Waste management needed to curb pollution in bay
25th May 2004
Environmentalists and researchers called on the city administration to curb marine pollution in Jakarta Bay, which has likely triggered the red-tide phenomenon and killed fish and clams, by tightening control over industrial and domestic waste emptied into the city's 13 rivers.
"The administration must tightly control industrial plants' waste treatment facilities and also build a sewerage treatment system to contain domestic waste," environmentalist Ahmad Safrudin told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Safrudin was one of speakers at a discussion on pollution in Jakarta Bay staged by the Office of the State Minister of the Environment and the Institute of Economic and Social Studies and Development (LP3ES) at the Jakarta Convention Center. The event coincided with the Environment Week staged by the minister's office.
Safrudin alleged poor monitoring of factories' waste treatment facilities had contributed to the worsening pollution in the bay.
"It is public knowledge that the monitoring is marred by collusion between unscrupulous officials and factory owners who prefer to cut expenses by directly dumping industrial waste into the river without proper treatment," he said.
He pointed to the absence of a sewerage system in the city that also worsened pollution.
"The absence of an integrated sewerage system has encouraged residents to use the rivers as public toilets instead."
A researcher with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), Ario Damar, agreed, citing pollution as the root of the problem.
"The rapid growth of algae in the bay, that killed fish and clams, was simply an effect of pollution. If we don't want such an incident to occur in the future, we must begin managing pollution problems," he said.
The results of laboratory analysis by different institutions -- including the IPB, the Jakarta Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) -- have led to a preliminary conclusion that the dead fish and clams was caused by the rapid proliferation of algae.
The growth of algae was triggered by the high level of nutrient coupled with the low level of oxygen in the seawater due to the high degree of organic and inorganic waste. Organic waste is basically raw sewerage, while inorganic waste is mostly from industrial waste.
Another researcher with the minister's office, Heru Waluyo, said the administration should be held responsible for reducing pollution caused by both industrial and domestic waste.
"There are standards stipulated in the regulations, such as the standard operating procedures to clear riverbanks of squatters. If the administration sticks to implementing the standards, then, pollution would be significantly reduced," he added.
Meanwhile, BPLHD head Kosasih Wirahadikusumah said his agency had not reached a final conclusion over the cause of the phenomenon.
"We still need to carefully study the case to find the real cause of the phenomenon. Based on the study, we will be prepared in case the phenomenon reoccurs."