sparkly islands land reclamation project Tonglian/ZumaPress

Cina dan Laut Dalam

HO CHI MINH CITY – Sejak Desember 2013, Cina melakukan perluasan sebanyak lebih dari 1.200 hektar di kepulauan di Laut Cina Selatan. Akibat geopolitik dari upaya reklamasi lahan ini sangat jelas: sebagian besar reklamasi dilakukan di kepulauan Spratly, yakni pulau-pulau di perairan antara Vietnam, Malaysia, dan Filipina, dimana seluruh negara ini – termasuk Cina, Taiwan, dan Brunei – memperebutkan klaim di wilayah tersebut.

Satu hal yang jarang dibicarakan adalah dampak lingkungan hidup dari proyek ini yang bisa mengakibatkan bencana besar. Tindakan Cina akan membahayakan cadangan ikan, mengancam keanekaragaman hayati di laut, dan menimbulkan ancaman jangka panjang terhadap beberapa kehidupan laut yang paling menakjubkan di dunia.

Ribuan terumbu karang, padang lamun, dan ekosistem perairan dangkal lainnya dengan cepat menjadi musnah dan terkubur ketika pimpinan Cina tergesa-gesa ingin mengambil alih kepemilikan di wilayah tersebut. Proyek reklamasi lahan ini merusak keterkaitan ekologis antara Kepulauan Spratly dengan Laut Cina Selatan, memutuskan pasokan nutrisi yang diandalkan oleh beberapa ekosistem ini.

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