Sat, 12 Apr 2003

Minister under fire for deforestation

PEKANBARU, Riau: Thirty activists from three environmental protection groups here lodged a protest against rampant deforestation with State Minister for the Environment Nabiel Makarim on Friday.

The Riau Forest Rescue Network (Jikalahari), the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in Riau and the Association of Non-Political Organizations of Riau demanded that the minister cancel environmental permits for 312 companies they said had failed to conserve forests in Riau.

They also demanded that companies converting natural forests in Riau be denied environmental permits and that relevant regencies stop issuing licenses for pulp production increases in their respective areas.

In response, the visiting Nabiel expressed his gratitude to the protesters and said he hoped more information on Riau's environmental situation would be addressed to his office in East Jakarta. --Antara