Mabul again

Mabul Island, a speck of coral and sand and palm trees in the Sulawesi Sea, is divided between the holiday dive resorts and the local inhabitants.

Between rich and poor, if you like. I couldn’t afford to stay in those resorts, quite frankly, not without feeling the pinch.

So what do I feel about these photos? Are we looking at a way the local people can share in the luck of their wealthy visitors? (And it is a kind of luck – luck that Mr Diver X was born in Sydney and not Sipadan, or Tokyo and not Tawau, or Madison and not Mabul.)

Or are we looking at a way in which the locals are plundering the natural wealth of their environment and leaving behind a desert that will bring no money to the future generations? And at tourists who buy what ought never be bought?

Is it plunder or produce? Sharing wealth or encouraging stupidity? Good for everyone or good for no one?

What do you think?

P.S. Mabul is not a marine park; it is not protected in the way that Sipadan is.


Mabul again — 3 Comments

  1. This is a real problem, isn’t it, and not just in Mabul. Maybe one thing might be to encourage the making of souvenirs in local craft styles that use renewable resources. It would be a harsship to ban the sale of shells and corals until the locals have another way of making an income.

  2. I agree with Satima’s comment but a long term solution is also needed.

    Educating the young on environmental issues. Generating a tourism industry to provide alternate income that doesn’t impact on the natural resources.
    Informing tourists of the consequences of buying such wares that are pictured here.

  3. Solutions are difficult, aren’t they – I shall return to Mabul again sometime in this blog.

    One of the saddest things from my personal perspective is that I find it hard to have a holiday that is unadulterated pleasure – I always see the problems too!!

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