Jakarta

Environment agency plans
to shame polluter companies

The city administration plans to shame companies violating environmental laws, by releasing their names to the public, a city official says.

The City Environmental Management Agency’s head of law enforcement, Ridwan Panjaitan, said Thursday that by next year the administration would begin naming companies that violated environmental laws, at its annual environment appreciation night.

“We will give [companies] social sanctions as a shock therapy so other companies will want to comply with environmental laws to protect their image,” he said.

Ridwan said BPLHD had yet to announce companies this year because some were still facing trial. This year more than 40 companies in Jakarta have been given sanctions, are currently on trial or have been summoned, he said.

The agency had blocked waste channels of six companies, covered up 63 illegal groundwater wells made by 38 companies and has sent 66 smokers and building managements to trial for public smoking or not facilitating smoking areas. Twenty-seven companies are facing charges for the violations, Ridwan added.

At the annual environmental appreciation night on Friday at the city hall, the administration plans to present awards to companies for their contributions to preserving the environment. Governor Fauzi Bowo had told his agency to not only announce the best companies in environmental management but also the worst, Ridwan said.

During the appreciation night, the administration will present awards to companies for best environmental management; best vehicle mechanic shop for emissions testing; best company for self-emissions testing; best no smoking area; and others. It will also announce a biopore ambassador. The same day, seven companies on the city’s northern coastal perimeter are set to sign letters of commitment for better environmental management.

BPLHD’s head of pollution control and activities, Rina Suryani, said the companies would be guided and monitored in managing their waste.

The program one of the efforts to reach out to the 83 companies on the north coast, urging them to fix their waste management systems, Rina said. BPLHD had carried out the program with 19 companies last year, and 18 in 2007. This year, the agency reached out to 15 companies, but only eight responded to the invitation.

“We have given warrants to other companies that did not respond to our invitation and they will be sanctioned,” she said.

BPLHD’s attempts to reduce water, air and ground pollution in Jakarta have made little progress, with pollution still at life-threatening levels.

Ahmad Safrudin, head of Joint Committee for Leaded Gasoline Phaseout (KPBB), cited a 2006 study conducted by the University of Indonesia showing concentrations of the carcinogenic chemical benzene in Jakarta resident’s urine was 8.62 mg/g creatinine and concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was 2193.3 mg/g creatinine.

“The amount of benzene in the urine tested was 30 times higher than safe levels, while the amount of PAHs was four times safe levels,” he said.

BPLHD’s Car-Free Day program has reduced air pollution in the areas covered by the program.

However, Ahmad said, the program seemed to have failed to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

“If public transportation is not comfortable and no bicycle lanes are available then it becomes a deterrent for the public.”

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