Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Textile companies in Bandung to be relocated away from river

Source: The Jakarta Post

(Image prepared by PT MS Water)

Yuli Tri Suwarni, Bandung

The government plans to relocate hundreds of textile companies in Bandung regency, West Java, to an integrated industrial area in Cipeundeuy, Cikalong Wetan, in an effort to stop waste from being dumped into the Citarum River.

State Minister for the Environment Nabiel Makarim said here on Tuesday the plan was discussed last Friday with Bandung Regent Obar Sobarna, West Java Governor Danny Setiawan and textile businesspeople.

"If they (the companies) are centered in an industrial estate, the management of their waste will be integrated. It will therefore be better for the environment," Nabiel said after attending a ceremony for a tree planting program in Banjaran, some 14 kilometers from downtown Bandung.

The relocation would also be economically advantageous for the companies and would cut their production costs, he said.

The minister said the price of land in the proposed industrial area was relatively cheap. This would allow the companies to use their profits from selling their current land to buy modern machinery after moving to the new location.

"With modern equipment, they will be able to compete with Vietnam and Cambodia in textile production in terms of quality and quantity. Currently, they cannot compete because they use old machines bought in 1990s," Nabiel said.

Regent Obar Sobarna confirmed the plan to relocate the textile firms, but said it still needed to be discussed with the company owners and a feasibility study had to be completed.

The regent said his administration was in the process of clearing between 1,500 and 2,500 hectares of land belonging to farmers in Cipeundeuy for the new integrated industrial area.

"What is called the Padalarang or Majalaya industrial zone was actually not designed for that purpose, so there is no adequate infrastructure prepared for companies there," Obar added.

The new Cipeundeuy industrial estate will be able to accommodate more than 500 factories, he said.

In Bandung, there are more than 500 textile companies registered with the local administration. Most of them are large factories.

Bandung environment office head Mulyaningrum said that based on a survey by her office and Padjadjaran University, the city has at least 208 textile companies in 19 districts that produce liquid waste.

They dump a total of 80,000 tons of liquid waste into Citarum River last year, she said. "Solid waste is also dumped there," she added.

Mulyaningrum said the amount of liquid waste dumped into the river reached up to 2,342 cubic meters per second. "It would be better for the factories to be relocated so their waste management could be integrated," she said.