ICEL

ICEL

Indonesia, Facing a Waste Crisis, Plans to Burn It for Electricity

  • The Indonesian government has targeted four cities in Java island to build incineration facilities this year to tackle the country’s plastic waste crisis.
  • Environmentalists say burning waste to generate electricity is not a sustainable solution to the issue, and will only add more problems, including the emission of toxic gases.
  • They instead suggest tackling the problem at the source, by reducing the amount of waste produced in the first place.
  • Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest source of the plastic trash that ends up in the oceans, after China.

JAKARTA — The Indonesian government plans to burn waste to fuel power plants in four cities on the island of Java this year as part of efforts to tackle the country’s plastic waste crisis.

Indonesia is the second-biggest contributor, after China, to the plastic waste that end up in the oceans, and is among a growing number of Asian countries refusing to import waste from developed countries.

President Joko Widodo called for a solution to the waste problem during a July 16 cabinet meeting, and criticized the lack of updates on plans to build waste incinerators.

“To this day, I haven’t heard any progress on which ones are already online and which ones are already built,” he said in a statement issued by the government.

“This isn’t about the electricity. We want to resolve the trash issue; the electricity comes afterward,” he added.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said that 12 cities had proposed building waste-fueled power plants, but only Jakarta, Surabaya, Bekasi and Solo were ready to do so before the end of this year.

Read moreIndonesia, Facing a Waste Crisis, Plans to Burn It for Electricity

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

Indonesian Conservation Bill is Weak on Wildlife Crime, Critics Say

An orangutan hanging between trees in a Bornean rainforest in East Kalimantan, a province in the Indonesian part of the island. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay

 

  • Lawmakers in Indonesia have submitted for review to President Joko Widodo’s administration a bill that would overhaul the country’s 28-year-old conservation law.
  • While environmental advocates have long pushed for updates to the law, the new draft has alarmed many with its various provisions that critics say represent a regression from the existing legislation.
  • Problem articles include a “self-defense” clause that would waive criminal charges for killing protected wildlife; a more nebulous definition of wildlife crime that some fear could make it harder to crack down on traffickers; and the opening up of conservation areas to geothermal exploration and other “strategic development” projects.
  • The ball is now in the court of the government, which is required to review the bill before sending it back to parliament for final passage. However, a minister says the government will “hold off” on its review, and suggests the existing conservation law is sufficient.

 

JAKARTA — Environmental advocates have warned that proposed revisions to Indonesia’s conservation act could provide new loopholes for wildlife traffickers, who already enjoy a thriving trade in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries.

The revision of the conservation act, formally the Natural Resources Conservation Law of 1990, was widely anticipated to help authorities crack down harder on the illegal wildlife trade. And the latest draft submitted by parliament to the government for review does make some moves toward that goal: it would ban the trade in species not mentioned on Indonesia’s list of protected species but that are regulated by CITES, the main international treaty on endangered animals and plants. For instance, it could help close a loophole that allows traffickers to move items such as African elephant ivory through the Southeast Asian country with impunity.

But critics point to a longer list of problems with the bill. It makes no mention of online trafficking, a growing problem as traders move to platforms such as Facebook and Kaskus, Indonesia’s largest internet forum. It doesn’t seem to address the issue of giving endangered animal parts as gifts — a practice still carried out in places like Papua province, where officials have been known to distribute souvenirs made from rare birds-of-paradise.

Neither does it upgrade sentencing guidelines for wildlife crimes that conservationists say are in dire need of change. Under the current legislation, traffickers can receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison. But in reality, offenders are rarely prosecuted; on the few occasions they are, they typically receive token sentences far below the maximum. Conservationists have called for the introduction of minimum sentences to combat the problem.

“This bill falls short of our expectations,” Samedi, program director at the Indonesia Biodiversity Foundation (Kehati), said at a recent press conference in Jakarta, convened by NGOs to air their concerns about the bill. “It weakens the current law which is already pretty weak.”

Read moreIndonesian Conservation Bill is Weak on Wildlife Crime, Critics Say

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.

Read moreRI Faces Tough Battle Against River Pollution