Some 1,000 trees uprooted for toll road
Three years ago President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono kicked off a movement to plant one million tree per year.
But it appears that not only do we forget to plant more trees, but we also in fact cut down a large number of trees for more construction projects.
Motorists traveling on the Jakarta-Bogor-Ciawi (Jagorawi) toll road in East Jakarta and locals in the area have gotten used to the pruning of trees along the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) and Cibinong section to make way for the expansion of the toll road.
Donga, a vendor who hawks stickers at a nearby road, told The Jakarta Post that construction workers had cut down two very large old trees in Ceger, about 9 kilometers to the south of the Cawang intersection.
“The trees were still there a few weeks ago,” he said.
Hendro Atmojo, a Jasa Marga official responsible for overseeing the Jagorawi toll road, recently told the Post that his company was forced to fell up to 1,000 trees and hundreds of others because of plans to expand the toll road by two lanes on both sides.
The road currently has three lanes leading to Bogor and three others leading to Jakarta. “We are relocating old, rare and hardwood trees that need a long time to grow, such as banyan and cape trees,” he said.
He said other types of trees were cut down, but his company would replant 10 trees as substitutes for each tree cut down.
“We cooperate with the Forestry Ministry on the techniques of uprooting and relocating trees,” he added. Hendro said that the relocation and cutting of the trees, which began in April, was expected to be completed by August.
“We hope that the work will be completed before the Idul Fitri holiday in late August,” he said.
Hendro said that the toll road expansion was aimed at accommodating the increasing number of cars using the highway.
Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Jakarta coordinator Ubaidillah suggested that the government overcome traffic congestion by curbing the growth of automobile production, rather than expanding toll roads.
“The right solution was to control vehicle production,” he said, adding that with the recent growth in vehicle production — by 200 cars and 600 motorcycles per day — traffic congestion would inevitably worsen.
He said Jasa Marga should fulfil its promise to replant 10 new trees for each tree it cut down because government institutions often made promises they fail to keep. (rpt)