ICEL

ICEL

Indonesia Vows to Send Back Illegal Plastic Waste

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – Among the tons of paper that comes into Indonesia for processing from overseas are countless pieces of plastic.

“I found food packaging. That’s the most common. For example, the microwavable TV dinners, pet food, snacks, or trash from household items, soap or cleaning solutions,” said Prigi Arisandi, a documentary filmmaker in East Java.

As the founder of Ecoton, an environmental non-governmental organization in Indonesia, Arisandi wanted to find out how plastic waste from overseas can enter Indonesia.

“It’s on YouTube, it’s called Take Back!,” he said.

According to Arisandi, plastic waste can enter the country through imported used paper, the main material paper companies need to produce paper products. He has visited the country’s landfills and sorted through the plastic waste that had been taken in by trash collectors.

The Indonesian filmmaker says the plastic comes from developed countries, such as Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Canada.

Data from the Indonesian National Statistics Agency showed a 141% increase in plastic waste imports last year. Indonesia imported a total of 283,000 tons of plastic, the highest recorded number in the past 10 years.

Read moreIndonesia Vows to Send Back Illegal Plastic Waste

Averting The Global Plastic Waste Tsunami in Indonesia

Recently, awareness about plastic waste and its impact has found a place in the hearts and minds of Indonesians and communities worldwide. The urban lifestyle is shifting gradually away from single-use plastics, and heading toward plastic reduction regulations, among other things.

Bulk stores are a new trend to change the delivery system of products. Instead of buying products in packaging wrapped by supermarkets or certain brands, there is a growing market now for conscious consumers who bring their own containers, sacks or empty jugs to bulk stores to buy washing liquids, or some grams of grains, nuts, vegetables, etc. based on their liking or need. Zero Waste Stores in Bali and Toko Organis in Bandung, West Java, are some examples of bulk stores.

Global plastic production has steadily increased to almost 350 million tons per year in 2017, growing three times faster than the global gross domestic product.

Worldwide, recyclable plastic trade value is US$5 billion per year. In 2018, Indonesia imported 320,500 tons of plastic scraps from 42 countries with a trade value of around $102,300. This figure was double the volume and value of the trade in 2017, as an impact of China’s ban.

Interestingly, Indonesia’s top trade partners in 2018 were the Marshall Islands and the United States. The trade volume imported from this small island state was double the amount imported from the US.

Read moreAverting The Global Plastic Waste Tsunami in Indonesia

Indonesian Group Backs Up Plastic Bans Amid Judicial Review

Plastic industry players are suing the Bogor and Bali administrations for banning single-use plastics.(Shutterstock/Vikentiy Elizarov)

A coalition of civil society organizations has challenged a judicial review petition on Bali’s ban on single-use plastics, which has been accused of violating other environmental regulations.

Andri Gunawan, an environmental law expert from the University of Indonesia and a member of the coalition, said the group had filed an amicus curiae — a brief filed by someone who is not a party to a case — to challenge the judicial review petition filed by plastics and recycler associations against regional regulations banning single-use plastics.

“Amicus curiae literally means ‘friend of the court’. Because we are not directly implicated in these cases, we are offering consideration to the court in support of the regulations,” he said in a press conference on Monday.

The Indonesian Plastic Recycling Association (ADUPI) has filed with the Supreme Court a judicial review petition against Bali’s gubernatorial regulation that bans single-use plastics.

A similar regulation banning single-use plastics issued by the mayor of Bogor municipality in West Java has also been challenged by the Indonesian Olefin, Aromatic and Plastic Industry Association (Inaplas).

Read moreIndonesian Group Backs Up Plastic Bans Amid Judicial Review

In Indonesia, a Company Intimidates, Evicts and Plants Oil Palm Without Permits

A farmer in Maroangin shows where the company planted oil palms on his rice fields. Image by Ian Morse for Mongabay.
  • A state-owned plantation company, PTPN XIV, is evicting farmers to make room for an oil palm estate on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
  • In 1973, the company got a permit to raise cattle and farm tapioca on the now-disputed land, but it expired in 2003. After a long hiatus, the company has returned to claim the land. It says the government has promised to give it permits in the future, but has started operations anyway even as local communities resist.
  • The case is one of thousands of land disputes simmering across Indonesia, as President Joko Widodo attempts to carry out an ambitious land reform program.
  • The president has also ordered a freeze on the issuance of new oil palm plantation permits, but the level of enforcement remains to be seen.

