Tag Archive for 'Citarum River'

Citarum polluters more than 71 companies: Deputy governor

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“West Java Deputy Governor Deddy Mizwar has said more than 71 companies were thought to be involved in environmental pollution in the Citarum River basin.

“Based on our data, the number of industrial players polluting the Citarum River is far higher than that stated in the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) report. The BPK earlier reported there were 17 companies. It’s not 17, it’s more than 71 companies,” said Deddy in Bandung on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Speaking to journalists after attending a plenary meeting at the West Java Legislative Council (DPRD), Deddy said if only 17 companies were polluting the Citarum as stated in the BPK report on the audit, which was carried out in 2012-2013, damage to the river basin would not be as severe it was.

He acknowledged that the budget allocated by the government to tackle pollution in the Citarum River was quite substantial. “We have spent a lot of money over time, but there have been no significant results,” said Deddy.

In 2013, environmental organization Green Cross Switzerland and international nonprofit organization Blacksmith Institute named the Citarum River among the world’s 10 most polluted places.”

Read more: Jakarta Post


Gap Dumping Toxic Wastewater

Photo retrieved from: worldcrunch.com

“Gap, Brooks Brothers and other fashion brands are dumping toxic wastewater in Indonesia waterways, Greenpeace says.

In its latest report, Toxic Threads: Polluting Paradise, Greenpeace investigates the PT Gistex factory, located near Bandung in West Java, with 60 percent of production located in the Citarum River watershed. The facility does polyester weaving and wet processing for several fashion brands, Greenpeace says. The nonprofit collected samples of wastewater discharged from the PT Gistex facility and found toxic chemicals — including nonylphenol (NP), nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE) and tributyl phosphate (TBP) — being pumped in the Citarum.

NPs and NPEs are highly toxic to aquatic organisms, the EPA says. Once released into the water system, NPEs degrade to NP, which is bioaccumulative and can act as a hormone disruptor, according to the agency. TBP is also toxic to aquatic life.

Brooks Brothers has acknowledged a business relationship with parts of PT Gistex Group, the report says. Greenpeace says is has urged the company to sign on to its Detox Fashion campaign and eliminate hazardous chemicals from its supply chains and products.”

Read more: Environmental Leader


INDONESIA: Living with dirty water

Photo retrieved from: www.irinnews.org

“Heavy pollution of river water by household and industrial waste in the Indonesian province of West Java is threatening the health of at least five million people living on the riverbanks, say government officials and water experts.

Poor sanitation and hygiene cause 50,000 deaths annually in Indonesia, with untreated sewage resulting in over six million tons of human waste being released into inland water bodies, according to an ongoing study by the World Bank.

Ibu Sutria, 53, lives in a wooden shack on the banks of West Java’s Krukut River, which runs approximately 20km south from the capital, Jakarta, to the city of Depok. “Sometimes the river is clean, sometimes it’s dirty,” she said. Sutria suffers from regular bouts of stomach ache and diarrhoea, and says the river is constantly flooded.

“People use the river for a toilet and children play in it because they have nowhere else to swim.” She and others in her community use nearby ground water to wash themselves because they think it is cleaner than river water.

Pak Jumari, 35, is a leader of a community group living along the Ciliwung River, which runs north for 97km from the West Java city of Bogor. Since 2010 he has been using a boat to keep his own section of the Ciliwung clean by scooping out rubbish. “We find many detergents and soaps in the river, “he said. “We no longer use it for washing or drinking.”

Fishermen on the Ciliwung use “blast fishing” – bombs made of kerosene and fertilizer to kill fish so they are easier to catch – which has worsened pollution. Nevertheless, his community still fishes in the river, with few reported ill effects, he said.”

Read more: IRIN

Government’s Citarum River dredging project kicks off

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“Public Works Minister Joko Kirmanto will inaugurate the project at the flood-prone Baleendah district, Bandung regency, some 15 kilometers south of Bandung city. The dredging project will stretch some 180 kilometers.

Citarum River Area Center head Hasanudin said the labor-intensive project was expected to be completed in three years and would minimize the annual flooding of as much as 7,000 hectares as the Citarum River swells during the rainy season, which usually leaves Bandung, Purwakarta, Karawang and Bekasi regencies inundated.

“The project will simultaneously be carried out from Sapan in Bandung regency, Najung and Jatiluhur in Purwakarta and Muara Gembong in Bekasi,” Hasanudin told The Jakarta Post in Bandung on Tuesday.

The normalization project includes dredging millions of cubic meters of sediment, making sheet piles for embankments, pedestrian bridges and straightening a number of stretches thus far regarded as impeding the river flow.

