overseas? Don’t buy souvenirs made from turtle
shell and explain why you will not buy them. It is illegal to
bring turtle shell ornaments into Australia and they will be confiscated
by customs as you enter the country. This includes the typical
ornamental bracelets, rings and hairpins.
Organising a School Tour to Indonesia? Reduce
your consumption of packaged goods in Indonesia, particularly
plastic drink bottles. Unfortunately, there is little consciousness
of or system for recycling, so most discarded rubbish ends up
in the waterways or being burnt, giving off toxic fumes.
Plastic water bottles If you take 20 students
away, and each student drinks two bottles of water a day, that’s
40 empty bottles to get rid of. Over a two-week stay, this adds
up to 560 more plastic bottles floating around in the environment
and a plastic bottle takes 450 years to break down.
What can we do as visitors? For just forty dollars,
from the local store we buy a ceramic dispenser with tap and a
25-litre returnable water bottle and give it to the hotel/homestay.
Guests can refill their own water bottles at a price cheaper than
in the shops, sales from the first bottle of water pay for the
next big bottle of water. On school trips if you levy each student
in your group two dollars, this will cover the cost of buying
such a water dispenser for your place of accommodation in Java
or Bali, you will be doing Indonesia’s environment a great
service. It’s not that Indonesians don’t care about
their environment or don’t want to do the right thing. It's
just that most often; they don’t have the limited capital
that is needed to set up even the most basic infrastructure.
Support a turtle rescue centre If you are going
to Indonesia why not visit the Pemuteran or Gili Air turtle hatcheries
as these are accessible for both independent travellers and school
groups. The ongoing cost of medicines, food and water pumps are
difficult for these grassroots organisations.
Many school groups in Victoria have raised money through fun cross-age
In Australia. Many turtles are killed accidentally.
We all need to be careful with old fishing lines, nets and plastics
on the beaches or at sea. Plastic bags may be mistaken for jellyfish
and be eaten or become entangled around the head and flippers.
If we are able to visit a turtle nesting site we need
to respect the fragility of the process. Never drive
a vehicle along a turtle-nesting beach. The weight of the tires
will crush the nests and many hatchlings never make it across
the tyre tracks to the sea. Hundreds of hatchlings are lost this
way each year. Keep the use of lights to a minimum. Avoid the
use of campfires, torches, and vehicle or boat lights near turtle
nesting beaches (these confuse female turtles returning to the
beach to lay their eggs). Don't approach a turtle closely or shine
lights or take photos using a flash when the turtle is leaving
the sea. Minimise noise and sudden movements. Keep dogs away from
turtles and turtles nests. Never hold onto a turtle whist it is
swimming. A turtle requires air every twenty minutes and may have
only a few minutes of oxygen left. You may drown the turtle.
Fishermen can help government departments and local community
groups in observing and recording turtle movements and activities.
Record any sightings of dead turtles and identify the possible
causes of death. Send the details with any tags to your nearest
state or territory conservation department. For further information
contact the Environment Australia website: www.biodiversity.environment.gov.au