Haven’t been to Mandalika? Here are the things you need to know
Mandalika is the southern coastal area of Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The area, which is famous for its beautiful 7.2 km-long white beach, is designated as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to promote the area as one of the national-scale tourist destinations of the country. Mandalika is comprised of four villages of 6,412km2 as the Main Area and two villages of 1,968km 2 as the Buffer Area, with a total population of 46,432 (2020). Mandalika SEZ refers to the 1,250 ha at the southmost tip.
Figure 1 Mandalika SEZ
Mandalika SEZ has attracted more than 618,000 tourists in 2019 alone and the number is projected to quadruple by 2025. The area has been designed as an ecotourism destination since its planning stage, supporting the majority of its facilities with clean energy and reserving 51% of the resort as open “Green Space”, which will allow for the area to preserve its natural beauty and the culture and life of the local population as well. One of the main attractions that bring a vast volume of tourists to the area is the white sand and green hills along the coastline that stretches for more than seven kilometers. Kuta Beach is also known as one of the main icons of the Mandalika SEZ area visited by a large number of tourists every year.
However, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia has been experiencing a sharp decrease in the number of tourists arriving in. According to the Central Agency of Statistics of Indonesia, the number of foreign tourist visits to the country in February 2021 declined dramatically by 86.59 percent compared to the number of visits in the same month of the previous year. Due to the recent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, plans to reopen parts of the country to international visitors have been postponed, which implies further strain on the country’s tourist sector, including that of Mandalika. Since its designation as a special economic zone, there have been active investments in the tourist sector in the area. With the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) support, the area is planned to host approximately 10,000 hotel rooms, 3,800 units of villas, condominiums and townhouses, a 27-hole golf course, a water park, and a motor-racing circuit. While the COVID19 pandemic has affected construction and event timelines worldwide, constructions of beachfront resorts and hotels of Mandalika remains on schedule. In 2022, the area is expecting a large influx of tourists with its hosting of the Motorcycle Grand Prix as it completes the construction of its international standard motor circuit.
Marine Debris Issue in Mandalika SEZ
Though Mandalika is known for its beautiful sceneries and untouched nature, it is suffering from the tremendous waste that is generated each year, including those that end up in its beautiful beaches. Waste, plastics in particular that pollutes beaches are problematic not only because it harms the beautiful landscape that attracts tourists every year but also because it breaks into tiny particles that mix into seawater that affect life all along the food chain, leading to a devastating consequence on the entire ecosystem.
According to the sampling taken during the end of 2020, the height of COVID-19 transmission and strict travel restrictions, the total waste generation in Mandalika is estimated to be around 215.7 tonnes/year, among which plastic waste comprised nearly half of the total waste. The main types of plastics found were PETE / PET (4%) and PP (70%). PP was collected mainly in the form of food containers, yogurt drinking bottles and baby bottles. For PETE / PET, drinking bottles of mineral water, glasses of mineral water and others were the main forms. Tourism activity and infrastructure development, and insufficient land-based waste management are seen as the main suspects of marine plastic litter in the area. Considering the fact that data are collected during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that the amount of waste generated would surge as the area reopens for the large influx of tourists post-COVID-19.
Figure 4 Marine Debris in Mandalika
Current Condition of Village and Coastal Solid Waste
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