Tue, 09 Nov 1999

Alert sounded in dumping of hazardous waste in RI

JAKARTA (JP): The Agency for Environment Control (Bappedal) warned on Monday of hazardous waste imported from Singapore and Taiwan.

Recent research conducted by the agency on samples of waste from the mass rapid transportation construction project in Singapore revealed that it contained "dubiously legal construction waste," Bappedal deputy chief of the environmental pollution control division Haryoto Kusnoputranto told Antara.

Haryoto said the illegal material was transported by two ships from Singapore to Bangka Island, South Sumatra on the recommendation of former state minister of environment Panangian Siregar.

"The recommendation served only as an initial approval to waste importing activities, but it needed Bappedal's agreement," Haryoto said, adding that his office had not issued the approval yet.

He explained that Bappedal assigned an investigative team to go to Riau to collect a sample of the imported waste for testing at the Bappedal laboratory and to estimate the pollution level caused by the waste.

The analysis of the waste would be finalized in the next few days, he said.

The Riau provincial government has also refused entry for construction waste from Singapore, which could cause destruction of the soil, especially its fertility.

New State Minister of Environment Soni Keraf indicated on Sunday that he would issue a regulation to revoke his predecessor's recommendation.

Haryoto also warned all governors to be very cautious of imported hazardous waste from Taiwan, which was suspected to contain radioactive material.

He said the waste was believed to have been dumped in remote areas away from the surveillance of regional administrations and officials.

"We have alerted all regions and all governors to increase surveillance on remote areas, which seem to be targeted," Haryoto was quoted by Antara as saying.

Surveillance of Taiwanese ships in Indonesian waters also had to be increased to prevent hazardous waste dumping, he said. (02)