10 dead turtles over 2 months in Indonesia's Bengkulu, some found near power plant

A sea turtle was recently found washed up dead near the Teluk Sepang coal-fired power plant (PLTU) in the city of Bengkulu.
PHOTO: Kanopi Bengkulu

Local residents have found another dead sea turtle washed up on a beach near Baai Island Port in the city of Bengkulu, on Thursday, making it the 10th dead turtle discovered in the area over the past two months. 

The carcass was found between rocks by a group of locals who went fishing at around 4 p.m. local time. The cause of the sea turtle's death is unknown. 

"We found a dead turtle at Lentera Merah [beach] last evening, its head had already decomposed," said Arif, one of the fishermen, on Friday. 

The Kanopi Bengkulu ecology protection foundation has recorded that some 10 protected sea turtles have been found dead in the area over the past two months, following the discovery of other dead turtles in the waters near the Teluk Sepang coal-fired power plant (PLTU).

"[10] sea turtle deaths in a row; this phenomenon, according to fishermen, has never happened before," said Kanopi Bengkulu's clean energy lead campaigner Olan Sahayu as quoted by Antara. 

Olan said that previously the locals found two dead turtles and hundreds of dead fish at the same location on Nov. 10.

On Nov. 18, the locals found another dead turtle as well as dead fish at Teluk Sepang Beach. Both discoveries were located near the power plant's liquid waste disposal site.

The dead turtle was taken to the TWA resort office at Pantai Panjang in Pulau Baai for an examination to determine the reason for its death. 

Responding to the finding of the dead turtles, the health, safety, and environment engineer of the power plant, Zulhemi Burhan, said that the deaths of the protected animals were not caused by the power plant's activities. 

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A result of a laboratory test conducted by the Bengkulu Environmental Agency showed that the water outlet at the power plant's liquid waste disposal site was still in line with water quality standards with acidity of 8.32 ph, a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius and 13.5 ms of power transmission (Dhl).

Moreover, Zuhelmi also said that his company often conducted water tests at the disposal site.

According to Zuhelmi no dangerous chemicals were detected. 

"The liquid waste disposal channel does not contain dangerous chemical substances. It would be impossible for small fish to live in the water if there were," Zuhelmi said as quoted by kompas.com.