Jakarta. The World Wildlife Fund Indonesia launched a mobile application on Thursday (02/03) to promote awareness of the importance of marine conservation amid a steady rise in the number of tourists flocking to the country's marine reserves.
The Marine Buddies app provides information on the 165 marine parks scattered across the archipelago.
"With rising marine tourism in Indonesia, the urgency to maintain clean oceans is as important as ever. The app will be a useful tool to help familiarize travelers with Indonesia's marine parks, allowing them to responsibly input data on the conditions of each park they visit," Dewi Satriani, campaign and mobilization manager for WWF Indonesia, said during the launch in Jakarta.
The app also allows users to rate individual parks in a wide variety of categories, by judging how clean each reserve is and by noting the abundance, or lack thereof, of fish populations in park waters.
"The reports by divers on the variety of fish will be essential. The more diversity in fish species, the healthier the coral [reef]," Dewi added.
According to data released by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, only about 10 percent of marine parks in the country are deemed properly maintained. Alor Island in East Nusa Tenggara and Mentawai Island in West Sumatra were among those listed as under suitable management.
With the release of its app, WWF Indonesia hopes that the number of properly maintained parks will increase through public interaction. The reports filed through the app will be forwarded directly to both the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
Ultimately, WWF Indonesia hopes to speed up the search for an adequate solution to rising pollution levels in Indonesian waters, as more than 8 million tons of plastic waste make their way into oceans globally every year, according to Coastal Care, a foundation that tracks pollution.
"Protecting our oceans is becoming harder and harder. Even with sea patrols, we can't really know what's going on underwater," Dewi said.