MAROANGIN, Indonesia — One day in March last year, Rahim was shocked and furious to find an excavator rolling through his rice field, turning the bright green grains into piles of mud. The 51-year-old farmer took photos of the incursion and demanded to know why his family’s livelihood was being uprooted.

Rahim had been farming the land for 15 years, but the workers on the scene said he was trespassing on land that belonged to a company. No company held a license to operate there, much less evict residents, but Rahim didn’t know that. Now he was being told that rows of oil palm trees would be planted where his rice was growing.

“When I can’t farm rice, how is my family supposed to eat?” Rahim said at his home in Maroangin, a village on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The father of four recalled having cried as he watched the rice, almost ready to harvest, disappear before him. A harvest that size could have supported his family for months. Many of his neighbors also reported having their farms and pastures taken over by the company, state-owned PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) XIV.

Like countless other farmers across Indonesia, Rahim doesn’t have a deed to the land he says his family has occupied for generations. That leaves him with scant legal defense to claims laid on it by the state or private companies.

Read moreIn Indonesia, a Company Intimidates, Evicts and Plants Oil Palm Without Permits

Water for All, Health for All

A child is bathed at an evacuation camp in Sentani, Papua, on Thursday, five days after a flash flood hit the region. Some 10,000 people have reportedly left their homes. (Antara/Zabur Karuru )

 

This year’s World Water Day of March 22, themed “water for all”, took place just five days after the third electoral debate that covered health issues. Thus it is timely to evaluate our task ahead on ensuring water is accessible and safe for all.

As we witnessed in the March 17 presidential debate, the discourse on health raised the question on balancing the quality of health services for all with the cumulative high costs borne by the nation. The answers of both vice-presidential candidates Ma’ruf Amin, running with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, and Sandiaga Uno, running with Prabowo Subianto, focused on more efficient governance of the healthcare system as well as disease prevention. Unfortunately, no one touched on the environmental factors that cause a large number of diseases of which the treatment is covered by our universal healthcare system.

Poor health is strongly associated with water pollution. The Global Burden of Diseases study in 2015 found that 1.8 million premature deaths across the world were related to water pollution. According to a study in Indonesia led by former health minister Nafsiah Mboi in 2016, skin and diarrheal diseases were significant causes of reduced life expectancy.

Diarrheal diseases are still prevalent among children living in poor environments in Indonesia according to other studies. Unimproved latrines and untreated drinking water are strongly associated with rural communities and urban slums. While only 6 percent of people in Jakarta lack access to proper sanitation, in rural Papua the number reaches 98 percent, as cited by the World Bank in 2016.

Read moreWater for All, Health for All

3 NGOs Demand Issue on Prabowo’s HGU Not Used as Political Tool

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Three non-governmental organizations or NGO in environmental sector, namely Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), Greenpeace Indonesia, and Indonesian Center of Environmental Law (ICEL), demanded an issue on the cultivation right permit (HGU) recently became public spotlight not be used as a mere political tool between Joko Widodo or Jokowi camp and Prabowo Subianto camp.

The request was issued in response to the statement of Jokowi during the second presidential election debate, saying that his opponent Prabowo owned 220,000 hectares of land in East Kalimantan and 120,000 hectares of land in Central Aceh last Sunday. During the session, Prabowo admitted of controlling plots of state land with a status of HGU.

“This piece of information released by presidential candidate number 01 is an irony, where information that should be made public, and that previously hidden, was disclosed in a debate stage of presidential candidates as an effort to preserve the reign,” said Mufti Barri, manager of campaign and policy intervention of FWI, in a press release today, February 20.

