Institut Français d’Indonésie hosted “La Nuit des Idées” in its building in Jakarta on March 30, 2020, focusing on plastic pollution and its impacts on marine life. During this event, I shared stage with Bapak Gede Hendrawan from Universitas Udayana (my local scientific counterpart for UNSEEN‘s project in Indonesia), Bapak Zainal Arifin from LIPI, Bapak Safri Burhanuddin, vice minister at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Bapak Anton Wijonarno from WWF Indonesia as a moderator. I was invited to present the unique biodiversity found in Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems, the ecological roles and conservation importance of these poorly-studied habitats, but also the threats they are now facing, notably with plastic pollution. It was an opportunity to share some unique images I collected during last year’s fieldwork on the deep reefs of Bali. This project, lead by UNSEEN Expeditions, was funded by the National Geographic Society and Institut Français d’Indonésie.
The speakers’ presentations were followed by a discussion with a full auditorium about marine plastic pollution and its impacts on biodiversity. The high rate of participation and the wise questions from Indonesian citizens showed the raising awareness and concern about this plastic issue, in a country often considered as the second contributor to marine plastic pollution on the Planet.
A digital photo exhibition about marine biodiversity in Indonesia was also displayed in the building, featuring some of my work.