Sat, 25 Jan 2003

Residents complain Ciesek pollution

BOGOR: Residents of Cilember in Bogor, West Java, have demanded that tapioca producer PT Alfa Abadi cease dumping untreated waste into the Ciesek River, which flows through their village.

Residents said the pollution meant they could no longer use the river water as many had suffered skin infections from taking a bath in the river.

Bebeng, one of more than 1,000 people living in the village, said the plant was built in 1998 in the center of the village and dumped its waste directly into the river.

"The company is not in operation daily. They operate according to orders. If they've got orders then they'll be in operation. But we suffer daily," he said Friday.

He said local residents relied on the river for bathing and cleaning their laundry.

Ninah, 30, another resident, said some even used the river as a source of drinking water.

The residents sent a letter to the company on Dec. 29 asking it to stop dumping its wastes into the river. On Jan. 8, the company responded by saying that it would close its operations on Jan. 10 and evaluate its future.

But so far, there has been no announcement on its evaluation and whether it will continue to operate as usual.--JP