Meanwhile, he opined, the urgency in exposing HGU information; such as solving a social conflict, overlapping permits, and deforestation, was set aside.

ICEL Director Henri Subagiyo supported the revelation of HGU information conveyed by Jokowi. However, he lamented the inconsistency behavior of Jokowi in light of the issue.

Henri pinned hope Prabowo could wisely respond to the matter. Moreover, Prabowo had stated his vision on a more evenly distributed and just management of natural resources (SDA).

“It is impossible to actualize it if people do not have information and control on the HGU permit issuance which is still being closed until today and can be accessed only by some people,” Henri added.

Greenpeace Indonesia also urged the government to publicize all information about HGU so that the public could acknowledge which party has a privilege in controlling plots of land.

“If Jokowi and Prabowo really concern about environment and transparency issue, they should put care and fully support this information disclosure issue on HGU,” said Asep Komarudin, a forest campaigner of Greenpeace Indonesia.

 

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1177770/3-ngos-demand-issue-on-prabowos-hgu-not-used-as-political-tool

With Its $3.85b Mine Takeover, Indonesia Inherits a $13b Pollution Problem

Panoramic view of the Grasberg gold and copper mine in Indonesian Papua on the island of New Guinea. (Image by Richard Jones/Flickr ; Mongabay)

 

  • The Indonesian government has acquired a majority stake in the operator of the Grasberg mine, one of the world’s biggest copper and gold mines.
  • The $3.85 billion deal has been lauded as a move toward resource sovereignty, but there’s been little mention of who inherits the massive pollution legacy left from decades of mining waste being dumped in rivers and forests.
  • Activists are also calling for clarity in how the acquisition will improve the lives of the indigenous Papuan communities living around the mine, as well as end the long-running conflicts pitting them against the mine operator and security forces.

 

JAKARTA — When the Indonesian government took a controlling stake in the operator of one of the world’s richest gold mines at the end of 2018, proponents hailed the move as a historic step toward national and economic resource sovereignty.

The breathless media coverage of the transaction, which saw the government take a 51 percent stake in PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), previously majority-owned by Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan, framed it as the “return” of a prized asset — the Grasberg gold and copper mine — to the Indonesian public after decades of foreign control.

But little was said about the long legacy of toxic pollution from the mine, or how exactly the new arrangement, at a cost of $3.85 billion to Indonesia, would finally bring real benefits to the indigenous people on whose land the mine sits, and who remain among the most impoverished communities in Indonesia.

 

Inheriting a pollution problem

Under the terms of the acquisition, a 41.2 percent stake in PTFI goes to state-owned smelting company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, better known as Inalum. A 10 percent stake is held by the government of Papua province, where Grasberg is located. That latter stake, in turn, is managed 60:40 between an Inalum-controlled company and a province-owned firm. Freeport remains the operator of the mine.

But along with ownership in one of the most coveted mines on Earth, Inalum and the Papua government have also inherited a pollution problem stemming from the mining waste, or tailings, churned out by PTFI over decades.

“Does the completion of the divestment deal mean that the environmental problems can be resolved? No,” said Merah Johansyah Ismail, national coordinator of the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam), an NGO. Following the takeover, he says, the national and provincial governments will also have to take the brunt of the fallout from the environmental damage caused by the mining operations.

Read moreWith Its $3.85b Mine Takeover, Indonesia Inherits a $13b Pollution Problem

Plenty of Homework Left as Indonesian Palm Oil Industry Enters 2019

As Indonesia’s palm oil industry prepares to enter 2019, its stakeholders are pointing out the substantial number of homework that remained to be done to turn an industry which has become one of the nation’s main bread earner into one that is sustainable and therefore immune to the continuous attacks and criticism it has been plagued so far.

Derom Bangun, Chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Council (DMSI) said that the heaviest and pressing challenge faced by the Indonesian palm oil industry was its sustainability, that everyone adheres to good agriculture practices.

