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Jakarta Post

Environmentalists stage rally in front of garment company

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 20, 2018   /   06:00 am
Environmentalists stage rally in front of garment company Residents of Sukoharjo, Central Java, stage a rally on Feb. 22 to call for the government to take tougher measures to deal with pollution allegedly coming from textile factory PT Rayon Utama Makmur. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

A crowd of activists protested in front of the Energy Building in the Sudirman Central Business District in Senayan, South Jakarta, on Monday to demand that garment company PT Huddleston Indonesia, which occupies the 20th floor of the building, shut down operations of PT Rayon Utama Makmur (RUM) in Sukoharjo, Central Java.

The activists said residents of Sukoharjo regency endured a foul smell for months because of pollution coming from the RUM factory, starting in October last year.

PT Huddleston holds 56 percent of shares of publicly listed PT Sri Rejeki Isman (Sritex), one of the biggest textile garment producers in Southeast Asia. It supplies garments to well known brands such as Zara, H&M and Uniqlo as well as the uniforms for the Indonesian Military, NATO and armed forces of other countries.

“Sritex obtains their rayon from RUM,” activist Rahman Ladanu told The Jakarta Post.

Hundreds of residents of Nguter district, Sukoharjo, complained over a foul stench allegedly emitting from RUM factory waste. Protests escalated in February, when residents vandalized an RUM security post. The police later arrested seven people—activists and residents—some for vandalism and some for defamation.

In response, 100 lawyers have prepared a lawsuit against RUM.

Sritex spokesperson Welly Salam said the company was not affiliated with RUM, other than sharing the same parent organization.

“We are different companies, although we are owned by the Lukminto family,” he told the Post over the phone on Monday.

He declined to comment when asked about whether RUM supplied Sritex with rayon.

In late February, RUM president director Pramono said the Sukoharjo regent had ordered RUM to halt the operation. They had complied, as production had been put on hold to “improve waste treatment”, Pramono said. (gis)