Hasanudin said the project came in anticipation of the quinquennial flooding that usually engulfs some 12,000 hectares in river basin areas. The last floods were in February of last year, leaving 50,000 hectares of farmland in Karawang flooded for three weeks.

Some 250 NGO community empowerment groups will help educate residents living near the Citarum River, showing them how to protect the river basin areas. The NGOs will encourage residents to recycle waste rather than dump it into the river.”

Read more: The Jakarta Post

Scientists Warn Of Citarum Pollution Dangers

Citarum River. Retrieved from: www.bitsandpieces.com

“Sunardi, a lecturer in environmental toxicology at Padjadjaran University in Bandung, West Java, said that if the pollution continued it would disrupt the river ecosystem, which could lead to the loss of fish and diseases for humans. “The first diseases that could hit people living along the river are skin diseases and diarrhea. If the river is heavily polluted by heavy metals, the effects are not be seen instantly. It will take years, even decades, to see the impact,” he said.

Gadis Sri Haryani, limnology director at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), expressed a similar opinion saying that if the Citarum River continued to be polluted by heavy metal substances, it could have results similar to the Minamata disease in Japan.

Minamata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by mercury poisoning. It was caused by the release of methyl mercury in the industrial wastewater from the Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory, which happened from 1932 to 1968. The toxic chemical accumulated in fish which were eaten by locals.

Symptoms include numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms.

By March 2001, 2,265 victims had been officially recognized with 1,784 fatalities,and over 10,000 receiving financial compensation from the company. By 2004, the company had paid US$86 million in compensation, and in the same year was ordered to clean up its contamination.”

Read more: Jakarta Post

Citarum River Brings Fresh Water Along With Disease, Poor Harvests

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“The heavily polluted Citarum River has become a vector for disease for the 25 million people in western Java who rely on it for potable water and irrigation. In the first of three articles, The Jakarta Post’s Tifa Asrianti reports on the river’s deteriorating condition and its public health effects.

Nurhayati, 38, a resident of Sukamaju village in Majalaya, Bandung regency held up her right hand.

Compared to her smooth left hand, the right was wrinkled and had swollen wounds, making it look as if it belonged to a much older person.

“This has been going on for eight months. At night it feels hot and itchy. I can’t concentrate on my work,” Nur said.

She is one of hundreds of people in Sukamaju suffering from the same symptoms.

While medication obtained from a local health community center has helped other residents with the same malady, the problem will return if the residents continue to draw water from the river.

Citarum River traverses 269 kilometers through nine regencies and three cities. Of the 25 million people who depend on the river, 10 million live along its banks, split evenly between urban and rural residents.

There are significant agricultural activities along the riverbanks, interspersed with scattered industrial clusters.

Pollution in Citarum River raises health and food security issues, as residents living along its banks use water from the river for their daily needs.”

Read more: Jakarta Post

Cleaning Citarum

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“It has been two years since the government embarked on a grand scheme to clean Citarum River and its tributaries, which 25 million people depend on water and electricity.

The first year was spent planning the gargantuan task of cleaning the heavily polluted river, while last year saw the start of several programs out of a total of 80 that are planned.

The program, Integrated Citarum: Water Resources Management Investment Program — or the Citarum Roadmap for short — is a 15-year plan to reduce pollution in the Citarum River. The roadmap encompasses 80 activities, from waterway management and environmental preservation, to disaster mitigation and community empowerment.

This year, several government bodies have started running their programs, including raising awareness and constructing physical infrastructure.

The project is the first of its kind in terms of scale, and the extensive involvement of various stakeholders, from local communities and NGOs, to seven ministries and 12 local administrations.

The government teams in the field, however, have been facing various kinds of challenges.

Many factories still dump their untreated waste in the river, polluting Citarum with heavy metals that will not be easy to remove. The administrations, meanwhile, have yet to enforce the bylaw on industrial waste. ”

Read more: The Jakarta Post

Government urged to pass Citarum River basin area bill

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“Padjadjaran University Community Service Research Institute secretary Chay Asdak said that a regulation was drafted in 2005 but it had not been approved.

“He blamed the rivalry between the Forestry and Public Works Ministries for stalling the passing of the regulation, saying both ministries had special interests in the area.

“The Public Works Ministry has interests in water distribution and consumption, while the Forestry Ministry has interests in production,” said Chay, who in 2005 was involved in drafting the regulation.

“He criticized the government’s “indecision”, saying the regulation was crucial to curbing the worsening condition of the upstream areas of the Citarum River.

“The government bylaw would regulate the presence of stakeholders with similar concerns, such as NGOs and the business sector,” he said.

“Chay added that the degradation of the river basin now meant that 20 percent of the Citarum river basin area alone (142,150 hectares, the largest compared to other rivers in West Java) could be considered critical upstream areas.”

read more: The Jakarta Post