the  Gulf War theater.


Indonesia has strong internal economy based on large natural resources reserves, good manufacturing and food production capability and strong and growing internal market.  Economic and political stability of Indonesia is one of the keys to the regional and global stability. However, Indonesia suffers from shortage of  power supply and energy security  ( about 20 000 MW ). The AEAN community is a new regional economic giant consisting of 10  member states with strong internal economies. These states have agreed to form the ASEAN Economic Community ( AEC )  by 2015 that will be based on similar principles as the EU. The members of this community have over 570 million inhabitants and  plan to remove custom charges for trade within the ASEAN  by 2010 and by 2013  there should be complete deregulation of services and air travel. This will  further increase demand on regional sea and air traffic and on use of marine resources, fishing, inter ASEAN trade in marine products. ASEAN is also preparing free trade agreement with other Asia Pacific countries including Australia and New Zealand. All these development will have a major impact on land use in key watersheds of Indonesia and adjacent marine resources.   


On the other hand events in Southeast Asia that are impacting management and conditions of marine resources in the region include:


1.      Strengthening of the ASEAN and it’s role as an effective vehicle of regional understanding, cooperation, resolution of conflicting issues and economic development,

2.      Revival of old animosities,

3.      Economic, religious, ethnic and political polarization,

4.      Increased competition for resources,

5.      Increased tensions over disputed marine and terrestrial boundaries,

6.      Increased illegal cross boundary movements of drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants or refugees,

7.      Increased  piracy and violence at sea,

8.      Illegal fishing

9.      Competition for influence and especially for markets,

10.  Increased spending on military hardware and software,

11.  Increase in internal struggles and internal destabilization

12.  Illegal logging

13.  Lack of energy security

14.  Shortages of good quality of water supplies,

15.  High level of environmental degradation, especially of watersheds,

16.  High level of pollution and contamination of coastal sea waters,

17.  Damage to coral reefs due to use explosives and travelers


Land Sources of Pollution of Marine Environment

Most of the pollution of coastal waters comes from inland sources  and is associated with  human activities causing erosion and sedimentation from critical watersheds, industrial waste, industrial effluents, and from waste from large human settlements- cities, especially in Southeast Asia where there are vast concentrations of population in large cities  and where   waste water treatment and sewage systems are more less non existent.

The key types of pollution, degradation and problem issues in seas and oceans are as follows:

  • Sedimentation
  • Sedimentation in ports and harbors
  • Plastic polluting beaches and coral reefs
  • Erosion and coastal abrasion –30% of coastal areas 
  • Industrial effluents
  • Sewerage and waste water
  • Shipping associated pollution
  • Oil spills
  • Volcanic activity
  • Pollution due to flooding in coastal areas
  • Tropical seas-rising temperature kills corals
  • Temperate seas- industrial pollution and oil spills
  • Arctic seas- ice melting and rising temperatures
  • Chemical pollutants ( heavy metals – mining, pesticides etc.)
  • Bacterial pollutants ( facial coliforms )
  • Water quality degradation
  • Plankton blooms and red tides
  • Loss of markets due to contamination
  • Pollution from coastal aquaculture
  • Mangrove logging
  • Over fishing
  • Illegal fishing
  • Fishing with use of poisons and explosives
  • Piracy and violence at seas
  • Marine boundaries disputes
  • Degradation of watersheds and associated pollution
Environmental Degradation of Watersheds and Effects on Marine Zone

Environmental degradation of watersheds is one of the key sources of pollution and degradation of costal waters and marine resources, especially of the coral reefs. The principal causes of pollution and sedimentation of rivers and river estuaries are caused by uncontrolled logging, intensive agriculture, open cast mining, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, chemical and petro- chemical industries.

In tropical environments accelerated erosion is one of the major sources of erosion from degraded watersheds and their sloping agricultural land, logged sloping areas and open cast mining. Intensive agriculture, especially large scale gravity irrigated rice schemes and plantations and estates using agro-chemicals and mining of heavy metals are also often associated with pollution of rivers and coastal waters.

The impact of pollution and sedimentation has serious effect on areas of corral reefs, coastal mangrove swamps and river estuaries. Mangroves and corral reefs are generally in shallow waters of continental shelves and form fish breeding and breeding zones. Decline of fish species is caused not only by over fishing but also by degradation and pollution of mangroves and coral reefs from land sources. For this reason, integrated watershed and coastal zone management and associated sedimentation and pollution control interventions play key part in mitigation of pollution and degradation of marine resources.