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Jakarta Post

Hazardous, toxic waste pollutes beaches in Balikpapan Bay

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 12, 2018   /   05:36 pm
Hazardous, toxic waste pollutes beaches in Balikpapan Bay Where to begin?: A worker of state oil and gas company Pertamina strives to clean waters near Melawai in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, from debris containing crude oil on April 4. (Antara/Sheravim)

Beaches along Balikpapan Bay in East Kalimantan are heavily polluted with oil spilled from a burst undersea pipeline of state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, the Environment and Forestry Ministry concluded in its assessment of the incident.

Citing results of a survey conducted on 12.6 kilometers of coastline along Balikpapan Bay - from Lamuru Beach to Banua Patra Beach - Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said her team concluded that hazardous and toxic waste (categorized as B3 waste) had contaminated 29,734 square meters of the 12.6 square kilometers of beach areas.

“We estimate that the soil volume contaminated with B3 waste amounts to 12,145 cubic meters,” said Sitti in a written statement Thursday.

(Read also: Balikpapan oil spill: What we know and don’t know)

The minister added that the team would collect samples in all of the affected locations on Thursday to assess the volume of contaminants that had polluted the area.

“In those locations, we need to carry out detailed assessments to devise a recovery action plan,” said Siti.

She further said that, in the western part of Balikpapan Bay, the areas affected by the oil spill were those from Melawai to Balang Island. Delineation would be conducted in those locations on Thursday.   

On March 31, a pipeline used to transfer crude oil from the Law-Lawe Terminal in North Penajam Paser regency burst and caused the oil to spill and pollute Balikpapan Bay, which also led to a fire that broke out near Panama-flagged coal cargo vessel MV Ever Judger 2. The incident injured a crew member of the vessel and killed 5 fishermen who were caught up in the fire. (dpk/ebf)