“The biggest challenge is the matter of sustainability that needs to be accelerated so that the negative accusations addressed against the palm oil industry could be silenced,” Bangun told The Palm Scribe in a short text message.

He said that besides accelerating the process of sustainability certification to cover at least all palm oil plantation, it was also important for all companies to control their operation so that they do not engage in practices that could result in criticism from others. A consistent and persuasive supervisory role of the government was also needed to ensure the good practices are respected.

Tiur Rumondang, Indonesia Director of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) also said that Indonesia needed to be able to show that palm oil is and can be sustainably grown in Indonesia but emphasized that this needed collaborative efforts from all stakeholders.

Read morePlenty of Homework Left as Indonesian Palm Oil Industry Enters 2019

Power Plants Endanger RI Oceans

Indonesia’s marine ecosystem is under threat from dozens of coal-fired power plants (PLTU) that dump hazardous wastewater into the ocean, a study has revealed.

The Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) said the government had for years upheld a regulation that allowed wastewater from the PLTU, including those located in coastal areas, to be dumped at high temperatures, which has been found to be destructive for the marine ecosystem.

Based on ICEL data, at least 15 out of 29 PLTUs in the country are located in coastal areas and all of them dump waste into the sea. The government is planning to develop 95 more PLTUs over the next 10 years, 71 of which will be situated by the sea.

ICEL researcher Angela Vania Rustandi said the government upheld Environment and Forestry Ministerial Regulation No. 8/2009 on wastewater quality standards, which stipulates that the maximum temperature of wastewater is 40 degrees Celsius.

Read morePower Plants Endanger RI Oceans

5 Bird Species Lose Protections, More at Risk in New Indonesia Decree

  • Five bird species in Indonesia have lost their protected status under a new ministerial decree, issued last month in response to complaints from songbird collectors.
  • The decree also establishes additional guidelines for birds to be granted protected status, which effectively sets the stage for any species to be dropped from the list if it is deemed of high economic value to the songbird fan community.
  • Scientists and wildlife experts have criticized the removal of the five species from the protected list, and the new criteria for granting protected status.
  • Indonesia is home to the largest number of threatened bird species in Asia, but their populations in the wild are severely threatened by overexploitation.

JAKARTA — A new decree from Indonesian authorities drops five bird species from a newly expanded list of protected wildlife, and potentially sets the stage for more to follow by widening the scope under which protected status can be rescinded.

The capture and trade of the white-rumped shama (Kittacincla malabarica), Javan pied starling (Gracupica jalla), straw-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus), Sangihe shrikethrush (Colluricincla sanghirensis) and little shrikethrush (Colluricincla megarhyncha) will remain illegal without a government permit, but the lack of protected status means violators won’t face the jail time or hefty fines prescribed in the 1990 Conservation Act.

Four of the birds were among hundreds of species added to the ministry’s list of protected species this past June. The fifth bird, the little shrikethrush, was on the original list published in 1999. All five have now been removed from the list following the publication on Sept. 5 of a decree from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry

The capture of wild birds is to be regulated through a government permit-and-quota system that is supposed to consider recommendations from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), a state-funded think tank. Mohammad Irham, a senior ornithologist at LIPI, said his institution would reject requests to capture any of the five now-unprotected species from the wild.

He criticized the rescinding of their protected status, saying it would hasten their decline in the wild. “Our decision is based on scientific data, papers and surveys on the populations of these species in the wild,” he told Mongabay.

The ministerial decree also establishes additional guidelines for birds to be granted protected status, such as the popularity of a given species for breeding and for songbird competitions.

Under current rules, protected status can be granted to a species that is native to Indonesia, has a limited range, and has a small and dwindling population. But the decree adds new criteria for birds alone: the popularity of a species among breeders and hobbyists, the extent to which it contributes to people’s livelihoods, and the frequency with which it appears in songbird competitions.

“There’s a huge local economy aspect to the birdkeeping business,” Wiratno, the environment ministry’s director general for biodiversity conservation, told reporters on Oct. 2.

Read more5 Bird Species Lose Protections, More at Risk in New Indonesia Decree