Sun, 06 Mar 2005

Dump closure not necessary: Minister

INDONESIA: State Minister of the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said that the Leuwigajah dump in Cimahi would not have to be closed if people living in the surrounding area could be relocated.

"I've heard that the local people want to be relocated. If it's true, then why should the dump be closed," asked the minister on Saturday, during a visit to the dump and landslide- affected areas in Bandung.

Mountains of garbage in the 25-hectare dump collapsed on Feb. 21, flattening 70 houses below. As of Saturday, 131 bodies had been recovered from the disaster site out of a reported 143 people buried in the slide.

Rachmat said the disaster should teach people a lesson about the need to conduct an environmental impact analysis for every project. -- JP