Counting Islands

Here’s an oddity from a few days ago in the i paper:

Indonesia is to begin the mammoth task of counting all of its islands with the aim of protecting its territory and natural resources.

The government has never had a definite number of islands that make up the vast archipelago, with estimates reaching up to 17,508. In 2012, at the last UN Conference on the Standardisation of Geographical Names, the Jakarta government registered 13,466 islands that it had located and named.

Given their estimated total area of 741,000 square miles, counting all  of the islands will not be easy. “We have to visit every one of these islands, and then we4 note the co-ordinates, the name, the meaning of the name, the history of the land and describe the landscape and its geographical history”, said Balok Budiyanto, an official at the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

UN law defines an island as a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is still exposed at high tide. If he name of the island is known by at least 2 local people, it can be officially recognised.

The Indonesian government is aiming to come up with a definitive number in time for a UN meeting in August with hopes that registering all the islands will help safeguard its territory and lucrative fishing resources.

Image: Public Domain

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