Govt Takes More Time Over Stricter Emissions Rule

The government is working on revisions to a ministerial regulation that will impose stricter emission rules on the country’s coal-fired power plants in a bid to curb air pollution.

The stricter emissions rule would affect power plant operators, and several industry players have filed objections because they would be required to spend significant amounts of money on air pollution control equipment. Because of arguments over the issue, the government needs more time for negotiation.

“We previously set a target to complete the revision in last December. However, we are still having some tough discussions with relevant stakeholders, as industry players say the new standards are too strict, while environmentalists say the opposite,” the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s air pollution control director Dasrul Chaniago told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

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NGO: Planned New Coal Emission Standards Not Strict Enough

A freight train transports coal in this undated photograph. (


The Environment and Forestry Ministry has been urged to be more ambitious concerning stricter emission standards for coal-fired power plants in an upcoming revision of Regulation No. 21/2008 on stationary sources of air pollutants.

Through the revision, the ministry plans to impose stricter emission standards by setting a maximum emission level of 550 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/Nm3) for sulfur dioxide ( SO2 ) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) as well as 75 mg/Nm3 for particulate matters for coal plants in operation before Dec. 1, 2008.

Margaretha Quina, the head of the pollution control division at the Jakarta-based Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), said the scope of the new standards was too broad, as it would also apply to old power plants built in the 1980s.

“The government should just shut down such old power plants, instead of forcing them to install air pollution control facilities,” Quina said recently.

Furthermore, the ministry will set maximum levels of 400 mg/Nm3 for SO2, 300 mg/Nm3 for NOx and 50 mg/Nm3 for particulate matter from power plants commencing operations in the period of Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2020.

Quina pointed out, however, that there were actually many coal-fired power plants in the country, specifically those built in the 2006-2010 period, that were cabable of emitting no more than 300 mg/Nm3 of SO2 and NOx.

“Hence, it would make sense to make the new emission standards even more strict,” she said. (bbn)


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RI Faces Tough Battle Against River Pollution

Although authorities have made a string of efforts to control water pollution in river basins, a tough battle remains ahead. Environmental damage and pollution still occur in major rivers and river basin areas (DAS) across Indonesia, such as the Citarum River in West Java, despite various initiatives launched to clear them of waste, sediments and other pollutants, according to the Environment and Forestry Ministry.

Ministry data from last year reveals that only 2.01 percent of rivers in Indonesia have water that meets quality standards for human consumption, while 73.24 percent are heavily polluted. The ministry further says that 108 DAS are in a critical condition.

Under the 2015-2019 National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN), the government aims to revitalize 15 DAS across the country so they can meet water quality standards by 2019.With only one year left, the Environment and Forestry Ministry is boosting efforts to control river pollution by, among others things, issuing ministerial decrees on river loading capacity.

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Activists Urge Government to Improve Air Quality ahead of Asian Games

Several environmental activists from the Clean Air Movement have urged the government to pay attention to air quality in Jakarta ahead of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra given the high level of air pollution in the country.

Workers install a lamp on an Asian Games banner on the Semanggi overpass in South Jakarta, Oct. 26 . (JP/Seto Wardhana)


Committee for the Phasing Out of Leaded Fuel (KPBB) executive director Ahmad Safrudin said from 2011 to 2016 the air in the country had been exposed to pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide and Lead.

The toxic air had been caused by the use of motor vehicles, forest and land fires, power plants and smelters, construction and waste processes, as well as household activities, Ahmad said on Monday.

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Development Trumps Environment in 2017: ICEL

The environment was sidelined in many government policies this year, with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo pushing for infrastructure development, a new study conducted by the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) has revealed.

The Jakarta-based think tank noted in its annual environmental policy study published Friday that numerous policies were issued this year by various institutions, including the legislative body and the judiciary. But none focused on protecting the environment and local residents.

“The development of mega infrastructure projects and the protection of the environment and natural resources were not proportional in 2017,” ICEL executive director Henri Subagiyo told a media conference.

The report focuses on two regulations issued earlier this year by Jokowi’s administration, allowing a revision to spatial planning documents to pave the way for what the administration calls “national strategic projects.”

In April, Jokowi issued Government Regulation No. 13/2017 on National Spatial Planning, which ICEL said contained significant changes that could affect the environment, such as giving the agrarian and spatial planning minister the right to provide recommendations on spatial planning changes for infrastructure development.

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Indonesia’s Plantation Lobby Challenges Environmental Law

Fire set for peatland clearing on Indonesia’s main western island of Sumatra in July 2015. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.


JAKARTA — Palm oil and paper lobby groups have asked Indonesia’s highest court to strike down rules holding plantation firms strictly liable for fires that occur on their land.

The groups have also asked the Constitutional Court to eliminate a regulation letting small farmers practice slash-and-burn techniques, the cheapest land-clearing method and a mainstay of indigenous cultures in the Muslim-majority archipelago nation.

The judicial review, filed last month by the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) and the Indonesian Association of Forestry Concessionaires (APHI), has prompted a backlash from critics who say it threatens the environment and indigenous peoples’ rights.

It comes amid a larger debate over who bears responsibility for the devastating fires that burn annually across Indonesia’s vast peat swamp zones, which have been widely drained and dried by oil palm and timber growers — and rendered highly flammable. The great fires of 2015 burned an area the size of Vermont, blanketed Southeast Asia in haze and sickened half a million people.

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