Local News

Policy loopholes turn Indonesia into dumping site: Environmentalists

Environmentalists have called on the Trade Ministry to  immediately revise its 2016 regulation on waste imports, saying it contains several loopholes that have turned Indonesia into a dump site for developed countries. The activists argued that even though developed nations, excluding the United States, had recently agreed to restrict global waste trade, Indonesia still needed to tighten its policies to prevent plastic waste smuggling. A Greenpeace report issued in April shows that there has been an increase in the shipment of plastic waste from developed countries to developing nations, including Indonesia, since China banned waste imports.  The Chinese ban on imports of 24 types of waste material went into effect in February 2018.

Waste imports to Indonesia soared from 10,000 tonnes per month in late 2017 to 35,000 tonnes per month in late 2018. According to Greenpeace data, the top plastic waste exporter to Indonesia is Britain with 67,807 tonnes between January and November 2018, followed by Germany with 59,668 tonnes and Australia with 42,130 tonnes. Germany recorded a steep increase after exporting only 408 tonnes in the corresponding period in the preceding year. Environmental group Bali Fokus claimed that the 2016 Trade Ministry regulation on   non-hazardous and toxic waste imports made it possible for certain parties to smuggle “unneeded” waste into the country. The regulation allows the import of, among other materials, plastic, metal and paper to support local industries, but it requires plastic importers to obtain approval from the Environment and Forestry Ministry only.

It classifies plastic as Category B waste that should undergo inspection by independent inspectors before being imported and by customs officials upon arrival in Indonesian ports. “Metal and paper waste importers are not required to acquire such a document,” Bali Fokus co-founder Yuyun Ismawati said. The policy was problematic, she argued, since scrap metal and waste paper falls into Category A, which does not require inspections before and during import. “This loophole has been used (by several companies) to import hazardous plastic waste, with exporters reportedly slipping non-recyclable plastic waste into the imported package,” she said.

According to a field observation conducted by Bali Fokus and East Java-based environmental group Ecoton, 25 to 40 per cent of imported waste in Greater Jakarta and East Java is mismanaged – being dumped in open fields or burned rather than being recycled. Evidence of this could be found         in Bangun village in Mojokerto, East Java, where local scavengers have found plastic packaging from Australia and Britain, among other countries. They also found ripped banknotes in various currencies, such as the US dollar, the British pound and the euro.

The villagers reportedly get the waste from a paper recycling company in the neighboring regency of Pasuruan. A truckload of waste costs 500,000 rupiah (S$47.50). The Environment and Forestry Ministry concurred with the environmentalists, saying there was a need to tighten the rules on waste imports. According to the Trade Ministry regulation, the Environment and Forestry Ministry has the authority to issue recommendations for industries that meet the requirements for importing non-hazardous waste. “We want to tighten the policy. We ask these industries to only import clean plastic rubbish that is designated to be immediately recycled rather than sold to other parties,” said Environment and Forestry Ministry waste management director general Rosa Vivien Ratnawati.

Last Friday, the United Nations agreed to amend the Basel Convention, an international treaty that controls the movement of hazardous waste between countries. The amendment includes plastic in the treaty, requiring exporters to “obtain the consent of receiving countries before shipping most  contaminated and mixed plastics waste that is difficult or even impossible to recycle”. [Straits Times May. 13, 2019]


Bali bombings site ‘worth less than half’ asking sale price

There has been another twist in the recently intensified battle to turn one of the 2002 Bali bombing sites into a green space for reflection. The Bali Peace Park Association (BPPA) claims it’s obtained official documents showing that the Indonesian Government this year valued the 800-square-metre property at about $2 million. That’s almost $3 million dollars less than what Sari Club landowners have agreed to sell for, and almost $12,000 less if their demand for compensation is also included. The BPPA said it has now withdrawn the offer it made “under false pretenses” this week to buy the Kuta land for $4.9 million dollars, and instead put forward a new offer understood to be about $2.5 million dollars.

The move comes as peace park campaigners won an apparent ally in their fight, with the local Mayor Nyoman Giri Prasta promising to stop landowners from forging ahead with construction of a five-storey restaurant on the site until final negotiations are had. Bali Governor Wayan Koster has also intervened, telling landowners to reduce their demands because a good relationship between Indonesia and Australia is a higher priority. “Firstly and foremost I respect that it is private property. But the landowner also has to see the bigger picture – The relationship between two countries,  between Indonesia and Australia,” Mr Koster told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “Australia has contributed a lot to Indonesia and to Bali, by bringing so many tourists to Bali. “This needs to be considered. There are bigger goals. We have to preserve the relationship between Indonesia and   Australia.”

Talks reached a stalemate this week when both parties agreed on the $4.9 million sale price, but just as the BPPA was about to celebrate, owners demanded an extra $9 million in compensation for anticipated business losses. The peace park would be the second memorial with a monument already erected across the road to honour the lives of 202 people, including 88 Australians, killed in the twin-club attacks. [9news May 9, 2019]


Jokowi hints Gunung Mas, Kalimantan as future capital city

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, during his visit to Kalimantan today, mentioned that Gunung Mas in Central Kalimantan is currently the most qualified location to replace Jakarta as the country’s capital city. “Based on the area’s vastness, this location is arguably the most qualified. It may be the most prepared to provide 300 hectares of land which can be expanded if needed,” said the president during his survey in the Gunung Mas Regency today, May 8. His visit marks Gunung Mas as one of three prospective locations for Indonesia’s future capital city other than Palangka Raya and Katingan Regency.

