Thu, 03 Jul 2003

City threatens to sue polluting companies

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The City Environment Management Board (BP-LHD) threatened on Wednesday to sue several steel smelters in East Jakarta for pollution.

The head of BP-LHD's environment control division, Ridwan Panjaitan, said reports of air pollution caused by factories along Jl. Raya Bekasi had been confirmed by Rawa Terate subdistrict head Sopiih during a meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.

Ridwan was referring to complaints by Rawa Terate residents recently reported by The Jakarta Post. In following up on the complaints, BP-LHD invited executives of the accused companies to attend a meeting at City Hall and explain themselves.

Among those present at the meeting were representatives of PT Jakarta Cakratunggal Steel Mills, PT Jakarta Steel Megah Utama, PT Polo Gadung Steel, PT The Master Steel Nfg. Co., PT Indonesia Acid Industries and PT Mahkota Indonesia.

Ridwan said that within two weeks, the companies were required to submit reports to his office about what actions they were taking to address the pollution problem in the area.

"If they fail to file a report about what actions they are taking to resolve the environmental problem, we will sue them for violating the law on the environment," he said, adding that his office would send teams to monitor the companies.

A number of residents of Rawa Terate have complained about serious air pollution in the area, which they said was causing various illnesses among residents.

Kiki Berliana, head of the local health center, confirmed that residents were suffering from illnesses believed to be caused by air pollution.

Ridwan said that in an effort to curb air pollution in the area, companies were fitting out their factories with dust collectors, but most of them did not work properly.

"We hope that the companies will respond to the complaints immediately so that the air pollution problem can be addressed," he said, noting that his office would follow up on any environmental complaints in the city.