Fri, 11 Jun 2004

Mayor names nine toxic industries on environment day

Multa Fidrus and Evi Mariani, Tangerang/Jakarta

Tangerang Mayor Wahidin Halim on Thursday named nine industrial firms he said were responsible for polluting the municipality and said another 83 firms had yet to provide details about how they disposed of hazerdous waste.

The firms named were PT Argo Pantas, Perlita Cenkareng, Indometal, Surya Renggo, Lengtat Tangerang Leather, Tonikitex, Harlipan Batik, Sejahtera Metal and Vonicc Latyexindo.

Wahidin said the other 83 firms had yet to submit their semester reports detailing the production and disposal of industrial waste.

The mayor made the announcement during a ceremony to commemorate World Environment Day and National Awakening Day at the Cultural Center on Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan.

Wahidin said evidence against the named companies came from reports made by the Office of the State Minister of the Environment's Rating Program since 2003.

Tangerang is home to some 800 industries located in the Batu Ceper, Jatiuwung and Benda districts. Pollution of waterways and land in the area is high.

After the ceremony, Wahidin took a boat ride along the Cisadane River from the Cultural Center to Kebon Nanas area. On the way he initiated the planting of 11,000 trees along the riverbanks.

Wahidin urged the Tangerang Police to investigate and prosecute firms where there was evidence they had polluted the environment.

"Businessmen should not only benefit from industry, they have a moral reponsibility to maintain the environment," he said.

Meanwhile, National Police forensic laboratory head Brig. Gen. Dudon Setiaputra said he knew the result of a test sample from the polluted waters around the Thousand Islands area but refused to give further details.

"Ask Jakarta Police chief (Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanegara) tomorrow," he said.

The test compared water samples from the polluted waters and coral reefs around the islands with samples from a nearby oil rig belonging to the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC).

If the samples match, police are likely to conclude CNOOC is responsible for the pollution, which has killed many sea creatures and discouraged tourists from visiting the Pabelokan resort island.

Dudon said the lab also tested samples taken from Jakarta Bay, where thousands of fish were found dead in early May.

"The city police have already submitted evidence of the pollution, including dried fish, dried crabs and sea water samples," he said. "However, the evidence was not deemed sufficient, so we have had to take coral reef samples from the bay."

"We are still analyzing the samples and it will take some time because we have to separate each chemical substance from the samples," Dudon said.

The Jakarta Environmental Management Agency, which first investigated the pollution, concluded a rapid proliferation of red algae in the bay had killed the fish. Red algae consumes large amounts of oxygen, causing fish to suffocate and die.

However, Dudon said the police team might come up with a different conclusion. "The red algae theory has not been tested in the laboratory," he said.

He could not say when the lab test results would be made public.

I-box Nine industrial firms allegedly polluting rivers 1. PT Argo Pantes

One of the area's largest garment producers gets a big red spot against it in the rating program for dumping its poisonous waste into the river without proper processing. Chemical sludge was also found dumped outside the firm's waste treatment facility.

2. PT Pelita Cengkareng

The firm is disposing its unprocessed liquid waste into the Mookervart River. It has never held air tests on the thick smoke pouring from its chimneys. Chemical sludge from the plant used to cover several large areas.

3. PT Indometal

This metals firm dumps untreated waste into the Cisadane River through waterways. Its waste treatment facility does not function properly either.

4. PT Surya Renggo

This printing firm dumps toxic liquid waste into a nearby ditch that later flows into the Mookervart River. The firm's waste treatment facility only filters the waste but does not process it.

5. PT Lengtat Tangerang Leather,

This firm dumps chemical waste from its leather processing straight into the Cisadane River. Its poor waste treatment facility means its waste fails to meet safe environmental standards.

6. PT Tonikitex

Disposes waste from its towel dying process into a drain that flows into the Ciracab River. The firm does not have a waste treatment facility.

7. PT Harlipan Batik

This firm dumps its poisonous residue from batik processing into a nearby ditch. It does not have a waste treatment facility and its operating permit has expired.

8. PT Sejahtera Metal

This heavy industry dumps dangerous waste from its iron layering process straight into the Cisadane River. It does not have a waste treatment facility. It also fails to meet other health, cleanliness and safety standards.

9. PT Vonicc Latyexindo

Dumps its toxic liquid waste onto land. The firm does not have a waste treatment facility.

Source: Tangerang municipality administration