As mentioned by the president, Indonesia’s first president Soekarno once visioned Palangka Raya as a capital city and defends that Soekarno must have had strong reasons upon choosing this area. “[Soekarno] must have considered it based on specific reasons with major significance. That should also be considered. A decision would not be announced without it being backed by data-based arguments and facts,” Widodo said in a press release from Bey Machmudin, head of the presidential protocol and press bureau.

The former Solo Mayor president deemed that the area geologically imposes a minimum risk of being struck by major natural disasters and that its infrastructure construction must be built from zero. He also assured that a special team will continue to conduct a thorough analysis of the three regions considered as capital candidates before announcing the  final decision. “I came to do this field visits as to get the that ‘feeling’. A better appraisal of the location could only be gained once this ‘feel’ is attained,” said Jokowi who was accompanied by state ministers from ministries critical for the future development plan. [Tempo May 8, 2019]


Bali to host world surfing championship

Bali is to host the 3rd series of surfing competitions from the World Surfing League or WSL Champions Tour 2019 which is planned to be held at Keramas Beach in Gianyar district, Bali, on May 13-25, 2019. The Tourism Ministry’s Assistant Deputy on Marketing Development for Regional III, Ricky Fauziyani, said here Sunday that Indonesia was chosen as one of the 11 series of world surfing championship competitions from WSL. “From Australia to Indonesia, then Brazil, South Africa, North America, France, and Hawaii. This is proof that Indonesia has world-class surfing destinations,” said Ricky. This championship entitled Corona Bali ProTected will be participated in by 56 surfers comprising 37 male surfers and 19 female surfers included in the list of the world’s top surfers.

While the Chairperson of the Tourism Ministry’s Maritime Tourism Acceleration Team, Indroyono Soesilo, added that the government is looking at surfing potential as an Indonesian tourist attraction for foreign tourists. “The government sees great potential from surfing. That’s why, starting last year, we worked with WSL and provided support for several surfing events held in Indonesia,” he said. Indroyono said that Indonesia should be grateful to be blessed with many beaches with waves spread along the western and southern coast of the Indian Ocean and the coast of the Pacific Ocean. “Indonesia has hundreds of surf beaches, 30 of which are world-class surfing locations. Of these 30 locations, 11 of them are the venue for WSL 2019 so that this will place Indonesia as the number one surfing destination in the world,” Indroyono Soesilo said. [Antara May 12, 2019]


Australian DJ dies at Bali resort after smashing window, suffering massive bleeding: police

An Australian DJ popular on the Asian club circuit was found dead after suffering massive bleeding from an injury at a resort complex on the Indonesian island of Bali, police said Monday. Adam Neat’s official social media pages carried a statement confirming his death, saying he died while trying to help a friend who suffered multiple fractures on Saturday. Indonesian police said they are still investigating the death of the 42-year-old performer, who used the stage name Adam Sky. An initial police report seen by The Associated Press said Neat suffered a deep and wide cut to his arm that caused massive bleeding.

Local police chief Dody Monza said the body was found lying near a bathroom in his bedroom by two housekeepers at Hillstone Villa where the DJ stayed in Bali, a few minutes after they heard a woman scream for help. Police said a 22-year-old Russian woman described as a friend of Neat’s was found naked beside the villa with a broken leg, while bloodstained glass fragments were found in Neat’s room. Police did not say how the woman was injured. Police Detective Muhammad Nurul Yaqin said a preliminary investigation showed that Neat was drunk at the time and smashed a glass window in his bedroom. Part of the broken window fell on his right arm, causing severe bleeding, he said. “We cannot conclude yet whether he intended to break the glass or accidentally hit it,” he said. Monza said Neat’s wife arrived in Bali after his death and refused an autopsy. “We are still investigating this case despite an autopsy refusal by Neat’s wife,” he said. Neat’s website says he has toured with artists including Taio Cruz and The Scissor Sisters. [Associated Press May 7, 2019]


Indian tourist lost at sea from Devil’s Tear cliff on Nusa Lembongan

The popular seaside cliff setting of “Tebing Batut Belek” or, as it is known in English, “Devil’s Tear” on Bali’s Nusa Lembongan Island has claimed       another life. The latest victim is an Indian National, Kausal Aditya (24), who was swept from the cliff’s edge by a large wave on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 and is now “lost at sea” and presumed dead. As reported by Balipost.com, following the Indian’s disappearance an emergency search was commenced but to no avail.

Prior to the incident, Kausal Aditya was staying together with fellow-traveler Agrawal Kshitiz (31) at the Villa Kusuma Abianta. Before being swept into the sea below, the two, who had arrived at Devil’s Tear by motorcycle, were seen making “selfie” photographs at the ocean’s edge. Startled bystanders saw Aditya struggling in the high waves and current before finally disappearing into the water. Efforts to reach the Indian by local boat failed. Agrawal Kshitiz, however, managed to make it to shore, suffering only minor cuts and abrasions. A rescue team using rigid-bottom zodiacs have been sweeping a radius of 1-2 nautical miles in an effort to recover the  tourist’s body. There have been numerous fatalities recorded at Devil’s Tear due to large waves frequently of large waves buffeting the shoreline. [balidiscovery.com May 13, 2019]