The Batam Customs Office is sending 49 containers proven to contain toxic waste and trash back to their countries of origin, including the United States, Australia, and several European nations, upon receiving a recommendation letter from the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Monday.
The ministry said earlier that it had returned five containers of trash to the US after finding out that they held diapers, plastic scraps, wood, fabrics and shoes in “significant amounts” when they were supposed to only hold clean paper scraps. The ministry announced then that it would examine 65 more.
The head of the Batam customs office, Susila Brata, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that of the 65 containers, 49 were proven to have violated importation rules. Laboratory checks proved that 38 containers held hazardous and toxic waste and 11 others held trash, while 16 were approved for delivery to the importers, Susila said.
“We have received the recommendation letter from [the Environment and Forestry Ministry] regarding the containers. Our next step is to send notice letters to importers to re-export [the containers] back to the countries from where the containers departed, as they had been proven to violate the rules,” Susila said.
He added that the importers were given 90 days after the containers’ arrival in Batam to return them.
“The faster they re-export [the containers], the better and more efficient it is for them,” Susila said.
Previously, officials from the Batam Customs Office, Batam the Environment Agency and the Environment and Forestry Ministry, accompanied by Batam Mayor Muhammad Rudi, unloaded dozens of containers that had arrived at Batu Ampar Port, Batam, Riau Islands, on Friday. The containers came from the US and several European countries, brought into the country by four importers, and were registered to only contained plastic scraps. The plastic scraps were reportedly to have been intended for recycling into new plastic products in Indonesia and the finished products were then to be exported.