Fri, 05 Sep 2003

Bapedal to seu 13 polluting firms

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan, North Sumatra

The North Sumatra Regional Environmental Impact Management Agency (Bapedalda) said on Thursday that it would again file a lawsuit against at least 13 major companies in the province accused of polluting the environment.

"The companies are 13 of 85 large companies on the blacklist that have been shown to be polluting the environment," Bapedalda chairman Hakimil Nasution told The Jakarta Post.

He said the accused firms, including hospitals and those operating in the industry, agriculture and forestry sectors, produced "dangerous toxic waste" in their operations.

The 13 polluting companies are: PT Gunung Gapi Sakti, PT Growth Sumatera Indonesia, PT Sinar Mulia, Gleneagles Hospital, Materna Hospital, Elizabeth Hospital, PT Allegrindo Nusantara, PT Sumpido Kencana, PT Damai Abadi, PT Kelambir Jaya, PT Sari Tani Jaya Sumatera and PT Alpo Citra Abadi.

Hakimil could not say when his office would file the lawsuits against the 13 companies, as their dossiers were being compiled now.

Bapedalda had sued the same firms before, but a district court dismissed the lawsuit, claiming that their case files were not complete.

"We will continue our efforts to take them (13 companies) to court for legal recourse, like we did against PT Everbright," Hakimil said.

PT Everbright, a battery manufacturing company, was sued last year for environmental damages and the Medan District Court found it guilty of polluting. Its director was sentenced to one year in prison and fined Rp 100 million (US$11,904).

He said Bapedalda was also investigating 72 other companies and would take them to court on similar charges, if they were found to be producing and releasing pollutants into the environment.

The blacklisted 85 companies operate in 15 regencies in North Sumatra, including 11 in Binjai, 10 in Tanjung Balai, nine in Simalungun, eight in Karo, seven in Pematang Siantar and six in Central Tapanuli.

Bapedalda's plans to sue these companies has received positive response from members of the North Sumatra legislative council.

The legislators have even called on Bapedalda to be made an independent agency, "so it will have more power to investigate all pollution cases," councillor Sanggam Bakkara said.