Tue, 24 Jun 2003

People protest polluting plants

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Residents of three separate areas have lodged a complaint with the City Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) over pollution allegedly produced by three concrete mixing firms.

"We received their complaints recently, and will summon the three firms and the residents for a meeting on Tuesday for a clarification on the matter," head of BPLHD's environmental impact analysis division Ridwan Panjaitan said on Monday.

The residents are from the East Jakarta neighborhoods along Jl. Suci, Susukan, Ciracas; along Jl. Pemuda, Rawamangun, Pulogadung; and of Bambu Apus, Cipayung. The three groups are protesting against concrete mixing plants owned by three different companies -- PT Jaya Readymix, PT Adhimix and PT Pioneer -- located in the three respective neighborhoods, Ridwan told The Jakarta Post and Koran Tempo dailies.

In the case of PT Jaya Readymix, Ridwan said, the company had already fulfilled all legalities for their operation.

Jaya Readymix had full ownership of the location and a street access, he explained, and it had also obtained all necessary licenses, including the environmental impact analysis, in 1995. However, they were unable to continue operating during the country's prolonged economic crisis, and neighborhood residents began using the street access.

When the company began operating the plant late last year, residents started complaining about the pollution allegedly produced by the plant, like noise and dust, and also complained that the ground water supply had become scarce.

"According to the existing law, the company must fulfill the people's demand to reduce noise, dust and pollution ... Otherwise, it can face a forced closure (by the city administration)," said Ridwan, referring to Law No. 23/1997 on environmental management.

The law states that the company can also provide compensation to those residents who are affected by the pollution.

In the case of PT Adhimix, the residents protested that the plant had been operating without the consent of the entire neighborhood.

Ridwan said the company claimed that prior to the operation of their plant, they had conducted a meeting with local residents and received their consent. Those who were protesting, said the company, had not attended the meeting.

Separately, several Bambu Apus residents protested against the plant owned by PT Pioneer, which failed to manage the pollution it produced.

"The company claims that they have taken all measures to reduce the pollution, but the residents' complaint tells us that there is something wrong in its implementation," said Ridwan.