The Dual Standard of Gili Islands Government Regulations: An Environmental Conservation Dive

The Dual Standard of Gili Islands Government Regulations

The Gili Islands | Gili Matra
The Gili Islands

Background Information

With the creation of Gili Matra, a marine protected area hailed for its ability to protect marine life, gain international recognition, and boost tourism, the Gili Islands welcomed a hopeful project in 2012. But underlying the seeming good intentions is a concerning double standard in how government rules are applied, which highlights a contradictory strategy to conservation initiatives.

Challenges in Regulation: 2012–2021

Moving forward to 2021, all water sport businesses are required by law to have conservation permits on file. Though this seems like a small need, many firms have found that the administrative processes involved in obtaining these permissions are quite onerous. Long-standing dive businesses are left facing an unclear future by the difficult, time-consuming, and uncertain process.

2024 Quota System

A new law in 2024 made the difficulties watersport operators in the Gili Islands faced even more difficult. To control the amount of divers and snorkelers allowed on Gili Matra each day, a quota system will put in place. Supposedly taken to reduce strain on the sensitive reef ecosystems, this action has caused concern among tourism-dependent companies.

Comparative Impact of Conservation

Still, the obvious issue is, is the government using uniform criteria in its conservation initiatives? Research done all over the world indicates differently. Research repeatedly shows that land-based activities have far more detrimental effects on reef ecosystems than do divers and snorkelers.

Unchecked Degradation of Environment

The true offenders of environmental destruction in the Gili Islands do, in fact, frequently go unpunished. Problems with the delicate ecology include poor water waste management, widespread littering, and growing noise pollution. Moreover, the spread of permanent buildings on immaculate beaches in flagrant violation of current laws exacerbates environmental problems.

Effects of Two Standards

The contradiction becomes clear: although companies that try to follow the law are penalised, those who break environmental laws get away with it. This inconsistency not only compromises the credibility of conservation initiatives but also allows unrestrained environmental deterioration.

Setting a New Course

Real environmental stewardship requires a paradigm change. Politicians need to take a comprehensive stance that tackles the whole range of environmental issues the Gili Islands are facing, rather than picking out scapegoats within the diving and snorkelling population.


Ultimately, the Gili Islands’ government regulations’ use of a double standard clouds well-meaning conservation initiatives. The very objectives that legislators want to accomplish run the danger of being undermined when they single out watersport operators while ignoring more urgent environmental issues. The Gili Islands’ full promise as an example of sustainable tourism and environmental conservation can only be realised by a coordinated and inclusive approach.

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