Save Lake Toba

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By Magus Kutabarat

Billy Bob was volunteering for a NGO group in Siantar. They were contracted to make a report on water quality of Danau Toba. His friend Rudolf suggested to Billy Bob he get information from the bule expats living there.

Because President Jokowi was visiting Parapat Rudolf suggested to Billy Bob to ride his Honda via Tiga Ras to avoid the crowded roads.

At Tuktuk he got a room at Tabo Cottages where he met the owner, Annette, a German woman who had been there over 20 years. She told him that last month the lake was green and tons of keramba fish had died.

She suggested he visit a man named Tommy who was studying the water quality and death of the fish. Billy Bob found Tommy and his wife at their house on the lake shore.

Tommy was very passionate about the environment and the lake. He confirmed that the lake had been green, then mysteriously became blue again.

“The government had a process to close the keramba but so far this had been ‘selective’,” he said.

In the lake, phosphate levels had increased 10 times and plankton levels had increased substantially and PH level was high. Water visibility was less than one meter. Then suddenly the water became blue again and the PH level was normal.

For many years keramba have grown tons of nila tilapia fish every week fed with GE chemical food pellets which grow fish 10 times faster. Tons of waste excrement was eaten by pora-pora fish but rising PH killed most of them.

The shame about keramba farming is that it could be done organically sustainably if business wasn’t greedy.

Meanwhile back at Tuktuk it was Saturday night and Jajabi band was rock ‘n rolling at Roys Pub.

Some of the locals claimed the mystery of the green, then clean lake was due to all the datu shaman performing their magic together.

Next day as Billy Bob was riding around Samosir he was forced off the road by Jokowi’s convoy and they were so many they became slowly traffic jammed.

As he waited, a car window opened slightly and a face looking like Jokowi looked out and said, “Hello mister!”

Billy Bob replied “Hello boss, can you save lake Toba?”

He replied back, “I’ll try my best,” and the car drove away… (to be continued)


President Jokowi waving from his car (doc David Raja)

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