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Jakarta Post

When nature retaliates

  • Editorial board

    Jakarta

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Mon, January 25 2021   /  01:00 am
Flood that inundated a village in Melawi Regency, West Kalimantan is seen in this Sept. 14, 2020 file photo. (Handout/Melawi Disaster Mitigation Agency/kompas.com/-)

Blaming nature alone for calamities such as floods and landslides is irresponsible and dangerous. This shift in blame ignores the decades of plundering of forests and exploitation of natural resources that have likely worsened these disasters. The government’s unanimous denial that mass deforestation and the designation of green areas for purposes other than environmental conservation were key factors behind the recent flooding in South Kalimantan shows the state’s disavowal of its responsibility to protect nature, in addition to its distrust of science. It is true that Jakarta, which sits on a low, flat basin, is prone to flooding. History shows that such disasters date back to at least the fifth century in the area. But mass urbanization and the rapid development of the city at the expense of water catchment areas, not to mention ground water extraction and the tons o...